LA GUARDIA VISTAS, 2020
LaGuardia Airport, New York
La Guardia Vistas
Latex ink and vinyl mounted on glass
1284cm high x 8177cm wide
Commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund
Permanent installation, curated by Public Art Fund, New York
Photos by Nicholas Night, Sabine Hornig and Rachel Peddersen
Sabine Hornig's artwork, La Guardia Vistas, a large photographic collage covering an extensive glass façade, combines an homage to the famous Mayor and founder of the airport, Fiorello La Guardia (1882-1947) with the architectural majesty of the New York City skyline. Adorning over 11,700 square feet of glass curtain wall facade of the pedestrian bridge connecting the Arrivals and Departures Hall of LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal B with the Terminal B parking garage, the dramatic invented image of an inverted New York City skyline washes the connector with colour, image and text. The composition comprises 1104 individual photographs taken and seamlessly woven together by Hornig.
An image of the skyline, as viewed from Queens, is projected onto the glass like a shadow, descending from above as inverted, golden forms in morning light. A second image of a nighttime urban cityscape rises up from below, filling the interspaces and intersecting with the golden skyline. Together these skylines create a sculptural perception of the city, where inside and outside and day and night interchange. The golden foreground becomes a sunrise sky in the background, and the blue background below becomes a nighttime foreground in the image.
Emerging from positive and negative binaries, these two images introduce us with contrasts, reflected as simultaneous occurrences in the city space. This simultaneity references La Guardia’s view of New York City’s unique image as “the entire world in microcosm“ (Bayor, 2018). The artwork portrays a large-scale overview of the city, while also providing the opportunity to move closer and see the details and the “thousands of little people“ (The New York Times, 1945).
Simultaneously, the intersecting skylines bring together contrasting areas of the city, symbolically reversing the hierarchies of the buildings with the tallest skyscrapers meeting the smallest houses. This convergence references the positive ambition of the city, such as opposing economic theories of the idea of wealth trickling down from above and that of wealth rising up from the bottom. Together these two skylines form a rythmic composition in colour and detail, like the heartbeat of the city.
The work brings together the New York skyline and textual elements, weaving fragments from the speeches and writings of the former New York City Mayor into the image. Combing text with image brings a richness to the work, in a contemporary, timeless way. As an important figure in the city’s history and contributor to the contemporary New York City, La Guardia’s views represent the history, individuality and the spirit of New York. His words, which called on the qualities of strength and solidarity in New Yorkers during the time of the Great Depression, are still enduring in difficult times, where New Yorkers can come together “with patience and fortitude.“
Quoted texts courtesy of:
Bayor, Ronald H. Fiorello La Guardia: Ethnicity, Reform, and Urban Development. Hoboken: Wiley, 2018; Brodsky, Alyn. The Great Mayor: Fiorello La Guardia and the Making of the City of New York. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003; Fiorello H. La Guardia Collection, La Guardia and Wagner Archives, La Guardia Community College, CUNY, Long Island City, NY; The New York Times TimesMachine; Rossini, Daniela. Woodrow Wilson and the American Myth in Italy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008; Williams, Mason B. City of Ambition: FDR, La Guardia, and the Making of Modern New York. New York: W. W. Norton, 2013.
Sabine Hornig gratefully acknowledges Arnold Dreyblatt, Markus Hannes, Bettina Hertrampf, Dirk Lebahn, Hilette Lindeque, Mark Pokorny, Martin Rossmann, Annette Überlein, Edye Weissler, ColorX (Serhat Cokuk, Gary Teich), Grieger GmbH (Jörg Lotz, Ute Zeise), Phase One, Heinz Papst, The Municipal Archives New York, The New York Times Archive, The Public Library, Ronald H. Bayer, Adrian Benepe, Joel Draper, Thomas Kessner, Mason B. Williams, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery New York-Los Angeles.