A Piece of Old New York

In 1959, Brazilian artist Carybé was commissioned to paint two 50-foot-long murals in the American Airlines terminal at Idlewild Airport (which became JFK) in New York. But when the terminal outlasted its usefulness, officials planned to demolish the half-century-old murals. After all, they were in pretty bad shape and had been painted directly onto the building. Who would pay to have them removed, restored, and transported?

Probably no one if it hadn’t been for a JFK skycap named Darren Hoggard, who loved the murals so much he made a point of discussing their impending destruction with every traveler he encountered. Eventually, he told a Brazilian woman who passed the news to Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction firm working with Miami International Airport. And the company took action. After American Airlines agreed to donate the murals, Odebrecht paid to have them cut off the JFK terminal in huge sheets, restored in New York City, and then transported and hung at MIA. A private unveiling was held June 25, but now any art nut can go to the pre-screening area at the new South Terminal on the third-level international greeters lobby and take a good look at the two modernist classics. What else are you going to do on a sweltering Miami Monday?
Mon., July 6, 2009
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P. Scott Cunningham