Friday, July 4, 2008


Collecting Contemporary Art and creating new airlines that offers the service of a cheap seat and an exciting time of hanging out in an airport, is good business. Many airports inspire to feeling welcome, comfortable and relaxed. Some airports and airlines have collected art work and exhibits it in their terminals, other open a museum to show and stimulate the travellers on their way out in the world.

The above ".125", Made by Alexander Calder 1957 hangs at the International Terminal 4, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. An over sized mobile made for the New York Port Authority that was hung in Idlewild (now J. F.K) Airport. I can also remember a bar names Idlewild on Houston street (NYC) in the 90´s. It had an airport theme and waitresses in 50's styled uniforms.


The above sculpture of "The Young Rembrandt" made by Dutch Wim van Hoorn was donated to Terminal 4, as can be read on below bronze plack.


It is nice to see that The Netherlands promotes art, not only in their own airport Schiphol with a museum of Dutch Masters for travellers waiting for their connections, but also in America. 


There are many examples of good and bad art in airports around the world, but there are also many examples of airports without any art at all. Is there a connection between an airports location, the pride of culture, art & design history and airport interior & exterior design? Maybe so.
In the same way as there was a delightful mobile from Calder in one part of New York's JFK airport, there was a whole area in the airport that was full of what seemed like strange larger than life size carnival costumes. They looked like they were parked and the people inside of them went for lunch. But when I went upstairs to ask about what the exhibition was about, three security guards reading comic books told me it was a special area with no entrance for regular people.


The above film flicker concept is cute, but a bit cheesy. It is made so when you stand on the rolling walkway you move by it as looking through a flip book. Only the walkway is too slow for the flip effect to really work. It can be found in the very nice Geneva airport, where the airplanes taking off is a wonderful sight out of the windows with a mountain back drop.


The above installations was made inside of JFK's Terminal 5. The whole space was turned over to curator Rachel K. Ward who invited contemporary artists to come up with concepts, sculptures and interactive installations.


The building is to begin with buildt by Finnish Eero Saarinen. His design is made to give the travellers an experience when taking off in an airplane. This was the state of mind in the 50's when space age was near and the future was not what it used to be. The wonderful building has lately been renovated by JetBlue for their booming business selling cheap flights with minimal service. Then again, the service comes in the experience of landing and taking off from the legendary Terminal 5.

the above neon sculptures was done on commission by Yan Shu  

British Airways has commissioned emerging artists and designers to create eight contemporary art works for its new home at Terminal 5, Heathrow. This art will hopefully help calm the people in dispair who have been stuck in the rather messy situation Terminal 5 have been dealing with lately.


Copenhagen International Airport Kastrup has gone from the number one airport in the world two times and four times won the award as being "The best airport in Europe", to not be among the 10 best in the world 2007. The above Smoke Cabin Installation by Unknown Artist in Kastrup airport, is however a great example of contemporary art at its best. Better than a gold fish in a blender or a cow in formaldehyde, if you ask me.


The above installation project by Sayed Alavi is an aerial view of the Sacramento River that is woven into a carpet for the floor of a pedestrian bridge connecting the terminal to the parking garage. This image represents approximately 50 miles of the Sacramento River starting just outside of Colusa, California and ending about 6 miles south of Chico. It is a Site Specific Public Art Project for the Sacramento International Airport. It seems to give an experience of flight and flying, along with a feeling of a "welcome mat" for visitors arriving in Sacramento.

Related Posts:
Dutch Masters behind the passport control 
One Airport Legend re-opens, another closes down

Related Sites:
Alexander Calder
Eero Saarinen
JFK Terminal 5 Art Installation 
Wallpaper Story about Heathrow's Terminal 5

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