ART OF THE AIRPORT TOWER
Orlando, FL – March 2019
As a Smithsonian Affiliate, The Mennello Museum of American Art is proud to partner with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in the presentation of the exhibition Art of the Airport Tower at Terrace Gallery, City Hall through April 19, 2019.
Celebrating beautiful photography of airport towers across the globe, Carolyn Russo’s work expands our understanding of architecture form and function, including Orlando International Airport.
Free and open to the public at City Hall, first floor.
New Views on Airport Form and Function featured in Smithsonian Photography Exhibition “Art of the Airport Tower”
Showcased at City of Orlando’s Terrace Gallery at City Hall
Touring Smithsonian Exhibition Provides New Views on Airport Form and Function. “Art of the Airport Tower” opens at the City of Orlando’s Terrace Gallery at City Hall. The exhibition is composed of 50 photographs by Smithsonian photographer Carolyn Russo and explores the varied forms and functions of airport traffic control towers in the U.S. and around the world. The exhibit is on view beginning February 4 and will remain on display at Orlando City Hall until April 19, 2019.
Russo traveled to 85 airports in 23 countries to capture images of these towers. The resulting photos interpret them as monumental abstractions, symbols of cultural expression and testimonies of technological change. What started out as a strictly functional structure, the airport tower has become a symbol of its airport, its community and even its country. Visitors to the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in Sweden, for example, are greeted by two lookout points perched like birds at the top of the control tower to evoke protective ravens from Nordic mythology, while the crescent-shaped tower at the Abu Dhabi International Airport resembles the sail of a dhow boat to emphasize the area’s proud maritime heritage.
“Airport traffic control towers have a powerful presence—they watch over the vastness of the airport and sky, are a nonjudgmental cultural greeter, a choreographer or conductor of the aircraft dance, a mother bird caring for her flock and an omniscient, intelligent structure keeping humans safe,” said Russo. “I saw them as the unsung heroes of the airport landscape and tried to elevate them beyond their height and amazing architecture.”
Russo attempted to humanize the contemporary towers by focusing on their anthropomorphic properties, while others became abstractions. The photos of the historic, inactive airport towers were captured in their natural state, as witnesses to aviation history. They tell the story of changing technology, design and architecture, making the case for their continued care and preservation.
The exhibition is sponsored by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Air Traffic Control Association, Harris Corp., Rockwell Collins, Saab and Thales. Epson America Inc. and Manfrotto provided in-kind support.
A companion book, Art of the Airport Tower, published by Smithsonian Books, is for sale online and wherever books are sold. It includes 100 photos by Carolyn Russo and an introduction by F. Robert van der Linden, curator of commercial aviation at the National Air and Space Museum, and tells the history of airport traffic control towers to contextualize the photos.
“Art of the Airport Tower” premiered at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. from November 2015 through November 2016. The National Air and Space Museum, composed of the flagship building on the National Mall in Washington and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., is home to the world’s finest collection of flight artifacts. From aircraft and space vehicles to engines, art and models, the wide array of the museum’s holdings tells the story of the history and technology of air and space exploration. The museum is also a key resource for research into the history, science and technology of aviation and space flight. The exhibition is on tour December 2017 through January 2020. For more information about the exhibition, visit airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/airport-towers.
Orlando support is provided by the City of Orlando’s Public Art Advisory Board.
The exhibit is in conjunction with the A View from the Top: Orlando International Airport exhibition in the Mayor’s Gallery at Orlando City Hall. The exhibit features photographs from the collection of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s archives. The photos consist of images taken from the Orlando International Airport over the last 4 decades. From the interiors of the airport and the first Airport Tower, to present day including Orlando’s current airport tower and the recent expansion that will join travelers making their way through the City of Orlando via train, bus or automobile.
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About the Mennello Museum of American Art
The Mennello Museum of American Art, owned and operated by the City of Orlando, is located on the beautiful shore of Lake Formosa in Orlando’s Loch Haven Cultural Park. The museum provides residents and visitors welcoming opportunities to understand and value creativity through innovative experiences with art further connecting it to nature and communal gathering. Our goal is to encourage creative and diverse experiences with art that nurtures audiences while reflecting the dynamic relationship between art and society. In addition to housing the permanent collection of folk modernist Earl Cunningham, the museum presents temporary exhibitions that feature a broad range of American art from traditional to contemporary practices.
On view through May 13, 2018:
The Unbridled Paintings of Lawrence H. Lebduska
View all of our upcoming events: www.mennellomuseum.org/events
The Mennello Museum is located at 900 E. Princeton Street, Orlando, FL 32803.
The Mennello Museum of American Art and its exhibitions are generously supported by the City of Orlando and Friends of The Mennello Museum of American Art. Additional funding is provided by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program and United Arts of Central Florida. Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.
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