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A new airport art installation takes off


The $ 8 billion renovation of New York’s LaGuardia Airport won’t be complete until 2025. But Terminal B is already done, and it’s beautiful.

The centerpiece is a spectacular new aerial sculpture called “Shorter Than the Day” by artist Sarah Sze, visual arts professor at Columbia, MacArthur “genius” scholarship recipient and mother of two.

Sze said, “When I first proposed it, everyone was like, ‘Well how are you going to do that? How are you going to make five tons look like nothing?'”

“I mean, looks like you could blow it like a dandelion,” correspondent David Pogue said. “How fragile is he, actually?”

“It’s not at all fragile!” she laughed.

A new airport art installation takes off
Sarah Sze’s “Shorter Than Day” (2020). Powder coated aluminum and steel.

Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. © Sarah Sze


Looking inside, you see 1,500 photos of the New York skyline, arranged from dawn, noon, and dusk.

Sze said, “You watch the hour of the sun cross the sky as you move, don’t you? So you retrace a day.

“You know, a terminal is this amazing place where you have this change in weather, whether you come in or you go, in this very complex way. So, I wanted the play to be really kind of time modeling. ”

Like most of Sze’s work, this one is made up of hundreds of interconnected pieces: “For me, it’s a 20-year exploration of this idea of ​​how the parts come together to form a whole, and where. then find the limits What is included What is not working Where is the frame?

A new airport art installation takes off
Detail from “Shorter Than the Day” by Sarah Sze.

Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. © Sarah Sze


Sarah Sze was born in Boston in 1969 and almost immediately began making art. “I was doing art all the time when I was little – towels, walls, whatever, you know, garbage in sculptures, all the time,” she says.

Pogue asked: “Does your father is an architect play a role?”

“The house was filled with models, drawings. You know, we didn’t own any art, but we went to museums. And to me, the museum was like going, you know, a complete haven.”

She majored in architecture and painting at Yale, earned her MA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and then took off. She has had exhibitions in the most sacred art halls, such as the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennale and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

A new airport art installation takes off
Public art by Sarah Sze. Left: “Blue Poles” (2006), painted steel installation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Right: “Split Stone (7:34)” (2018), frieze sculpture at Rockefeller Center, New York City.

© Sarah Sze. Courtesy of the artist.


But his first love is art in public places, especially in New York.

A new airport art installation takes off
Sarah Sze’s “Corner Plot” (2006), mixed media sculpture commissioned by the Public Art Fund, New York City.

© Sarah Sze. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.


“I did a piece for the 96th Street subway station,” Sze said. “You sort of think about where you’re going to go, and there’s something there that makes you think, that stops you just for a second, whether you move, or through, or below.”

A new airport art installation takes off
Enter the 96th Street subway station with the porcelain artwork by Sarah Sze “Blueprint for a Landscape” (2017).

CBS News


In 2012, you would have seen this sculpture while walking along Manhattan’s High Line:

A new airport art installation takes off
“Still life with landscape (model for a habitat)” by Sarah Sze (2011), sculpture in stainless steel and wood in New York’s High Line.

© Sarah Sze. Courtesy of the artist.


And starting next month, her latest piece, “Fallen Sky,” will be permanently installed at the Storm King Sculpture Gallery in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Pogue asked, “When asked to create a public work of art, are there different mental restrictions in terms of sympathy, accessibility?”

“I don’t need people to like the job,” she replied. “I mean, hating a work can also, you know, it can be valid. I don’t want people to go by like it’s a fire hydrant. I want people to think, question, s engage in their own opinion, which is what a good work of art does. please. “

A new airport art installation takes off
Artist Sarah Sze.

CBS News


His proposal for the 96th Street subway certainly did not please everyone. There were petitions do not to build it. Sze said, “Whenever you do public art, there’s a question, and it’s a valid question:” Why are we spending money on this and not, you know, on improving the? conditions of public schools in New York? “That’s a very valid question. My point is that for me art is sustenance. When you are in pain, art can save your life. I believe it.”

With so few people flying during the pandemic, Sze’s sculpture at LaGuardia has been a bit of a hidden treasure. But with the end of the pandemic, that will change.

Pogue asked, “As you look back over the arc of your career, is this the pinnacle so far?”

“As an artist, you always want the last piece you created to be the pinnacle. But you would never want it to be THE pinnacle, would you?” she answered.

“I mean, this is probably the one most people will see, would you say?”

“That was one of the reasons I was really excited about this commission,” said Sze, “because people all over the world, you know, first-time visitors, regular visitors [will see it]. For me, having some kind of entrance sculpture in the city that I love was really special. “

A new airport art installation takes off
Detail from “Shorter Than the Day” by Sarah Sze.

Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. © Sarah Sze



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Story produced by Julie Kracov. Publisher: Emanuele Secci.

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