Reinventing Art Collection in Airports

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This paper offers a brief history on the shifting nature of art programs at JFK International Airport. By focusing on pivotal artworks and architecture, it reveals the contingent art collecting process of the Port Authority in relation to the development of public art policy and discourse in New York City. It shows how the status and meaning of artwork and architecture have changed and been reinvented at JFK International over the postwar years as its terminal buildings are renovated and new management structures are introduced. Because of the complexity and difficulty of sustaining an art program in the airport, the author has relied on the writings of Mary Follett, a social worker and a pioneer of organizational theory, to encourage greater collaboration between the airport and its art community.