art

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)

Museum Monday highlights from Viking.TV

Courtesy Kon-Tiki Museum

We’re setting off for Iceland in a few weeks to join Viking for one of their Welcome Back cruises. So we have been poking around the company’s website.

One impressive resource there for the general public is Viking.TV. It was created in response to the pandemic and this channel is chock full of videos about art, culture, history, food, music, architecture, and destinations around the world.

Our favorite feature is Museum Monday. Stop in and you’ll see that there are now more than 60 videos about museums and collections. including some wonderful behind the scene tours.

You’ll find your own favorites, but here are a few of the videos that captured our attention and our imagination this week. We started with a visit to the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway, home to Thor Heyerdahl’s original Kon-Tiki raft and the papyrus boat Ra II.

We also went down a rabbit hole at London’s British Museum learning about how prepared the museum for lockdown and toured the collection of the Alaskan objects at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich, England.

What we’re watching: Museum Masterpiece Moments

Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

We are getting ready to get on the road. And we are making a list of museums we want to visit and art we want to see.

So we were pleased to find the “Masterpiece Moments” series of short, 5-7 minute videos that Bank of America started putting out in January.

The features showcase works of art in the collections of 25 museums across the country. And there’s a new video rolling out every two weeks.

Here are just a few of our favorites. You can sign up to get alerts when a new video is released and see the full list of participating museums here.

Museums are opening across the country

Are you ready to visit a museum? If so, it’s a good bet you’ll find a museum near you that’s open, or getting to ready to open its doors to the (masked ) public again soon.

Here are some of the museums we’ve got on our list.

Seattle’s Museum of Flight

It was cute when animals from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo got to visit the Museum of Flight. But we were still jealous. Now we’re happy people can visit the museum too.

Can’t make it? Don’t worry. The museum’s collection can be viewed online. In the artifact section, we found this talking GI Joe Astronaut from 1970.
“When his dog tag is pulled, GI Joe narrates his way through a lunar mission, from liftoff to Moon landing to splashdown.”

Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum 

The Mütter Museum is a medical museum with far-ranging collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments. Einstein’s brain is here. And so is a specimen from John Wilkes Booth’s vertebra.

We’ve spent a lot of time with Memento Mütter, the museum’s online exhibit of more than 60 items from the Museum’s collection, about half of which are not on public display.  If you check it out, be warned that the paper mache eyeball is one of the least alarming objects you’ll see.

Now that the museum has reopened, there’s a new exhibit of photographs by Nikki Johnson, who got to go behind-the-scenes at the museum and create still-life photos of items that intrigued her.

Fashioning Art from Paper at Louisville’s Speed Art Museum

A new exhibit at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY features life-size costumes that look like fabric but are actually made from paper. Beginning in 1994, Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave started creating these incredible paper works. She ended up with four collections ranging from the fashion of Elizabeth I to 20th century Venice and tributes to famous artists like Picasso and Matisse. All four collections are part of this exhibit.

The museum made a video of the ‘unboxing’ of some of the dresses in the exhibit.

Travel Tidbits: Road Trips, Rock Hall Awards, new airport art, more

Road Trip? Atlas Obscura wants to go along

The folks at Atlas Obscura have a new book out. And a new daily podcast.

In their new book Rogue Routes, Atlas Obscura and Nissan outline fifty unusual drives through the United States. You can download a PDF for free here. And the Atlas Obscura daily podcast (well, Monday – Thursday) promises 15 minutes of “exploration and celebration of some of the world’s most wondrous, unexpected, even strange places.”

Rock Hall of Fame schedules induction for Cleveland in October

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will host the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio this year on October 30, 2021.

This year’s nominees include Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, JAY-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, and Dionne Warwick.

Have a favorite? Fans can vote for their favorite nominees now through April 30, 2021 at vote.rockhall.com. The top five artists selected by the public will comprise a “fans’ ballot” that gets tallied along with the other ballots to select the 2021 final inductees.

Quito Airport’s new public space design

Last March, Covid-19 put a halt to a scheduled renovation project for the public areas of Ecuador’s Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport. But when the country decided that construction projects could proceed, the airport went ahead with the renovation project.

In addition to replacing a big swatch of ceramic flooring with Brazilian granite, furniture specially designed for the airport was installed. New greenery, including vertical gardens, was added and a sculpture (above) made with local balsa wood from sustainable forests was installed in the center of the departure hall.

Alaska Airlines offers free flights for CA residents

If you live in California and you hurry, you may be able to score a free flight from Alaska Airlines.

The first 25,000 California residents who sign up for Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan by March 3 2021 will get a flight within California for (almost) free. You’ll only need to pay taxes and fees – from $15 each way. Details here.

Art exhibit showcases WWII Trench Art

On Thursday, March 4, The National WWII Museum in New Orleans opens its newest special exhibit “SOLDIER | ARTIST: Trench Art in World War II.” The exhibit includes more than 150 artifacts and souvenirs, such as ashtrays, jewelry, tools and cookware, radios, and musical instruments that explore the military pastime of creating art, souvenirs, and tools out of the discarded materials and waste of war. 

From the exhibit notes:

The practice of creating trench art is as old as military conflict itself. During the American Revolution, prisoners of war created ship models from the bones of their rations. Soldiers in the Civil War carved charms and trinkets from lead bullets. World War I brought the advent of “classic” examples of trench art—and gave name to the pastime—as changes in technology presented soldiers with the material that best characterized the art form: the brass cartridge. During World War II, a more mechanized army offered increased access to the tools needed to fashion trench art, and the artifacts became more varied in form and were produced in greater quantity.

New name for the San Diego Zoo

Today, March 3, is World Wildlife Day and the San Diego Zoo Global is marking the day by becoming San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA).

The new brand underscores how the health of wildlife, people, and the environment are interconnected and linked to the health of our planet.

A new mural by world-renowned artist, Romero Britto, is being unveiled today to mark the rebrand and Alaska Airlines is donating 1 million miles to support the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s efforts.