LAX's Secret Kunsthalle Surveys Light & Space

Installation view, "Luminaries of Light and Space." Photo by SKA Studios LLC, courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports
The art program at Los Angeles International Airport's Tom Bradley International Terminal is presenting a display of Light and Space art that soars above the usual banalities of art-in-airports. With many of the big names of the pivotal L.A. movement, it's a capsule art history. How often do you see that in an airport?

LAX's art program is not much publicized. The last thing they want is to attract artsy civilians to an overcrowded airport. The display is behind the security checkpoint, limiting access is to international travelers with tickets. 
Photo by SKA Studios LLC
Curated by Laura Whitcomb, "Luminaries of Light and Space" is a single, 60-ft vitrine presenting smaller though choice works by Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Gisela Colón, Laddie John Dill, Fred Eversley, Robert Irwin, John McCracken, Helen Pashgian, Hap Tivey, and De Wain Valentine. The chronology runs from 1967 to 2021, skewing towards late works of long careers. All the objects are sourced from galleries, the artists, and private collections. 

"Luminaries of Light and Space" is in the middle of a three-year run, through Nov. 15, 2025. If you're traveling internationally, budget a little extra time to take it in.
Helen Pashgian, untitled, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin. Photo by SKA Studios LLC
Hap Tivey, Flame, 2021. Courtesy of the artist


I am fully pro-art in public spaces, particularly concourses. The audiences are often captured and non-traditional.
The finest collection I've seen is in Albany, NY. The Empire State Plaza Art Collection is located sprawled along the 1/4-mile underground concourse, buildings, and outdoor areas at the state’s government complex.
Per Wiki, "the Collection includes 92 large-scale paintings, sculptures, and tapestries. Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, has termed the plaza's display of American art "the most important State collection of modern art in the country."
Further, per Wiki: "There are 92 works created between 1952 and 1973 by 63 artists, [mainly of the New York School] . Of these, 16 pieces are site-specific commissions. Artistic styles range from Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism, Pop Art and Op Art. Thus, the Collection is "an encyclopedia of abstraction as practiced in the sixties."
Many locals who love art tire of NYC venues, but we are energized by the many nearby, stellar attractions.
Visitors who are over Manhattan/Brooklyn should consider plan a driving tour of the Hudson River Valley, north from the George Washington Bridge:
=Storm King Mountain Art Center is a sculpture lover's paradise.
=DIA Beacon is a re-tooled Nabisco factory on the banks of the Hudson. With 160,000 sq ft, it is one of the largest exhibition spaces in the country for modern and contemporary art.
=Vassar College's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center has one of the finest art collections among small colleges in the US.
=Hyde Park/FDR Library
=The Culinary Institute of America, serving haute cuisine dinners at discount prices.
=Olana, the magnificent home of artist Frederick Church.
=Albany. In addition to the Empire State Plaza Art Collection, the Albany Institute of Art holds a vast collection of beautiful Hudson River School paintings--not the giant-size ones, like we see at the Met, but intimate-size and masterly oil sketches and finished paintings. Very satisfying.