Appreciating Art at the Oakland Airport

31 Jul

If you want to appreciate art, you might think to go to a museum or walk through neighborhoods to find public art. But you probably wouldn’t think to go to the Oakland airport. And I probably wouldn’t have thought about it much either, except that last Thursday I was stuck at the airport for eight hours. I had a few options: I could freak out at the airline employees (which many others did), I could hang out at the bars drinking Bloody Marys (which I did), or I could wander around the airport somewhat aimlessly (which I ultimately did).

As I wandered, I got a chance to truly appreciate some of the beautiful artwork and natural beauty I had quickly walked by on previous airport trips. There are of course lovely views of the bay (excuse the glare – I was taking pictures on my phone):

And the glass mural of cranes – Going Away, Coming Home – which makes me smile every time:

Then I stumbled onto the Oakland Museum of California’s exhibition – Artists as Collectors. It’s really neat and various parts of it are spread out throughout the terminals:

The exhibit features interesting collections of mundane objects that become art when displayed together as a collection. Like these blenders:

Ceramics and tea pots:

And my personal favorite, the collection of hats:

I wouldn’t recommend going to the airport just to see these collections, but if you travel much, chances are that one of your upcoming flights will be severely delayed (it’s typical now with all the airlines in crisis). So instead of freaking out at the airline employees, grab your self a drink and take a stroll around the airport to appreciate some uniquely artistic collections.

2 Responses to “Appreciating Art at the Oakland Airport”

  1. MoonSinger August 1, 2008 at 5:28 pm #

    I’m glad you included the cranes! My family recently enjoyed them while waiting for our plane to leave. We got to speculate about turning a minus (runny paint) into a feature. And figuring out exactly where the maps showed was fun.

    We had allowed extra time for the customary TSA extra search and didn’t have one for a change. So more time for art.

    The press pictures at the Oakland Museum website are worth seeing.

  2. mikl-em August 2, 2008 at 12:20 pm #

    Both the Oakland Airport and SFO do a great job at showing with displays of art and design. Oakland has had displays curated by 21 Grand Gallery ( ) and Crucible ( ) as well, which is fantastic to let some of the indie arts voices in town have a chance to curate for a larger slice of the general public.

    It’s a shame though because in our post-9/11 world these art space are all trapped behind security lines so they are mostly seen by travelers with little time that aren’t really inclined to pause and linger. If we still had a world where your family & friends showed up early to meet you at the gate, and could browse through the art while they are waiting then all this detailed and wonderful work would be better appreciated.

    So for now it’s a fantastic resource that hopefully makes the world a bit brighter for a handful of layover-victims and is appreciated in a blur of ‘wow I kinda wish I had time but I can’t wait to get home’ by most folks that see it. Though folks like you taking the time to take pix and blog about certainly helps a bit. 🙂

    Thanks for posting it!

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