There Is a Low-Key Light and Space Exhibition at LAX Airport

Amid the bustle of the Los Angeles International Airport, travelers can’t be faulted for missing an exhibition of works by the region’s most prominent artists. “Luminaries of Light & Space” celebrates the loose group of West Coast artists who, beginning in the 1960s, sought to expand perceptual experiences through light, color, and volume.

On view since 2022, the show features works by artists including Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Gisela Colón, Laddie John Dill, Fred Eversley, John McCracken, Helen Pashgian, Hap Tivey, and DeWain Valentine. A singular highlight is (2016), one of the last projects by the late Robert Irwin, an installation of his signature fluorescent lights.

Robert Irwin, Light + Shadow + Reflection + Color (#3 x 6’ D Four Fold) (2016). Photo: SKA Studios, LLC, courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports.

For Laura Whitcomb, who curated the show, LAX serves as a fitting venue for the show because of the ties between Light and Space artists and the aerospace industry. Eversley, Bell, Tivey, Dill, Colón, and Turrell were all children of chemists, physicists, and aerospace designers.

Peter Alexander, Pyramid (1969). Photo: SKA Studios, LLC, courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports.

“While the artists of the Light & Space Movement explored innovations of materiality forged by the aerospace industry in the 20th century, this installation extends the story of the movement into a new generation of creatives using sustainable materials and renewable energy,” reads the exhibition’s description.

Hap Tivey, Flame (2021). Photo: SKA Studios, LLC, courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports.

The show was scheduled to run through November 2025, but plans are underway to extend it ahead of the 2028 Olympics, set to be held in L.A. It’s the first cultural installment of “many” planned to enhance flying experience at LAX ahead of the Olympics.

In fact, at the center of the exhibition is a commission titled by Hap Tivey, which already echoes the Olympic flame that traditionally opens every iteration of the games. Whitcomb called it the “stabilizing anchor” of the show, “signifying the center of a futuristic altar where all faiths come together through the language of geometry.”

Installation view of “Luminaries in Light and Space.” Photo: SKA Studios, LLC, courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports.

Investing in public art is a big boon for airports. In fact, in a document from the Airports Council International notes that such dedication to public art can be seeded by local ordinances requiring a certain percentage of construction budget to be dedicated to art.

According to Whitcomb, “millions of passengers” have already seen the works on view in the 60-foot-long installation, which is presented with an auditory component produced by Dublab called Orchestrina, featuring 30 L.A. composers.

“By presenting Light & Space on a global stage, the installation underscores Los Angeles’s commitment to showcasing local artistic achievements to a worldwide audience,” Whitcomb said.

Source: Exhibition -


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