Tag Archives: Oakland airport

Appreciating Art at the Oakland Airport Part 3

8 Jan

I had never intended for this to become a series, but I can’t help sharing the beautiful art on display at the Oakland Airport. It was extremely quiet and quick at the airport yesterday, so quiet that I could distinctly hear the chirping of birds while I walked from the bus to the terminal. I flew through the security line and had tons of time to kill. So I stopped and snapped some photos, and with the wonders of wi-fi at the airport and plenty of outlets, I typed most of this while waiting for my flight to LA.

The current display features handmade guitars and other string instruments. Here’s a Picasso Cubist ukulele by Peter Hurney:

The Soprano “pineapple” ukulele by Tony Graziano:

The Harmony Aero ukulele by Peter Hurney:

And this is the Nouveau guitar by Larry Robinson:

Then, there were photos of how one artist, Eric Schmidt, makes his guitars. Here’s him placing the tiles:

And the curvy interior of the guitar:

The pictures don’t really do these instruments justice, so if you’re in terminal 2 anytime soon, I recommend stopping to check out this exhibit.

My growing gratitude for Oakland art

26 Nov

There are so many reasons that I’m grateful to live in Oakland that I couldn’t possibly list all of them in a blog post. Luckily, V Smoothe covered many reasons that overlap with mine (especially AC Transit and all the great farmer’s markets). But there’s one thing that I’ve grown an appreciation for over the past couple of years that surprises me a bit – Oakland art.

Growing up, art was never one of my passions. Sure, I liked seeing art and went to plenty of art museums, probably since my parents are nearly obsessed with museums and have been to so many more museums throughout this country than I can even fathom. But art rarely was at the top of my list. Writing, music, hiking, and, later on, politics beat out art any day.

But that’s started to change. Maybe it’s because of all the incredible Oakland art I’ve seen at Burning Man and the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival, or because of the art I’ve appreciated at the Art Murmur, or because of all the time I’ve spent sipping chai at Awaken looking at the art on the walls, or because of the fight for public art instead of a surface parking lot in Uptown. Whatever it is, I now can’t seem to get enough of art and feel incredibly grateful that Oakland fulfills this need both through public art and excellent art galleries…

And, of course, through the airport. I lamented a couple months back that there was no more art at the Oakland Airport, but at least one new exhibit opened recently and I got a chance to check it out on Monday. Here’s some of what I saw.

(Yes, that is San Francisco made of Jello. Excuse the glare – you’ll have to check it out for yourself.)

Happy Thanksgiving, and if you’re flying back to Oakland after the holiday, remember to check out some of the art at the airport.

Bringing the playa to Oakland’s runway

28 Jul

I have several heavy, substantive posts that I really want to get to this week, but those will have to wait until at least tomorrow. I didn’t think I’d get to write anything this evening because of the long council meeting, but you’re in luck, since they’re discussing the Army Base yet again, and I doubt there’s anything new that can be said. I just hope they make a decision tonight. (But if you do want to hear more about the Army Base, check out the entertaining tweets from V Smoothe and dto510.)

So while I have the meeting on mute (one of the joys of watching from home instead of at City Hall), I thought I’d discuss a not so heavy topic. Last Wednesday, I went to the Oakland Airport to fly to LA. As you might know from my previous posts on this subject, one of my favorite features of the Southwest terminal is the art. Unless I’m rushing to catch a flight, I usually walk slowly through the terminal and stop to look more closely at the most interesting art.

I had plenty of time last week so as I walked past the Pyramid bar, I looked to my left to see if a new exhibit had been installed. To my dismay, the wall was entirely empty! At first, I thought hopefully that maybe they were in between exhibits, and by the time I returned in August for another flight, they’d surely have some new art up.

But over the past week, I’ve thought about it some more and have become less hopeful. Maybe the Oakland Museum of California no longer has the funding for the exhibits. Or maybe the Oakland Museum can’t maintain an exhibit during its renovation, which will close the museum from August 23rd through May 2010. Or maybe the Port thinks the Oakland Museum exhibits aren’t good enough so they’re spending half a billion on a fancy exhibit from Paris (ok, ok, that wasn’t a serious thought, but I couldn’t resist).

I looked around online a bit and couldn’t find an explanation so if you have one, I’d love to hear it. But if the Oakland Airport is looking for a new exhibit, I’ve found it:

reno airport bm exhibit

reno airport bm exhibit tickets

The above images, via the Black Rock Arts Foundation blog, depict “From Playa to Runway – The Art of Burning Man,” which air travelers can view at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport through September 14th. This exhibit is full of gorgeous photos and interesting artifacts from Black Rock City. There are also a couple of interactive sculptures featured.

Now it makes tons of sense for this exhibit to be unveiled at Reno’s airport, the closest airport to Burning Man and one through which so many Burners travel. And it makes just as much sense for Oakland to be its second stop because so much Burning Man art is created here and so many Oaklanders attend Burning Man year after year. So if Oakland Airport is looking for its next exhibit, this should be it.

Going Away, Coming Home

12 Aug

Posting’s been a bit light here lately because I’ve been traveling, but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about Oakland. When I was at the Oakland Airport this Friday, I got a chance to take a closer look at Going Away, Coming Home, which I wrote about a couple weeks ago. Also, my girlfriend had her camera with her so she snapped some much better shots than I was able to capture on my cell phone.

I’ve been to dozens of airports, many of which feature art, but I think this piece is my favorite. And the title couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s a really great way to leave the city and to be greeted back home.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who appreciates the work of Hung Liu:

“Going Away, Coming Home,” a major public art installation created by Mills College art professor Hung Liu and installed last year at Oakland International Airport, has been selected as one of 40 “innovative and exciting examples of American public art” included in the Americans for the Arts “2007 Year in Review” award. Chosen from more than 240 public artworks worldwide, Liu’s project will be highlighted in a CD-ROM of images to be released this summer.

It’ll be a while before I’m back at the airport, but when I do return I’ll likely go out of my way to make sure I see this beautiful work of art again (and again, and again).

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.

Love at first sight?

6 May

Last week, I stumbled upon an old post by V Smoothe, at Future Oakland, where she got her start blogging about Oakland before starting Great Expectations, which is now known as A Better Oakland. It was her introductory post, and her story about falling in love with Oakland was too sweet not to share:

I visited a friend here one January, and it was truly love at first sight. On my first day in Oakland, he took me downtown for an all-day walking tour. We rode the bus down Broadway, got off at West Grand. He showed me the Paramount, Uptown (when it was really nothing), City Center, Old Oakland, Chinatown, 17th Street, the Lake Merritt Apartment district, and the financial district. We ate lunch at Le Cheval and ended the day sitting on a bench on Lake Merritt, shaded by the Kaiser Center and staring at Children’s Fairyland. After watching me sit in silence for a long while, my friend nervously asked me if something was wrong. All I could say in response was “I’m moving here.” From my very first day, I knew I belonged here.

I returned to Portland and started saving my money. A year and a half later, I was a proud Oaklander. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was at home. I have lived downtown ever since. I love it here. I can step outside my door and get a bus anywhere in the city. My weekends are spent enjoying the wealth of distinct neighborhoods in Oakland and all they have to offer. Years after moving here, I am still constantly finding new things to enjoy all over the city.

This got me thinking about when I fell in love with Oakland. I can’t say that like V it was love at first sight. I never disliked the city, but it wasn’t until I worked and lived here that I fell in love. And I can’t share a particular moment of realization.

Still, I find myself re-realizing my love for this city over and over again. Yesterday, when I returned from San Diego, I had one of these moments at the Oakland airport. As I moved down the moving walkway from the far end of the Southwest terminal, I looked out the huge window towards the water, glistening in the sun. It felt so good to be home that I just started smiling – I don’t think I could have stopped smiling if I had wanted to. That feeling of seeing Oakland again after being away is incredibly powerful for me.

It’s a similar feeling to being at a concert and hearing the band play the first few notes of one of your favorite songs. You haven’t even heard the best part, but still, you feel deeply satisfied – it becomes a physical feeling, in addition to an emotional feeling. That’s how I feel pretty much every time I look out that window at the airport upon returning, or when I exit the BART tunnel on the Oakland side and see the shipping cranes.

So no, it wasn’t love at first sight for me, but I’m still in love with this city and am constantly reminded of this. I’m curious to know – was your love for Oakland immediate, or did it take a bit of time to grow on you?