Airport Unveils New Electronic Art Program

Posted filed under Public Art, USA.

Indianapolis International Airport will debut a new high-definition video wall next month featuring artworks and commercial advertising. The On Screen program, curated by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, will present two projects annually. The video wall will be installed on the bulkhead above the main escalator in the terminal.

In its first year, the On Screen art program will feature the video Perm Press: The American Cycle (2011) by Indianapolis-based artist Artur Silva, followed by a project by New York-based Nina Katchadourian called Seat Assignment (2011).

Multimedia artist Artur Silva will inaugurate On Screen with a new video work called Perm Press: The American Cycle that includes animation, video and photography. (…)

The second On Screen project will debut in June 2012 and will feature a selection of photographs by Nina Katchadourian from her ongoing project, Seat Assignment. The piece consists of photographs that the artist – a frequent flyer – has taken on flights, using her mobile phone as a camera and the tray table as her improvised studio. In this expansive body of work, Katchadourian creates inventive landscapes, portraits, and still life tableaus using pages torn out from in-flight magazines, pretzel crumbs, straws, and other materials readily available between take-off and landing.

The official press info has a lot more information, but not everyone is happy with this program and we should also hear from the critics here.

The airport is reviewing whether to remove “Chrysalis,” a piece by James Wille Faust (right). Jan Martin (left) was the engineer who built the metal components for the artwork.(Michelle Pemberton) Image from

The Indianapolis Business Journal has a different take: “The wall is also capable of displaying advertisements, a concept that created angst among some art fans when the controversial plan to remove Chrysalis, by local artist James Wille Faust, was revealed in August. The work was removed on Monday.

Officials said the wall is being sponsored at no cost to the airport by Sharp Electronics Corp. and Clear Channel Airports, the latter an airport advertising firm operating in 260 airports.
(…)Airport officials offered to move Chrysalis to the Indiana Convention Center. But Faust rejected the offer. His wife, Martha, told IBJ that such a move would amount to “bastardizing” the piece, saying it was designed specifically for the prominent airport space.” More at The Indianapolis Business Journal.

On the artist’s website, Faust explains that the airport work “represents the transformation of a chrysalis into an open-winged moth or butterfly, symbolic of flight.”

The good news is that many people have been voicing their opposition to the move to ditch the art in favor of ads and numerous editorial and articles have come down in favor of Faust’s work. One editorial by Royce Smith, an art history professor at Wichita State University, explained: “While most people remember airport experiences for their pat-downs and meltdowns, I remembered the Indianapolis airport for its understanding that art educates, amazes and soothes, and James Wille Faust’s work “Chrysalis” was the crown jewel of that mission.

The dean of a local art and design college framed the issue another way: “It’s just kind of insulting to the artist to have work taken down because of an advertising opportunity.”

There is also a Facebook Group: Save ‘Chrysalis’, art at the Indianapolis Airport