Airport art

Fresh art at LAX Airport

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has three new art exhibitions to look for next time you pass through.

Presented in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the exhibits feature works by two solo artists and one group exhibition. The artwork includes large-scale printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, painting, and multi-media artworks across three terminals.

Out of the Blue is a group exhibition of paintings, ceramics, and mixed-media works. Look for this in the Terminal 7 art gallery adjacent to the security screening area. (Ticketed passengers only)

Your Body is a Space That Sees by Los Angeles artist Lia Halloran is accessible to ticketed passengers in Terminal 1 at Gate 9. The images combine ink and light to celebrate women’s contributions to astronomy.

The large-scale cyanotype prints source historical imagery from a group of Harvard women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when views of the night sky were captured in photographic emulsion on glass plates.

“This body of work is really meant to honor the invaluable work that female astronomers contributed to their field,” Halloran says. “Without these discoveries, we would be nowhere near where we are now in terms of being able to measure and understand the universe.” 

“Tumbleweeds,” by Pontus Willfors, is a site-specifi­c installation featuring hand-crafted, botanical sculptures manipulated from wood. The sculptures are inspired by tumbleweeds found in the Mojave Desert, which extends into the northeastern part of Los Angeles County. Look for this work in the Tom Bradley International Terminal customs hallway.

LAX SELFIE GUIDED TOUR

LAX also has a fun Selfie Guided Tour of community art located in the pre-screening areas of Terminals 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7.

Start at the Theme Building, located in the center of the Central Terminal Area, and walk the mile-route to view all nine pieces of art. The artwork is displayed on large walls and creates an opportunity to snap selfiez to share on social media using #LAXSelfieGuidedTour. 

Photos by SKA Studios LLC., courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports and City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

4-hour layover at IAH airport? Lucky you!

Greeting from Houston – mural by Daniel Anguilu and Frank Nathan. Pictured: Art Curator Alton DuLaney and Harriet Baskas

Many people dread and try desperately to avoid long airport layovers. Not us. On our journey to the Galapagos, we swapped a stress-inducing 56-minute connection at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) for a four-hour layover at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

Just so we could get a tour of the art.

Countree Music by Terry Allen – created 1999

Alton DuLaney, Director and Curator of the Public Art Program for the Houston Airport System, was kind enough to meet me for a tour of some of his favorites. You can see the full list, with photos, in our story for The Points Guy site.

But I’ve pulled out a couple of my favorites here.

The Houston Airport, which operates both IAH and Hobby Airport (HOU) owns more than 350 works of art, one of the largest public art collections in Texas. Art curator DuLaney is a proponent of displaying as much of the collection as possible. So if you take a walk in any direction at the airport you will spot art. Some of it you’ll love. Some of it you may not care for. But all of it adds to the experience of being at the airport.

Countree Music (the ‘tree’ image above), is one of the first works purchased for the airport back in 1991. It is in Terminal A and was created by singer-songwriter Terry Allen. He also created the terrazzo floor surrounding the tree that depicts a map showing Houston as the center of the world. Pick a spot to stand on that floor near the tree and listen: there’s an original soundtrack of 16 songs recorded by Allen with the help of various musicians, including David Byrne from the Talking Heads.

Fiesta Dancers by Latino artist Luis Jimenez shown alongside High Flying by Larry Schuekler

The Terminal A Connector Gallery is both filled with art and is a great spot to avoid the noise and hustle of the airport. Here, away from the gates and the overhead announcements, you’ll find 20 vitrines filled with new and existing artwork from the collection- sometimes in the same display case.

For example, Fiesta Dancers by Luis Jimenez is paired with High Flying by Larry Schuekler. “Both sculptures explore the joy of dance from two different cultural perspectives,” says DuLaney.

(Photos courtesy Houston Airports)

Something Fishy Spotted at Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport

Sometimes the coolest stuff is below you

You know how during the airline safety instructions (you pay attention, right?) they say the nearest exit may be behind you?

Well, sometimes at the airport the coolest art features may be below you.

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) one of the artworks is a river of 300 brass fish running along the terrazzo floor in Concourse B.

The work is called Flying Fish and is by Judith and Daniel Caldwell.

Most of the fish are regular fish, but there are some unusual ones in there.

Including the fish spotted swimming with a suitcase.

We’ve been walking over the floor and appreciating the fish for years, but yesterday was the first time we noticed this bonus traveling fish.

Maybe it was because it was early in the day and we could actually take our time walking down the concourse.

But we think it was because after being so nervous about traveling during the pandemic, we’re finally starting to go back to our normal travel mode of being excited to travel and alert to everything around us.

Even the art on airport floors.

“The Phoenix” at PHX Airport & What We Learned About Lost Amenities

Few airport rental car centers are places you want to hang out in for longer than you have to.

But the rental car center at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is an exception.

The big, bright, open lobby has a cafe in the center with comfortable chairs and there’s artwork from the collection of the Phoenix Airport Museum all over the facility, including down the hallways that lead to the restrooms.

Here’s a link to a guided tour of the art on display at the PHX rental car center that’s yet to be updated with the newest and biggest installation: a three-panel mural by Paul Coze titled “The Phoenix” that is 75 feet wide and 16 feet high.

The mural was installed in PHX Terminal 2 back in the early 1960s. But when Terminal 2 was demolished, the mural was moved here. You can learn more about the artist, the images in the mural, and the heroic effort it took to safely remove the mural from Terminal 2 and reinstall it at the rental car center here and in our article for The Points Guy here.

But we want to take a few moments to talk about – and mourn – the amenities that were once in PHX Terminal 2.

What Once Was at PHX Terminal 2

When Terminal 2 opened at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in the 1960s it was one of the most modern airport terminals in the country.

PHX shared a list of the amenities at the new, modern, terminal.

In addition to a long concourse with 10 gates and an indoor (indoor!) baggage carousel, the terminal had a hotel reservation kiosk with individual phones connected directly to each hotel’s reservation desk.

Other amenities included a game room with pinball machines, a rooftop observation deck, shops, a bank, a barbershop, a flower cart, a cocktail lounge, a restaurant with a glass-enclosed terrace, and, up above, The Phoenix mural by Paul Coze.

All those terminal features were certainly swanky for the time. But what really caught our attention was the nursery where passengers and airport visitors could leave their kids while they enjoyed all the amenities in the terminal.

Over the years, many (OK, most) of those amenities were set aside.

And over time the terminal was remodeled in such a way that “The Phoenix” mural was no longer easy to see or fully appreciate.

According to Gary Martelli, Phoenix Airport Museum manager & curator, during the first remodel, in the 1980s, parts of the mural became obscured when the terminal ceiling was lowered, and the columns were rounded. In the 1990s, a new restaurant was built with a vent hood in front of the mural. Then, in the early 2000s, security enhancements created a long wall bisecting the Terminal 2 lobby and further obscuring views of the mural.

Now, in its new home in the southwest corner of the central escalator lobby in the PHX Rental Car Center, “The Phoenix” is easy to see and impossible to miss. Nearby are exhibit cases with information about Terminal 2 and artist Paul Coze, along with photos from the initial installation of the mural. As a nice touch, there are also viewing telescopes (at two heights) to allow visitors to take a closer look at the details and embellishments in the mural.

At the Airport: News from GSP, FLL & Alaska Airlines

GSP Airport Debuts a History Museum

South Carolina’s Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) celebrated its Dedication Day on November 4, 1962.

Fifty-nine years later, the airport unveiled its History Museum, detailing decades of serving the community.

The 350 square foot History Museum is near the Escape Lounge in GSP’s Grand Hall and is accessible to departing and arriving passengers 24 hours a day.

The museum gives visitors a detailed look at GSP from the founders’ vision in the 1940s through the present day and on to future plans. Exhibits include photos, videos, and first-hand accounts of the airport’s impact on the region. A special section is dedicated to the Flatwood Peaches baseball team that played on fields where the airport is located.

Airport Employees Share Their Art at FLL

In Florida, Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is hosting the sixth installment of its employee artwork exhibition titled I Bet You Didn’t Know. This year, the exhibit showcases 46 artworks by 28 FLL employees and is on view through March 17, 2022, in the walkway connecting Terminals 3 and 4.

The work includes paintings, drawings, collages and acrylic pours, by artists whose airport jobs include security personnel, vendor operators, flight attendants, and other professions.

You can see all the works in the FLL exhibition online here.

John Berry ‘Jurassic Airport’

Alaska Airlines Now Serves Boxed Water

Next time you’re served a cup of water on Alaska Airlines, you’ll notice it being poured out of a box, not a plastic bottle into a paper, not a plastic cup.

This week Alaska Airlines did a great thing for the environment by swapping out single-use plastic water bottles and plastic cups for Boxed Water Is Better brand cartons and recyclable paper cups in the main cabin on all its flights.

The carrier made the switch in the First Class cabin a while back, so now Alaska is laying claim to the title of the first in the industry to move completely away from plastic for its water service.

That’s a big deal because this will eliminate about 32 million plastic water bottles and 22 million plastics cups per year from Alaska flights. The 1.8 million pounds of single use plastics per year avoided is equivalent to 18 Boeing 737s. You can read more about the program and the Boxed Water is Better Brand company in the story we wrote for The Points Guy.