Sleeping beauties: fresh art at SFO Airport

Headrest 20 th century: Southeastern Shona or Tsonga peoples, Zimbabwe and Mozambique wood; Fowler Museum at UCLA; The Jerome L. Joss Collection; Courtesy SFO MUSEUM

Next time you’re at the airport look around at all the sleepy people who would probably give anything for a place to rest their heads.

Too bad they can’t open the exhibit cases in the new Sleeping Beauties exhibit at San Francisco International Airport featuring headrests from around the world.

“People all over the world spend nearly one-third of their lives sleeping, employing some type of pillow when resting. From ancient periods to modern times, humans have made rigid pillows from a wide variety of materials, including stone, clay, wood, and bamboo. Headrests were once a staple of domestic furniture, not only in many parts of Africa, but also in Asia and Oceania. Within the constraints of their size and shape, these intimate objects reflect the aesthetics of their respective cultures and function in symbolic as well as utilitarian ways. From Zairian and Melanesian figurative, wooden headrests to Chinese delicately glazed porcelain and Japanese rattan-woven pillows, a variety of headrests are on display.”

Headrest 19 th–mid-20 th century; Imbuando peoples, Lower Sepik, Papua New Guinea wood, cane; Fowler Museum at UCLA; The Jerome L. Joss Collection: Courtesy SFO Museum

Sleeping Beauties: Headrests from the Fowler Museum at UCLA is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby at San Francisco International Airport through December, 2012.

Sleep tight.