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LaGuardia Airport to become new home to Lincoln Center work of art

A famed piece of art from Lincoln Center will be moved to LaGuardia Airport's new Central Hall. (Photo via Flickr)

A piece of public art, long familiar to crowds at Lincoln Center, has found a new home at LaGuardia Airport. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the world-renowned sculpture, “Orpheus and Apollo,” will be relocated to the new LaGuardia Airport’s Central Hall.

The work by sculptor Richard Lippold was installed in 1962 in the Grand Promenade of Philharmonic Hall and later Avery Fisher Hall, later known as David Geffen Hall. Originally a gift from the Ittleson Foundation, the sculpture is made up of Muntz metal bars individually suspended by steel cables.

“The new LaGuardia Airport will give travelers a world-class experience reflective of what New York is all about, and as our state is the premier cultural destination, we want to make sure our airports live up to our reputation,” Cuomo said. “This agreement will give ‘Orpheus and Apollo’ a new and permanent home where it will be enjoyed by millions of New Yorkers and travelers each year.”

Last year, Lincoln Center announced that “Orpheus and Apollo” would not be returned to David Geffen Hall due to modifications to accommodate an expanded program of artistic performances, community programming and other events. When Paul Goldenberger, the architecture critic who served as an adviser to both the Port Authority on its LaGuardia redevelopment plan and to Lincoln Center in its planned renovation of David Geffen Hall, learned that the plans for the hall would preclude the reinstallation of the sculpture in its original location, he suggested moving it to the airport.

Officials agreed that the 5-ton work of art would be transferred to the Port Authority for display at the new LaGuardia Airport’s Central Hal, due to open in 2022.

“It’s almost unheard-of that a piece of great public art gets a chance at a second life in a new location that is so well-suited to the piece,” Goldenberger said. “I believe that ‘Orpheus and Apollo’ will be as compelling and beautiful a presence in the Central Hall at LaGuardia as it was at Lincoln Center. The sculpture will be seen by even more people than before, and it will be the focal point of the grand public space of the Central Hall, being developed as the ‘living room’ of the new LaGuardia.”

The sculpture will join a slate of public artworks commissioned for LaGuardia’s new Terminal B and unveiled in 2020, including pieces by Sarah Sze, Laura Owens, Jeppe Hein and Sabine Hornig, and the new “Aquatique Show,” a dynamic water and light sculpture located in Terminal B’s central shopping district.

“The addition of ‘Orpheus and Apollo’ to the new LaGuardia Airport is an important part of our effort to create a 21st-century airport with a 21st-century customer experience across the region,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said. “Showcasing Richard Lippold’s masterpiece in the light-filled Central Hall will engage and inspire the millions of travelers coming through LaGuardia Airport every year.”

“Orpheus and Apollo” evoke figures of two Greek Gods: Apollo, the god of music; and Orpheus, the musician and poet who attempted to summon his wife back from the underworld with music and song.

“Governor Cuomo’s vision for LaGuardia has always aspired to include world-class facilities that incorporate world-class civic architecture and inspiring art to enhance the travel experience,” Post Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said.”We are pleased that we can give the renowned Orpheus and Apollo a new home in a magnificent new public space at LaGuardia, where it can continue to inspire and entertain generations to come.”

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