The airport is not often a site for the calm contemplation of beautiful things. For most, it’s a place of extreme stress: the stress of securing your ticket, checking your bags, waiting in security, taking off your shoes, pulling out those liquids, locating your gate -- and if you’re on time -- purchasing overpriced snacks for your snack-less flight.
Or, if you’re like me before a recent transcontinental flight, you’re simply sprinting through the airport in your socks, praying you make to the gate in time.
At the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) strives to make a traveler's time spent in the airport a little less chaotic and little more contemplative, thanks to artworks funded by the city’s percent-for-art program, San Francisco's mandate that a public building project expend two percent of its construction cost towards public art.
Two new monumental wall pieces, commissioned by the SFAC from local artists Amy Ellingson and Val Britton, freeze the frenetic activity of the airport into abstract panoramas of color, line and form. Viewed from up close or afar, the works contain pleasant references to constant movement -- Britton’s Voyage in particular utilizes an impressive array of material approaches to keep even the most disgruntled victim of flight delays happily immersed in its many intricate details.
Construction work on SFO’s expanded Terminal 3 (the source for these most recent percent-for-art funds) is in its final stages, to be completed shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday rush. Incorporated into the terminal’s new architecture is Ellingson's Untitled (Large Variation), an adaptation of the artist's multi-layered and colorful abstract paintings.