Indianapolis Airport solves an art problem; artfully

_Chrysalis_ FAUST 2008 IND AIRPORT-

Chrysalis, by James Wille Faust, 2008. Before it was removed from IND airport. (photo courtesy of the artist)

When it opened in 2008, the new passenger terminal at Indianapolis International Airport (IND) made news for the $4 million worth of impressive, permanent public art that had been commissioned for the building from 17 artists and six poets.

But a few years later we learned that IND airport officials had a funny definition of permanent: in November 2011, a large site-specific work called Chrysalis (above) by Indianapolis artist James Wille Faust was removed from its prominent spot over the main escalators. The popular artwork was replaced with a video wall that was to feature video-based artworks and commercial advertising.

The Indianapolis mayor, local and national artists and arts organizations and, of course, Faust himself fought to keep the artwork in place.

But they lost.

Chrysalis was put in storage and the advertisement on the replacement video screen generates more then $100,000 a year in operating funds for the airport.

Now there’s a new chapter to the story.

In a recently announced agreement between the airport authority and James Wille Faust, the Indianapolis International Airport has commissioned new work from the artist: an installation that will be made of three acrylic-on-canvas paintings, each 5 feet by 6 feet.

The works will be displayed in front of a limestone fa├žade at the entrance to the airport’s pre-security Civic Plaza.

“I am honored that the Indianapolis Airport Authority chose to allow me this pristine wall, uninterrupted by advertising, for my triptych WINGS IN FLIGHT,” said Faust.

Look for Faust’s new work in December, 2013.

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