Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) has commissioned two local artists, Adam Kuby and Patrick Marold, to create an exhibition as part of its terminal modernization program (TMP).
The exhibition is set to open in 2025 and will reflect Pittsburgh’s steel-making history. The artwork incorporates four 6-12m-tall cylinders, the ‘open columns’, to represent Pittsburgh’s emblematic smokestacks and ‘cross currents’. Highlighting the pedestrian walkways surrounding the multi-modal complex, visitors will be able to interact with the installations by stepping inside each column and experiencing the reflective interior. The polished metal interior aims to catch the sunlight, presenting a stark contrast to the oxidized exterior. Twenty-one unique patterns have been scored into the surface of the terminal’s walls to provide texture and visual character.
Several other artists have been commissioned to develop concepts and create original work for various areas inside the new terminal. The art commissioned for the TMP is an extension of the airport’s arts and culture program, which was devised to host artists in residence, participate in industry-wide virtual concerts and give local creatives a platform for their work.
Both Kuby and Marold have experience with large-scale public art, which is part of what brought them to the Pittsburgh project. Marold has done work for airports in Denver, Dallas and Fort Lauderdale, but this is Kuby’s first time creating in an airport setting.
Kuby said, “I was trying to bring a sense of the region’s geography, geology and topography and hopefully ground the roads and bridges into the landscape. This was to tie them a little more closely to the land that they’re actually occupying.”
Marold said, “There’s this very rich history that newer industries are building on to redefine Pittsburgh. It’s a great city that way. It’s not being wiped clean, it’s being built from within and that’s really exciting and beautiful to see.”
Renee Piechocki, TMP art and design consultant and a member of PIT’s Art in the Airport committee, commented, “It was important for the Allegheny County Airport Authority to find the right mix of creative minds to achieve the TMP’s artistic goals.”
Keny Marshall, arts and culture manager at PIT, added, “Art is an immediate way for people traveling through the airport to connect with their environment and our creative community. So many great conversations about our airport, the art collection and how we fit into the creative community start right here. Our program creates a place where everyone can collectively appreciate and interact with our region and the world around them.”