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Jeppe Hein, Sabine Hornig, Laura Owens, Sarah Sze: Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport

Jeppe Hein, Sabine Hornig, Laura Owens, Sarah Sze: Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport

About

Throughout history, extraordinary works of art have often played a key role in civic spaces that not only serve the public, but capture and express the spirit of their culture and place. That aspiration has informed the development of this series of major permanent installations for the Arrivals and Departures Hall of LaGuardia Airport Terminal B, commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund. Opened to the public by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in June 2020, Terminal B is a key feature of the most dramatic transformation of New York City’s transportation infrastructure in a generation.

Public Art Fund was invited to partner with LaGuardia Gateway Partners, developer and operator of Terminal B, to formulate and implement a comprehensive art program for the new building. The goal was not simply to place existing works of art in an airport, but to commission four of the world’s leading artists to create ambitious site-specific works that would become part of the fabric of the building itself. The four artists—Jeppe Hein, Sabine Hornig, Laura Owens, and Sarah Sze—were each encouraged to draw on their own experience of New York City. The resulting works reflect a richly-layered global city defined by its creative energy, openness, diversity, and democratic spirit.

Fluid space and abundant natural light characterize the architecture of the terminal, which the artists have responded to and incorporated into their own installations. Each work has a “lightness of being” in both form and content, adapting to the monumental scale of the building with works that seem to float in and animate space in surprising ways. The artists’ subject matter ranges across New York’s built and natural environment, its cultural personality, and its history – including that of the airport. In taking on the challenge to create a permanent work of art for LaGuardia Airport, Hein, Hornig, Owens, and Sze have each demonstrated their extraordinary talent. Working at an unprecedented scale, often with unfamiliar materials, these four artists have helped to transform this vital infrastructure into a powerful new civic landmark.

Jeppe Hein

(b. 1974, Copenhagen, Denmark)
All Your Wishes, 2020
Installation of 70 Mirror Balloons (PVD coated stainless steel) and 3 Modified Social Benches (powder coated aluminum)
Balloons: each 1’4” h x 11” w x 11” d
Benches: A) 2’6” h x 7’7” w x 4’2” d; B) 5’ 6” h x 17’8” w x 5’4” d; C) 2’9” h x 5’6” w x 1’4” d
Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund

Dozens of colorful and reflective balloon-shaped steel sculptures by artist Jeppe Hein are distributed throughout Terminal B, as if released into the air and allowed to float to the ceiling in defiance of gravity. Dispersed around every corner like a fairytale breadcrumb trail, Hein’s brilliantly playful balloons invite viewers to look skyward and embrace their sense of wonder. At floor level, Hein’s witty and whimsical bench sculptures reinvent a familiar form of public seating, turning a functional object into a lyrical and evocative work of art. Three bright red benches curve, loop, and twist to form an irresistible invitation to spontaneous expression and social connection. Providing for a moment of respite to countless travelers, Hein’s benches offer new perspectives on ourselves, each other, and the spaces we have in common.

Over two decades, Hein has created sculptures and installations that question the traditional relationship between artwork and spectator. Often taking the form of interventions in public spaces, his installations merge the conceptual with the experiential, and are activated by viewers’ participation. In Hein’s work, seemingly simple and familiar media—text, mirrors, water, brushstrokes, and common utilitarian and decorative objects—are introduced in unexpected contexts or endowed with uncanny behaviors. These wry juxtapositions elicit responses of surprise and enchantment that entice us to consider novel ways of relating to our world and ourselves. Characteristic of Hein’s practice, the two forms of ‘social sculpture’ installed in Terminal B were conceived with a sincere intent: to spark joy, alter perceptions, open the viewer to new experiences, and create the conditions that foster moments of empathy and fellowship amidst the hustle of a busy transit hub. The sleek aesthetic of Hein’s objects draws from the traditions of 1970s minimalism and conceptual art, but despite their formal simplicity, each of his works are handcrafted through rigorous and exacting technical processes. Hein lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

For more information about Jeppe Hein, please visit www.jeppehein.net

Jeppe Hein gratefully acknowledges his studio (Stephan Babendererde, Robert Banovic, Lutz Herrmann) and VRH Construction (Rob Carr, Nick Castronova, Kevin Curran, Dean Haussel).

Sabine Hornig

(b. 1964, Pforzheim, West Germany)
La Guardia Vistas, 2020
Latex ink and vinyl mounted on glass
42’ h x 268’ w
Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund

Artist Sabine Hornig’s La Guardia Vistas alters our perception of the urban landscape. Her transparent photo-collage fills an expansive glass façade, allowing sunlight to immerse visitors in a kaleidoscopic wash of color, image, and text as they move through the Connector. The highly detailed composition merges over 1100 photographs of New York City into a pair of interlocking cityscapes. Buildings pictured in twilight shades of blue reach up to the tops of inverted skyscrapers that reflect the golden morning sun. The work’s title refers to Fiorello La Guardia, founder of the airport and New York City Mayor from 1934 to 1945. Hornig has included 20 quotes from and about La Guardia, reminding us of the power of visionary leadership to shape our shared environment.

In her practice spanning three decades, Hornig has combined the use of photography, sculpture, and installation to produce images and environments that immerse the viewer in a reimagined world. Her works explore the tension between surface plane and three-dimensional space, often treating transparent architectural mediums such as glass simultaneously as a surface, subject, and portal. Hornig’s densely collaged compositions overlap divergent photographic perspectives to reveal new perceptual and conceptual terrain. Layering images steeped in cultural and political significance, she examines the structures and histories that continue to inform our collective experience. For La Guardia Vistas, Hornig’s largest installation to date, the artist used the highest-resolution camera that is commercially available to capture both minute architectural details and ephemeral moments in the life of New York City. Her reinvented cityscape assimilates her research on the life and legacy of Fiorello La Guardia into a single monumental image that contends with notions of time, place, history, and memory. Hornig lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

For more information about Sabine Hornig, please visit

http://www.sabine-hornig.de

 

Quoted texts courtesy of:

Bayor, Ronald H. Fiorello La Guardia: Ethnicity, Reform, and Urban Development. Hoboken: Wiley, 2018; Brodsky, Alyn. The Great Mayor: Fiorello La Guardia and the Making of the City of New York. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003; Fiorello H. La Guardia Collection, La Guardia and Wagner Archives, La Guardia Community College, CUNY, Long Island City, NY; The New York Times TimesMachine; Rossini, Daniela. Woodrow Wilson and the American Myth in Italy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008; Williams, Mason B. City of Ambition: FDR, La Guardia, and the Making of Modern New York. New York: W. W. Norton, 2013.

Sabine Hornig gratefully acknowledges Arnold Dreyblatt, Markus Hannes, Bettina Hertrampf, Dirk Lebahn, Hilette Lindeque, Mark Pokorny, Martin Rossmann, Annette Überlein, Edye Weissler, ColorX (Serhat Cokuk, Gary Teich), Grieger GmbH (Jörg Lotz, Ute Zeise), Phase One, Heinz Papst, The Municipal Archives New York, The New York Times Archive, The Public Library, Ronald H. Bayor, Adrian Benepe, Joel Draper, Thomas Kessner, Mason B. Williams, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery New York-Los Angeles.

Laura Owens

(b. 1970, Euclid, OH)
I🍕NY, 2020
Handmade glazed ceramic tiles and grout
67’10” h x 566’3” w x 28’11” d

Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund

Laura Owens’ tiled mosaic mural considers every curve, corner, and plane of the airport’s largest interior wall, transforming it into a celebration of New York City. Against a brilliant blue sky filled with illustrative clouds, Owens depicts dozens of iconic images in a motif that evokes the potential New York City conjures in the public imagination. Representing the city’s historic public artworks, treasured landmarks, popular snacks, and everyday sights, the mural also includes many symbols of the expansive transit network that connects them all. The colossal work synthesizes her unique painterly style with the artisan craft of handmade ceramic and the visual language of digital image-making. This dynamic composition changes with our point of view, as recognizable images seen from afar become gridded abstractions when seen in proximity, dissolving into impressionistic colors and out-of-focus glimpses of our imagined city.

Since the late 1990s, Owens has taken a ranging and experimental approach to the medium of painting – an approach that embraces a breadth of sources from the avant-garde to the populist to the decorative. She gained recognition by irreverently upending the medium’s history and formal conventions, appropriating and recombining techniques and motifs from the canon of fine art, folk art, pop culture, and technology. Owens’ paintings frequently challenge the boundaries between pictorial and physical space by engaging with their architectural context. In recent years, she has increasingly employed multiple media in expansive installations that explore the construction and consumption of contemporary visual culture. I  NY is Owens’ first tile mosaic, as well as her largest work to date. Having lived in New York at various points in her 25-year career, Owens’ iconographic tribute ranges from the widely recognizable to the artistically significant to the personally meaningful. Owens lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

 

For more information about Laura Owens, please visit www.owenslaura.com

Laura Owens gratefully acknowledges her studio (Amy Baumann, Dave Berezin, Elliot Kaufman, Nic Seago Burrier, Ben Carlson), Sadie Coles HQ, London (Sadie Coles, Laura Lord), Gavin Brown’s enterprise (Gavin Brown, Ivan Guytan), Tania Garbe, BRB Tile/Local 7 NY/NJ (Bill Lardieri, Ed Conners, Chris Burden, Joe Dimauro, Mike Ferrante, Armenio Gomes, Marty Matesic, Leonardo Pazos, Feris Roci, Sebastian Rodriguez Chanquet, Jon Shenefield, Giuseppe Troia, Akini Williams, Akini Williams Jr.), Dry Lay Team (Olga Rudenko, Laura Morrison, JJ Ariosa, Cat Baldwin, AnnaLiisa Ariosa-Benston, Elise Duryee-Browner, Lili Garcia, Katherine Forst, Samuel Kim, Lizzy Myers, Hayley Nichols, Michelle Rich, Amy Ritter, Madelyn Rivera, Sophia Starling), Matthew Au, Fireclay Tile (Eric Edelson, Caitlyn Child, Nick Cordova, Katherine Lee), and The Lenape Center (Hadrien Coumans, Joe Baker).

Sarah Sze

(b. 1969, Boston, MA)
Shorter than the Day, 2020
Powder coated aluminum and steel
48’ h x 30’ w x 30’ d
Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund

This monumental sculpture by artist Sarah Sze evokes the passage of time through an intricate constellation of photographs. Hundreds of images form a mirage-like sphere that appears to float in midair. Each photograph captures a snapshot of the sky above New York City taken over the course of one day. Collectively, they chart a cyclical journey from the pale yellow of dawn to the bright blues of daylight, through sunset’s dusky orange, and midnight’s violet. Like the Earth, Sze’s globe is fragile and gradually reveals more of itself as we circle it. Shorter Than the Day is a meditation on permanence and transience that embodies the essence of the Emily Dickinson poem for which it is named. Sze gives form to the idea expressed in the poem’s powerful line: “We passed the Setting Sun / Or rather – He passed us.”

Since the late 1990s, Sze has used a wide variety of media to explore the intersection of information, technology, materiality, and time. In her sculptures, she engineers elaborate assemblages from everyday objects held together in a delicate balance, as though perpetually on the cusp of metamorphosis. Sze’s works are a study in contrasts—plane and volume, stillness and movement, organization and chaos—whose simultaneous opposition and attraction create a sense of magnetic tension. Though precisely constructed, her large-scale installations express an organic, kinetic feel, emerging like an evocative gesture across an expanse of space. Shorter Than the Day is Sze’s largest and most structurally complex sculpture to date. The work subtly conflates the ephemeral and the immutable while revealing traces of the fabrication process: the deckle-edged photographs themselves and the numbered fragments of yellow tape that demarcate their placement are both durable powder-coated metal facsimiles. In this way, Sze’s sculpture both considers the fluid nature of time and functions as a capsule of the work’s own creation. Sze lives and works in New York, NY.

For more information about Sarah Sze, please visit www.sarahsze.com.

Sarah Sze gratefully acknowledges her studio (Mike Barnett, Joell Baxter, Yu Rim Chung, Christin Graham, Marissa Graziano, Helen Lin), Amuneal (Carson Bohlen, Rob D’Amico, Colin Dees, Josh Kerner, Ray Krenicki, Kevin Schultes), and VRH Construction (Rob Carr, Nick Castronova, Kevin Curran, Dean Haussel).

About Creative Partnerships

Extending our core mission to present dynamic exhibitions by the world’s most compelling artists and make culture accessible to all, Public Art Fund: Creative Partnerships brings strategic planning, curatorial, project management, and communications expertise to leading cultural institutions, corporations, and civic organizations across the globe. Through these collaborations, Public Art Fund commissions permanent installations and temporary exhibitions in line with the unique vision of our partners and the specific parameters of each site, resulting in new artworks that activate public spaces, create engaged constituencies, and amplify the impact of our partners’ own initiatives through the power of public art.