By Juliet Farmer
Sacramento International Airport
6900 Airport Blvd.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take a tour of Terminal B at the Sacramento International Airport. The tour, led by a docent/volunteer from Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (aka SMAC), was $8.50 per person and well worth the price of admission (even when adding in the $10 for parking). For much of the 1.25-hour tour, my mouth was agape as my eyes were bombarded with all manner of art pieces, all with the underlying theme of home, returning home or flying away or home.
(Insider tip: Lucky for you, most of said art is located outside the security gates, so you can check it out for free!)
Below are some of the art pieces at Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B:
Past Security Gates
If I lived in a castle, I would want Donald Lipski’s “Acorn Steam” as a chandelier. The title, an anagram of Sacramento, playfully describes this fabricated Valley Oak tree branch (which was cast, then copied twice and adjoined to form a three-prong branch) 30 feet in diameter and decorated with over 5,000 hand-cut and polished Austrian (Swarovski) crystals. While the piece is located beyond the security gates, you can still admire it from afar. Lipski’s body of work includes numerous large-scale sculptural installations. His work can also be found in the collections of The Chicago Art Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Whitney Museum of American Art.
Transfer Level, Ticket Hall
Lynn Criswell’s whimsical “As the Crow Flies” is almost too pretty to walk on, yet durable enough to withstand the foot traffic of this bustling area of the airport. The piece is unique in that 21 emerald green empty birdcages dangle above the bright yellow pop of terrazzo measuring 18 feet by 30 feet and depicting 21 indigenous Northern Californian birds and their keeper. Each bird is perched or standing, thus indicating their location on the “land side” of the airport as opposed to the “air side.” Criswell’s work can be found in many private and public collections, including Tamara Thomas Fine Arts Services Inc., Los Angeles; Downtown Municipal Building, Chico; and The Capitol East End Project, Sacramento.
It’s hard not to smile when looking at Suzanne Adan’s “Flying Colors,” especially since it reminds me so much of Mad magazine’s Spy vs. Spy (in this case, the spies are birds made of glass mosaic). “Flying Colors” measures 12 feet by 18 feet and features a circular pattern of birds and tules (cattails) that can be viewed from any angle. Adan’s ceramic tile murals can also be found locally at Jacinto Creek Park; the East End Project Child Care Facility; the Courtyard of the University of California, Davis Medical Center; and in Folsom at the Natoma Station. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University, Sacramento, and has taught for the San Juan Unified School District and American River College.
Joan Moment’s 18-foot by 12-foot mosaic, “A Fragment of the Universe,” evokes thoughts of water, air, planets, and bubbles, not to mention crop circles. The design’s color palette includes cobalt blues, pale blues, yellowish-greens, orange, magenta and white, all crafted from glass tessera. Moment’s work can also be found in the collections of the Oakland Museum; The Crocker Art Museum; and The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, Ohio.
“The Baggage Handlers” by Christian Moeller is an intriguing work that offers beauty both from afar and breathtaking detail from up close. The faces of six airport workers (three per each of two 75-foot by 12-foot panel) are made of over 4,000 strips of individually cut wood, with no two pieces alike. Moeller’s work has also been shown in Tokyo, London, Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, London, New York City, and Seattle.
Ask anyone about the art on display at Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B, and chances are they’ll tell you about a giant red rabbit. While some may think that a rabbit does not depict Sacramento accurately (to which I say, what do you want instead–a stray cat?), there’s no arguing the impressiveness of this piece by Lawrence Argent. The 56-foot by 19-foot rabbit is crafted from aluminum and suspended by near-invisible cables. The suitcase, replete with liquid vortex, is modeled after a real piece of luggage complete with cast bronze fasteners and integrated into, as opposed to on, the floor. From the floor of the baggage claim area to the ceiling of the airport, “Leap” offers beauty and humor. Argent’s work can also be found at The Denver Convention Center; the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Missouri; and The Holocaust Memorial at The University of Denver.