'Orpheus and Apollo' Will Soar Once More in the
New LaGuardia's Central Hall
Lincoln Center and Port Authority Agreement Will Install One of the City's Cherished Artworks at the Gleaming New $8 Billion Airport
Sculptor Richard Lippold's Masterpiece Will be Viewed by Tens of Millions of Travelers Every Year
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an agreement between Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to relocate the world-renowned sculpture, Orpheus and Apollo, to the new LaGuardia Airport's Central Hall. Orpheus and Apollo, the work of New York sculptor Richard Lippold, was installed in 1962 in the Grand Promenade of David Geffen Hall, then called Philharmonic Hall and later Avery Fisher Hall. Originally a gift from the Ittleson Foundation, the sculpture is made up of Muntz metal bars individually suspended by steel cables.
"The new LaGuardia Airport will give travelers a world-class experience reflective of what New York is all about, and as our state is a premier cultural destination, we want to make sure our airports live up to our reputation," Governor Cuomo said. "This agreement will give Orpheus and Apollo a new and permanent home where it will be enjoyed by millions of New Yorkers and travelers each year."
Last year, Lincoln Center announced that Orpheus and Apollo would not be returned to David Geffen Hall due to modifications in the Hall to accommodate an expanded program of artistic performances, community programming and other events. When Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic who served as an advisor to both the Port Authority on its LaGuardia redevelopment plan and to Lincoln Center in its planned renovation of David Geffen Hall, learned that the plans for the hall would preclude the re-installation of the sculpture in its original location, he suggested moving it to the airport. After consultation with the Lippold Foundation, Governor Cuomo, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Lincoln Center officials came together and agreed that the 5-ton work of art would be transferred to the Port Authority for display at the new LaGuardia Airport's Central Hall, due to open in 2022.
The new Central Hall of LaGuardia Airport will be a fitting home for Orpheus and Apollo. Much like the Grand Promenade at David Geffen Hall, LaGuardia Airport's Central Hall is well-suited to the lines and the shape of the sculpture, offering a variety of vistas and perspectives of the piece. It is expected to also be visible both day and night from the Grand Central Parkway and from the approach ramps to the airport, beckoning visitors toward the new terminal.
The reimagination of David Geffen Hall will transform the theatre and all public spaces, enhancing the concertgoing experience, fostering a sense of community, and creating bold and innovative ways to connect with the world outside. Opening in Fall 2022, the project will support 6,000 jobs throughout the City and State, have a minimum 30 percent construction participation by Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises, 40 percent workforce inclusion, and incorporates a workforce development program established with area officials and community members to create additional job opportunities for local residents.
Richard Lippold's masterpiece will join a slate of monumental public artworks commissioned for LaGuardia's new Terminal B and unveiled in June 2020, including pieces by Sarah Sze, Laura Owens, Jeppe Hein and Sabine Hornig, and the new Aquatique Show, a dynamic water and light sculpture, unveiled in November 2020 in Terminal B's central shopping district.
Lippold, an industrial designer turned artist, was one of the nation's most prominent sculptors during the post-war era. His many works include "Flight" at the former Pan Am Building, now the Met Life Building in midtown Manhattan; a pair of sculptures commissioned for the Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram Building, also in Manhattan, and "Ad Astra" outside the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Orpheus and Apollo evokes figures of two Greek Gods - Apollo, the god of music, and Orpheus, the musician and poet who attempted to summon his wife back from the underworld with music and song.
In a profile of Lippold in The New Yorker in 1963, the writer Calvin Tomkins referred to the artist, who specialized in creating artworks for major public buildings, as "by far the busiest artist now working predominantly in collaboration with architects." John Canaday of The New York Times hailed the shimmering quality of his work as having a "phenomenal elegance." Lippold, who was born in Milwaukee in 1915 and died in 2002, was a long-time resident of Long Island. He was a professor at Hunter College from 1952 to 1967.
Kevin O'Toole, Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said, "The addition of Orpheus and Apollo to the New LaGuardia Airport is an important part of our effort to create a 21st century airport with a 21st century customer experience across the region. Showcasing Richard Lippold's masterpiece in the light-filled Central Hall will engage and inspire the millions of travelers coming through LaGuardia Airport every year."
Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said, "Governor Cuomo's vision for LaGuardia has always aspired to include world-class facilities that incorporate world-class civic architecture and inspiring art to enhance the travel experience. We are pleased that we can give the renowned Orpheus and Apollo a new home in a magnificent new public space at LaGuardia, where it can continue to inspire and entertain generations to come."
Katherine Farley, Chair of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts said, "Our connection to the arts is core to what makes New York City great. We are so pleased this beautiful sculpture has found a home where it will be enjoyed by millions each year."
Paul Goldberger, architecture critic and advisor to Lincoln Center and the Port Authority, said, "It's almost unheard-of that a piece of great public art gets a chance at a second life in a new location that is so well-suited to the piece. I believe that Orpheus and Apollo will be as compelling and beautiful a presence in the Central Hall at LaGuardia as it was at Lincoln Center. The sculpture will be seen by even more people than before, and it will be the focal point of the grand public space of the Central Hall, being developed as the "living room" of the new LaGuardia."
Transition of the Sculpture and Timeline
With the agreement in place to transfer Orpheus and Apollo from Lincoln Center to the Port Authority, restoration of the sculpture will be led by Lincoln Center and noted conservationist Marc Roussel. Once restored, it will be transferred to the Central Hall at LaGuardia Airport for installation in its new location in advance of its anticipated completion in 2022.
The restoration and installation of Orpheus and Apollo will be overseen by a team of individuals and organizations with extensive experience in Lippold's work. Art conservator Marc Roussel, who disassembled the sculpture from its original home at Lincoln Center, will restore the piece and assist in its installation with additional technical advice provided through consultation with the Preservation League of New York State and Landmark West!; Alberto Quartaroli, representing the Lippold Foundation, will serve as an advisor in the project; renowned lighting designer Fisher Marantz Stone will design lighting for the sculpture at the Central Hall; structural engineers Thornton-Tomasetti will use art modelling technology to carefully "fit" the piece into the Central Hall while respecting its original composition; and Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic Paul Goldberger will serve as project adviser.
LaGuardia Redevelopment Plan: A Whole New LGA
In 2015, Governor Cuomo first unveiled his vision for the comprehensive redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport. Under his plan, a whole new LGA will provide a world-class, 21st century passenger experience featuring modern customer amenities, state-of-the-art architecture, more spacious gate areas and a unified terminal system. The $8 billion project, two-thirds of which is funded through private financing and existing passenger fees, broke ground four years ago in 2016.
In February 2018, the new Terminal B parking garage opened with over 3,000 spaces and a dedicated level for Uber, Lyft and other for-hire car services. In December 2018, the first of 18 new gates and the first new concourse in Terminal B opened. In October 2019, the Governor opened the first new concourse and seven new gates at Delta Air Lines' new Terminal C, now under construction, on the eastern side of the airport. In June 2020, the Governor opened the new Arrivals and Departures Hall at Terminal B. A modern arrivals and departures hall at Terminal C will open in 2022 with the phased opening of three additional concourses. And in August 2020, the first phase of a second new concourse at Terminal B opened.
Also in October 2019, the Port Authority's Board of Commissioners formally authorized the funding needed, pending completion of the Federal Aviation Administration's independent environmental review, to develop the new AirTrain LGA. With Governor Cuomo's key support, the long-awaited AirTrain LGA is on track to take its place at a new world-class LaGuardia Airport that will no longer be the only major East Coast airport without a rail link. AirTrain LGA would connect the airport with a new station at Willets Point and get travelers out of their cars and steadily reduce traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
Last fall, the FAA issued its preliminary approval of the project and held a 60-day public comment period. During those 60 days, a diverse group of individuals and organizations stated public support for AirTrain LGA. These voices represented a wide variety of sectors, including transportation experts, labor, civic and planning groups, environmental advocates, the hotel and tourism industry, minority-owned and women-owned businesses, community organizations, and New York's business community. The FAA issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the project last month, and pending its Record of Decision, construction could commence this summer.
Overall, the LaGuardia project is expected to generate $10 billion in economic activity and $2.5 billion in wages over the life of the project. As of the opening of the new Terminal B arrivals and departures hall, LaGuardia Airport contracts with certified minority and women-owned businesses, or MWBE, have now exceeded $1.6 billion. To date, the project has met Governor Cuomo's goal of 30 percent MWBE participation.
Following Governor Cuomo's vision for A Whole New LGA, the Port Authority is working hand in hand with local elected officials, stakeholders and Queens residents to ensure local businesses, MWBEs and jobseekers take advantage of new opportunities as part of LaGuardia Airport's redevelopment and economic growth. Since the beginning of the project, more than $700 million in contracts was awarded to local businesses based in Queens.
The new unified airport offering the 21st century customer experience New Yorkers deserve is being built while maintaining operations at the existing airport. As new facilities are completed, old facilities are demolished, ensuring the airport never loses capacity.
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