Art at Terminal B
Extraordinary works of art play a key role in civic spaces, helping express their spirit. That desire for expression was behind the development of the art installations featured LaGuardia Airport Terminal B, commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund.
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 site-specific works, which 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 personal 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 Terminal B. The artists have responded to and incorporated this space and light into their installations. Each work has a “lightness of being” in both form and content, adapted to the monumental scale of the building
(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)
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.
(b. 1964, Pforzheim, West Germany)
La Guardia Vistas, 2020
Latex ink and vinyl mounted on glass
Located in the Connector, 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 1,100 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.
(b. 1970, Euclid, OH)
Handmade glazed ceramic tiles and grout
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. The colossal work synthesizes her unique painterly style with the artisan craft of handmade ceramic and the visual language of digital image-making.
The composition changes with the viewer's 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.
(b. 1969, Boston, MA)
Shorter than the Day, 2020
Powder coated aluminum and steel
Located in the Arrivals & Departures Hall, 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 —”