New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Just Used One of His Briefings to Unveil a New Set of Blue-Chip Public Artworks at LaGuardia Airport

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the works on June 10, joking that he was one of the artists.

Sabine Hornig, La Guardia Vistas (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.
Sabine Hornig, La Guardia Vistas (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a group of new commissioned public artworks at LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday, signaling that the city is slowly beginning to return to normal.

The site-specific works, curated by the Public Art Fund, are by Jeppe HeinSabine HornigLaura Owens, and Sarah Sze, who were selected from an initial group of 25 artists from 11 countries.

“The artwork, it really is breathtaking. I actually installed the mosaics here personally,” Cuomo joked to reporters at a press conference. “I did it on Saturday afternoons and in the evenings and in my personal time. It’s part of my Italian heritage. I did mosaics in my bathroom, I did the backsplash in my kitchen—this was a little larger, but I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity and I’m glad I came through.”

The mosaic Cuomo was referring to, which stretches across the entirety of the Terminal B main departures hall, is the work of Owens. Titled INY, it took nine months to complete and is among the largest mosaics in the world. With 625,000 glazed ceramic tiles, it covers nearly 25,000 square feet. Dotting the backdrop of a light blue sky are images of 80 things that are instantly identified with New York, from a slice of pizza to the Statue of Liberty to the MTA MetroCard.

Jeppe Hein, Laura Owens, Sabine Hornig, and Sarah Sze, whose work is on view the new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Photo by Tom Wagner, via Jeppe Hein Studio; by Noah Webb, via Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Sadie Coles HQ, and Galerie Gisela Capitain; by Sabine Hornig and VG-Bild Kunst, Bonn Germany, via Tanya Bonakdar Gallery; and by Deborah Feingold, via Sarah Sze.

Jeppe Hein, Laura Owens, Sabine Hornig, and Sarah Sze. Photo by Tom Wagner, via Jeppe Hein Studio; by Noah Webb, via Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Sadie Coles HQ, and Galerie Gisela Capitain; by Sabine Hornig and VG-Bild Kunst, Bonn Germany, via Tanya Bonakdar Gallery; and by Deborah Feingold, via Sarah Sze.

The work by Sze, who represented the US at the 2013 Venice Biennale, is a spherical sculpture suspended from the ceiling. It includes nearly 1,000 photographs of the sky over New York, taken at various times throughout the day. Titled Shorter than the Day after an Emily Dickinson poem, it weighs five tons.

The walkway connecting the arrivals and departures areas to the parking garage features Hornig’s colorful, two-story glass mosaic, which is a tribute to the airport’s namesake, former New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The translucent collage, titled La Guardia Vistas, pairs images of the city with quotes by La Guardia, including one that reads: “It has been my lot all my life to be called radical. Why? Only because I have consistently objected to conditions which I have conscientiously believed were wrong.”

Hein, meanwhile, created functional, bright red benches with fanciful looping curls where travelers can stop to rest. The benches are paired with 70 reflective balloon-shaped steel sculptures that hang from the ceiling.

Sarah Sze's <em>Shorter than the Day</em> (2020), in front of Laura Owens's <em>I [pizza emoji] NY</em> (2020) at LaGuardia Airport. Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

Sarah Sze’s Shorter than the Day (2020), in front of Laura Owens’s I🍕NY (2020) at LaGuardia Airport. Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

“Civic architecture should not only be functional, but inspiring and appealing… Part of the design requirements were to have key art pieces built in,” Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said at the press event. “The Public Art Fund’s selections bring creativity, energy, buoyancy, and spirit to this new civic space.”

Only Hein’s work is located past security checkpoints, but it will be some time until the general public can make a dedicated art pilgrimage to LaGuardia: due to the health crisis, the terminal will be open only to ticketed passengers, employees, and those on official business. Other precautionary measures include an abundance of hand sanitizer dispensers and mandatory face coverings.

The Port Authority broke ground on the new terminal, which officially opens Saturday, four years ago as part of a major expansion and overhaul that will bring the airport to 840,000 square feet of space. When it’s done, LaGuardia will go from being the “worst airport in the country to the best,” Cotton said.

The unveiling came just days after New York City entered phase one of the state’s reopening plan, allowing some nonessential businesses to resume business for the first time since Cuomo signed the PAUSE executive order on March 22.

“We needed this today,” Cuomo said at the press conference. “We needed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We needed to see possibility. We needed to see New York stand up and shine. We needed to remember how great a place this is and how great a people we are.”

See more photos of LaGuardia’s new art below.

Sarah Sze, <em>Shorter than the Day</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, Shorter than the Day (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Jeppe Hein, <em>All Your Wishes</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; 303 GALLERY, NY; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

Jeppe Hein, All Your Wishes (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; 303 GALLERY, NY; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

Laura Owens, I [pizza emoji] NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I🍕NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I [pizza emoji] NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I🍕NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I [pizza emoji] NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I🍕NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I [pizza emoji] NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I🍕NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I [pizza emoji] NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I🍕NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I [pizza emoji] NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Laura Owens, I🍕NY (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne.

Jeppe Hein, <em>All Your Wishes</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; 303 GALLERY, NY; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

Jeppe Hein, All Your Wishes (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; 303 GALLERY, NY; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

Jeppe Hein, <em>All Your Wishes</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; 303 GALLERY, NY; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

Jeppe Hein, All Your Wishes (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; 303 GALLERY, NY; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

Jeppe Hein, <em>All Your Wishes</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; 303 GALLERY, NY; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

Jeppe Hein, All Your Wishes (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; 303 GALLERY, NY; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

Sabine Hornig, La Guardia Vistas (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, <em>La Guardia Vistas</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, La Guardia Vistas (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, <em>La Guardia Vistas</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, La Guardia Vistas (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, <em>La Guardia Vistas</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, La Guardia Vistas (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, <em>La Guardia Vistas</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, La Guardia Vistas (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, <em>La Guardia Vistas</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, La Guardia Vistas (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, <em>La Guardia Vistas</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sabine Hornig, La Guardia Vistas (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles. ©Sabine Hornig and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Germany.

Sarah Sze, <em>Shorter than the Day</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, Shorter than the Day (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, <em>Shorter than the Day</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, Shorter than the Day (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, <em>Shorter than the Day</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, Shorter than the Day (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, <em>Shorter than the Day</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, Shorter than the Day (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, <em>Shorter than the Day</em> (2020). Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund for LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.

Sarah Sze, Shorter than the Day (2020). Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Public Art Fund, NY. ©Sarah Sze.


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