Art and Aviation
The Mecca of Aviation, the National Air & Space Museum, has major sculptures outside of both of their locations. It has a large art collection, in recognition that flight literally draws beauty and inspires artists. Below are three dimensions of intersection between our profession and the expressive craft.
The first example is of musicians using a B-747 to spread their art around the world (note: some of the readers may equate this group’s songs as close of aircraft engine noise; others may be among their legions of fans!!) tour, visiting 36 countries over five months. Iron Maiden’s “Book of Soul’s Tour” has been facilitated by its leasing of a B-747-400. Bruce Dickinson, front man for the group, is also a pilot qualified to fly “Ed Force One”. The big plane is needed so that the band, its crew, its groupies (60 people) can get around quickly and to move 20 tons of concert equipment.
Ed Force One’s engines were severely damaged on the ground. Boeing, LAN Chile, ACS (Air Atlanta Icelandic) and Rock It Cargo swiftly responded and repaired the engines. “The speed and thoroughness of this incredibly complex operation was stunning, and we are so very pleased to get our plane back!” said Bruce Dickinson. Back to the beauty in aviation theme, while the repairs were being done, artists were able to create and apply new “Eddie the Head” decals on the tail. Art?
Next and perhaps a bit more along the traditional forms of art, the airports of the world have included fine “objets d’art” in their terminals for their passengers/customers’ appreciation. According to this article by an art correspondent, some of the best include:
- Charles De Gaulle Airport has sponsored “Espace Musees”, since December 2012
- The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has a permanent annex in Schiphol Airport
- Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
- Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, which has the Cultural Museum of Korea in its Transfer Lounge
- Singapore’s Changi Airport
Here are her prime examples of high art in airports:
“This sound-sensitive installation by Bengaluru-based Indo-Danish artist duo Pors & Ra uses mechanical animation. When the space becomes quiet, little mechanical beings slowly creep out from behind white boxes to explore the place and people around them.”
This Beauty is intended to relax the travelers as they flow through what may otherwise be a stressful experience.
The third dimension of this art exposition reflects art as a remembrance of the past. The Oshkosh, WI’s EAA museum Eagle Hangar, which is a permanent exhibit to honor the people and aircraft of World War II, now temporarily exhibits 30 pieces of nose art from the Commemorative Air Force collection. Bob Campbell, director of the EAA AirVenture Museum, explained this unique collection:
“This collection is simply incredible; there’s no other way to put it…We’re honored to be the first museum chosen by the CAF to receive this priceless collection on loan. It tells a unique story of the common soldier and airman during World War II, how this artwork was created, what it meant to these young men mostly between 18 and 25 years old, and the individual tales of these aircraft that returned along with those that didn’t.”
These images are evocative of a different and incredibly stressful time [EAA included the following cautionary note—“Parental notice: This gallery contains historical images of aviation nose art that parents may find unsuitable for younger children.”]:
As some famous critic probably said, “to each his own.”