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 and Daniel Finch
Jeppe Hein, Sabine Hornig, Laura Owens, Sarah Sze: Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport - Public Art Fund
Art That Might Make You Want to Go to La Guardia - The New York Times
In Sabine Hornig's artwork, La Guardia Vistas, at La Guardia Airport the artist created a large photographic collage over the whole glass façade of the connector bridge. It 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 foot glass curtain wall facade of the pedestrian bridge connecting the Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall with the Terminal B parking garage, the dramatic invented composite image of an inverted New York City skyline viewed from Queens is comprised of 1104 individual photographs taken and seamlessly woven together by Hornig.
An image of the skyline is projected onto the glass like a shadow, descending from above as inverted, golden forms in morning light. A second image of an upright urban cityscape rises up from below, filling the interspaces and merging with the golden skyline in a darker night atmosphere, together creating a sculptural perception of the city, where inside and outside and day and night interchange, the golden foreground becoming a sunrise sky in the background, and the blue background becoming a nighttime foreground in the image.
Emerging from positive and negative binaries, these two images introduce us with contrasts, reflecting these 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).“
As La Guardia addressed all New York citizens, the work symbolically reverses the hierarchies of the buildings. The image of the skyline portrays an interchanging of the top and the bottom, the tallest skyscrapers meet the smallest houses.
It also implies the ongoing discussions in various economic theories regarding the likelihood of wealth trickling down from above or whether it can instead rise up from below.
The artwork portrays a large overview of the city, as well as providing the opportunity to move closer and see the “thousands of little people (The New York Timer, 1945).“
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. The Mayor had a huge impact on the city structure as well as an understanding of what New York´s spirit is about. As the first person from an Italian-Jewish immigrant family to make it into the government, he wanted “to give people a voice that had no voice“. He campaigned for the equality of groups and the freedom of cultural diversity, believing the multicultural impact is what makes the city what it is.
Fragments from the speeches and writings of the former New York City Mayor are woven into the work. These statements project a second view over the cityscape, showing that his vision of the New Deal period timelessly applies to the contemporary New York City. 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.