Labovitz’s Vibrant Abstract Art Joins MSP Airport’s Permanent Collection

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Anne Labovitz's Nonrepresentational Work Marks Notable Departure for Arts@MSP

This work is ... about engaging people across cultural and geographical boundaries. I hope this optimism sends travelers onward with a sense of peace and well being.

Two works by Minnesota artist, Anne Labovitz, are the first pieces of nonrepresentational art to be commissioned by Airport Foundation MSP for its permanent art collection.

Designed by Labovitz, Bon Voyage! and Happy Travels! are mosaics fabricated by Miotto Mosaic Art Studios in collaboration with Travisanutto Giovanni SRL. Created using traditional Venetian smalti glass, the mosaics were installed in MSP's Terminal 1 Departures Hall in late February. The vibrant, abstract works represent the artist's examination of color psychology and transformation of public space in contemporary artmaking practice.

“I’m thrilled to see Anne’s paintings masterfully translated into mosaics for this project,” stated Ben Owen. Director, Arts@MSP, Airport Foundation MSP. “The majority of MSP's permanent collection of mosaics is representational, things that you can see in nature and in the rural and urban landscapes of the Upper Midwest. The addition of Labovitz’s work marks a noted departure from that, as we're moving into nonrepresentational art with color, form, and texture being the primary subjects of the works.”

While a new direction for the airport’s permanent collection, two recent temporary installations by Labovitz had already demonstrated the popularity of her abstract style of art.

“In commissioning Labovitz to create pieces for our permanent collection the positive response from both travelers and staff to her two prior installations played a key role in our decision,” explained Owen. “In addition, we were excited about the color and emotive qualities of her work for activating this space. Azure blues may remind you of your favorite swimming hole. Oranges, yellows, hot pinks, and deep purples call to mind memories of the sun as it slips just below the horizon. When travelers are departing Minnesota, we want to leave them with a great lasting impression. Labovitz’s work does that.”

Throughout her career, Labovitz has consistently focused on themes of connectivity, unity and community, but in recent years these messages seem to be resonating with audiences, especially within the world of public art.

“My work interprets feelings of joy, hope and calm, and conveys them through color and shape,” stated Labovitz. “With all the chaos and negativity we’ve witnessed in recent years, I think we’re all thirsty for things that will inspire and uplift our spirit.”

In creating Bon Voyage! and Happy Travels! Labovitz used colors inspired by phrases such as Bon Voyage, Hope You Find What You’re Looking For, Love, Joy, and Happy Travels.

“Color is an incredibly personal experience that affects human emotions,” explained Labovitz. “For me, color is a life force. The saturated colors are intended to enrich your experience and provide a place of joy and calm. The rich, bold Venetian glass mosaic is carefully crafted, hand-cut, and elegantly placed by Italian artisans.

“This work is created to share hope, friendship, and cross-cultural exchange. It’s about engaging people across cultural and geographical boundaries. I hope this optimism sends travelers onward with a sense of peace and well being.”

Bon Voyage! and Happy Travels! are original artworks commissioned by and in the public art collection of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, Minneapolis, Minn. Designed by Labovitz, each mosaic is 115.5 x 120 x 1 inches and constructed of smalti glass cut and assembled by Travisanutto Giovanni SRL in Spilimbergo, Italy in collaboration with Miotto Mosaics Art Studios of New York. Smalti (the plural of smalto) are specialized mosaic tesserae (tiny hand-cut tiles) made from richly colored glass. Originally developed for Byzantine mosaics, the glass contains metal oxides which produce an almost infinite range of rich, luminous colors.

While Bon Voyage! and Happy Travels! are the first permanent installations of Labovitz’s work at one of the country’s busiest airports, the colorful works are actually the third installation she has had there within as many years – and just the latest sign of her increasing popularity within the ultra-competitive realm of public art.

The artist is also currently completing commissions for Redleaf Center for Family Healing in Minneapolis, and a site-specific outdoor piece in Berlin, Germany. She recently learned Rochester Art Center, Rochester, Minn., will be hosting a solo exhibition of her work in January 2023. And, due to its popularity with travelers and guests, her large-scale art installation, 122 Conversations, at the airport’s Main Concourse in Terminal 2 (originally installed as a temporary exhibit in 2019) has been extended for the second time, this time through March of 2022.

About the Artist:
Anne Labovitz (b. Duluth, Minnesota) lives and works in St. Paul, Minn. Notable exhibitions include University of Raparin, Rania, Iraqi Kurdistan; Växjö Kunsthall, Växjö, Sweden; Petrozavodsk City Exhibition Hall, Petrozavodsk, Russia; Isumi City Hall, Isumi City, Japan; Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Canada; Tweed Museum, Duluth, Minn.; Athenaeum in La Jolla, CA; MSP Terminal 2, Minneapolis, Minn.; MSP Terminal 1, Minneapolis, Minn.; Crary Art Gallery, Warren, Pa.; Burnet Gallery, Le Méridien Chambers in Minneapolis, Minn.; Talgut die Schönen, in Kunste, Germany; Chapman Art Center at Cazenovia College, Cazenovia, N.Y; to name a few.

Labovitz’s artwork can be found in the following public collections Frederick R Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, Minn.; Minnesota Museum of American Art, St Paul, Minn.; The Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, Minn.; The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, La Jolla, CA; Minnesota Historical Society, St Paul, Minn.; International Gallery of Portrait, in Bosnia-Herzegovina; Växjö Kommun, City of Vaxjo, Sweden; Isumi City Offices, Isumi City Japan; University of Raparin, Rania Iraqi Kurdistan; City of Petrozavodsk, Petrozavodsk, Russia; to name a few.

Current projects include two permanent public mosaic artworks at the MSP Airport, opening February 2021 as well as 122 Conversations currently installed in MSP airport Terminal 2 2019- 2022; Turn Up the Turn Out – a cohort of 22 artists dedicated to the promotion of voting and voting registration in Minnesota, 2020; an outdoor installation in Berlin, Germany – June 2021; a public art commission at the Redleaf Center For Family Healing, a site-specific participatory work, opening 2021; the I Love You Institute, a community-based art project supported by a Springboard for the Arts community grant; appointment as the Artist in Residence at Art In Motion, in Holdingford, Minn., (2020-2021) with an exhibition in Spring 2021; a solo exhibition at Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Winona, Minn., fall 2022.

About Arts@MSP
Arts@MSP is a program of Airport Foundation MSP, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the experience and exceeding the expectations of travelers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Airport Foundation MSP partners with the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) to bring artistic and cultural events to MSP, including live music, as well as exhibits featuring regional artists and commissioned art installations.

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