“Let’s energize the reopening,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday at a press briefing at LaGuardia Airport—the site of four newly unveiled artworks by major artists soon to be seen by travelers from all over. Following an $8 billion renovation of the airport’s Terminal B set to reopen on Saturday, members of the press got their first look at commissions by Jeppe Hein, Sabine Hornig, Laura Owens, and Sarah Sze. The works are part of an extensive effort to revamp an airport that Joe Biden once compared to such a facility in a “third-world country.”
“LaGuardia is going to be the first new airport in America in 25 years,” Cuomo said. “Just think about that—25 years.”
The new artworks for the airport run the gamut from Hein’s steel sculptures of balloons to a wall mural by Owens that pays homage to integral aspects of New York lore—such as the Staten Island Ferry and MetroCards—and includes text written in the Lenape dialects of Unami and Munsee. (The title of Owens’s piece is I 🍕 NY; per the artist’s request, neither the letters nor the emoji gets italics.) Representatives for the Public Art Fund, the organization that worked with the airport to realize the commissions, claimed that the new artworks will be essential to how the public envisions LaGuardia in the future.
“These four artists have helped to transform this vital infrastructure into a powerful new civic landmark where art is an essential part of the fabric of the building itself,” Nicholas Baume, the Public Art Fund’s director and chief curator, said in a statement.
Below, have a look at the new works at LaGuardia.