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Los Angeles International Airport launches first-ever public art festival

In celebration of its expansion and renovation, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is launching its first-ever public art festival this month, entitled Influx: Art at LAX. Presented by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), Influx features 11 original, site-specific art installations located throughout LAX and includes the work of 45 Los Angeles-based artists. The festival is a virtual survey of Los Angeles’s diverse art practices, including video, large-scale sculptures, mixed-media, ink drawings, and murals.

“With the opening of the New Tom Bradley International Terminal, LAX is beginning a new era, and the art program is an important part of this transformation,” says Sarah Cifarelli, art manager for LAWA, noting that Influx nearly doubles the LAWA Art Program’s exhibition space. “With the unprecedented scope of Influx, the airport’s public spaces have become a showcase for Los Angeles’s dynamic contemporary art scene, for the enjoyment of passengers, visitors, and locals alike.”

Many of the new exhibition sites have been thoughtfully selected to enliven and enrich how people experience the airport. For example, Flow and Glimpse by Barbara Strasen in Terminal 2 and Elevate by Joyce Dallal in Terminal 3, are dramatic, large-scale installations that transform the departures atriums. Flow and Glimpse depicts the rich textures and diversity of Los Angeles through 90 lenticular panels that change in response to the location of the viewer. Elevate consists of two large sculptural formations made of hundreds of colourful and seemingly delicate paper airplanes, handmade from Japanese paper and imprinted with excerpts from the Geneva Conventions. Both of these works provide a dazzling architectural spectacle; for ticketed passengers, they continue to engage and delight, animating the otherwise mundane experience of passing through airport security checkpoints.

Other works activate previously underused spaces, such as Blow Me a Kiss by Eileen Cowin, a vibrant video installation that beckons and gestures to people in the ticketing area in Terminal 3. The ticketing and departures area of Terminal 6 is another new exhibition space, with a site-specific installation Why Are You Here / No Thing To Declare /Declare Experience by the code artist ETMCA, which includes several large, visually stunning paintings embedded with code related to the experience of travel. In Terminals 7 and 8, curator Elizabeta Betinski has transformed a previously sparse hallway, uniting the large-scale and seemingly disparate work of two artists with Transitional Beings: Rebecca Niederlander & Shizu Saldamando.

Influx also encompasses two curated group shows. A Look at COLA Individual Artist Fellowships, located in Terminal 1, is a mini-retrospective featuring works by 28 past recipients of the City of Los Angeles (COLA) Individual Artist Fellowship Award, curated by Scott Canty, director and curator of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. In Terminal 3, Levitational curated by John David O’Brien, is a multi-faceted exhibit with a wide range of artworks about defying the forces of gravity, either in practice or in appearance.

Additional Influx installations include #LAXPOPPIES by Jorge Oswaldo, located in the central meet and greet area of Baggage Claim in Terminal 1. Consisting of eight bold, expressive, and brilliantly coloured canvases depicting poppies, this site-specific installation reinterprets the tradition of greeting a loved one at the airport with flowers for the age of social media. For ticketed passengers, Terminal 1 also offers Eileen Cowin’s Point of Departure, located in the main Departures concourse, which inverts the traditional art display case, creating in its place a large-scale story box consisting of four evocative, and somewhat mysterious, photographs, as well as My Life in Airports by Deborah Aschheim, a gallery-like installation at Gate 2 featuring more than 125 ink drawings from the artist’s travel diary. In the Tom Bradley International Terminal, also for ticketed passengers, Cynthia Minet has created Packing (Caravan), a colourful and whimsical parade of four life-size domesticated animals made from recycled and re-purposed plastics and illuminated with LED lights.

Influx will be on view in its entirety beginning June 20, 2013, and will remain on display through the end of 2013.

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