Professor Sarah Sze Commissioned for Public Art Fund Exhibition Laguardia Group
BY Audrey Deng, June 15, 2020
This month, the newly renovated Terminal B of LaGuardia Airport reopened with installations by four artists, including the stunning five-ton sculpture “Shorter Than the Day” by Professor Sarah Sze.
Named after a line in the Emily Dickinson poem Because I could not stop for Death, “Shorter Than the Day” is a spherical structure composed of metal rods with photographs of New York skies attached. The New York Times wrote, “[Sze] has engineered a vast matrix of metal rods that cohere into a monumental yet ethereal globe. Suspended from a central spot on the ceiling of the departures level, it descends through a cutaway in the floor and is visible floating overhead from baggage claim.”
The effect of the sculpture, wrote the Public Art Fund, “gives form to the idea expressed in [Because I could not stop for Death’s] powerful line: “We passed the Setting Sun / Or rather – He passed us.”
Sze said to The New York Times, “I really want it to be almost like a mirage. It’s always been really interesting to do public art that way because it requires so much of the opposite.”
“Shorter Than the Day” resides permanently in LaGuardia Airport.
Original Publication: 03/13/2020
Professor Sarah Sze is part of a group of four internationally renowned artists commissioned by the Public Art Fund to create permanent installations in La Guardia Airport’s new Terminal B. This is not Sze’s first time creating work for the city; in 2016, Sze was part of another group of artists responsible for creating artwork for the new Second Avenue subway line. Her installation piece, Blueprint for a Landscape, is at 96th Street Station.
Terminal B will open later this year. There, Sze’s work will appear alongside the works of fellow artists Jeppe Hein, Laura Owens, and Sabine Hornig. The hope is to turn the airport into a place more representative of the city’s creative vigor. Their large-scale artworks will be built into the architecture of the arrivals and departures hall in ways unprecedented to airport art.
In a comment to the New York Times, Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund, said, “To say, ‘That looks like airport art’ wouldn’t be a compliment. We’re really trying to turn that on its head. It’s very seldom that you see something that’s conceived for the site by a major artist.”
Born in Boston in 1969, Sze presently lives and works in New York. She received a BA from Yale University in Connecticut in 1991 and an MFA from New York’s School of Visual Arts in 1997. She is a 2003 MacArthur Fellow.
In 2013, Sze represented the United States at the 55th Venice Biennale with a solo pavilion presentation entitled Triple Point. Sze’s sculptures, installations and works on paper have also been exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Haus Der Kunst in Munch, Copenhagen Contemporary in Copenhagen, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, as part of the 1999 Carnegie International.
Her work is well represented in important private and public collections worldwide, including those of New York’s Guggenheim Museum, and Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art, along with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 21st Century Museum of Art in Kanazawa, Japan, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, Tate Collection, London and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.