Each week, Artful spotlights an art experience or destination that speaks to us right now.
Over the past few months of canceled trips and suspended plans, even those of us who would normally complain about LaGuardia Airport may have felt a genuine longing to return. Now we have another reason to look forward to wheeling our rollerboards through its notoriously cramped corridors: the Public Art Fund's permanent installations at Terminal B by four celebrated contemporary artists, part of a new Arrivals and Departures hall at Terminal B unveiled this week by New York governor Andrew Cuomo and opening to the public on June 13.
The projects show that civic spirit can have many moods, from dignified to puckish. Drivers coming from the Terminal B garage will see Sabine Hornig's LaGuardia Vistas, a giant photo-collage lining the glass passageway into the new hall that overlays quotes from mayor Fiorello LaGuardia across cityscapes of Queens and Manhattan. Other photographs, of the city's skies, come together to form Sarah Sze's suspended sphere Shorter Than the Day which extends from Departures down to the baggage claim and riffs on the sense of impermanence in an Emily Dickinson poem. Also on the Departures level, an ambitious mosaic by the playful painter Laura Owens celebrates classic New York sights (from the Staten Island Ferry to the Stonewall Inn) and foods (pizza slices and everything bagels). Its 625,000 tiles, installed over nine months, manage to evoke some of the digital-inspired effects of Owens's paintings.
You'll have to pass through security to experience Jeppe Hein's Modified Social Benches, with bright red metal loops that distinguish them from the usual airport seating, and his festive steel sculptures made to look like shiny helium balloons that have floated up to the ceiling. If you're not booking a flight anytime soon, though, the Public Art Fund's website has multiple views of all four artists' projects.