We — and possibly you, too — are a big fan of large coffee-table art books by the likes of publishers Taschen, Phaidon and Rizzoli, to name but a few. Among our favorite stack of these large tomes is a book by a lesser-known German publisher. It’s a book of photographs by the artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss titled “800 Views of Airports.” And that’s exactly what you get, literally 800 photos taken in airports by the artists over several decades of international air travel. There’s no accompanying text, no explanations, no captions. Just photographs of airports, airplanes, tarmac vehicles, control towers and views looking out of windows from air-terminal boarding lounges around the globe. The book is a mesmerizing document of the airport’s cultural landscape. For those who have traveled widely and often by air, the images in this book may feel in their own way comforting.
“Clear Air Turbulence” is Hong Kong-based British artist Simon Birch’s monumental sculptural installation at his “14th Factory” exhibition in Los Angeles. The artwork is a rectangular black pool planted with the wings and tail fins salvaged from various old airplanes parked out in the Mojave desert at the so-called “airplane graveyard.” At first glance, these aircraft parts appear like the fins of giant sharks or whales lurking just beneath the surface of the water.
Photographer Mike Kelley photographed airplanes taking off from airports around the world and then composited the images to provide a visualization of all the various airlines and takeoffs. Kelley calls these “Airportraits.” You can view more of these images on his website. The image of LAX above was used for the front cover photo of Nicholas Felton’s recent data-visualization book “PhotoViz.”
We love this book of photographs by the renowned Swiss artist duo of Peter Fischli and David Weiss. “800 Views of Airports” is precisely that: A collection photos taken by Fischli and Weiss at airports visited on travels around the world throughout their decades-long career. The volume is the definition of coffee-table book. “800 Views” is textless. There are no captions, no labels, nothing to indicate where and when the photos was taken. This curatorial, editorial concision gives the hefty tome some mystique and only adds to its beauty. For the well-traveled, many of the airports may be easily identifiable — Tokyo Narita, JFK, London Heathrow, Schipol, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Malpensa — though there are a bunch of photos taken at an airfield that few would recognize, a place where de-commissioned commercial aircraft are put out to pasture.