May 2017

WORDS Catherine Randall


Spectacle Butterfly, Hilary Zelson, Waltham, Mass.

The Nashville International Airport (BNA) is certainly not the most traditional venue for a public art exhibit, but it does take the genre to new heights. The Fourth Annual Bonnaroo Exhibit is on display now through January 21, 2018, and consists of five suspended sculptures hanging in the skylights in the three concourses. These five installations were chosen from nearly thirty proposals.

The winning entries represent the spirit of the festival. “The proposals often tap into the unique sense of community that is the heartbeat of Bonnaroo,” director of the Bonnaroo Works Fund Nina Miller says.

For example, Miho Ogai’s glass installation called Collective Momentum is constructed from glass rectangles hung to form an arch depicting the festival’s iconic symbol, the Bonnaroo arch. Each glass piece is painted with Japanese characters in blue and yellow.

Magical Amass, Gianna Stewart, Dorchester, Mass.

Magical Amass, created by Gianna Stewart, consists of 122 tents that echo the tent-like shape of its skylight. Stewart says she followed “the language of the skylight” for her inspiration. The pastel tents in yellow, lavender, blue, and green look textured, like fabric, and seem to move in the wind, but each one, in fact, is a hand-cast plastic sculpture. This material “lends itself well to public art because it holds up in the sun and is fade resistant,” Stewart explains. It also plays well with the changing daylight. Sunshine pushes through the translucent tents and casts vivid rainbow colors on the surrounding walls.

Mary Carter Taub’s concept BSWAG and “the artwork’s many vinyl lines are a metaphor for the countless people that pass through Bonnaroo,” Taub says.

Leticia Bajuyo’s Lift is a complex design created by thousands of compact discs and DVDs. The connection of these now-obsolete recordings is not lost in Music City; however, the shimmering plastic circles are Bajuyo’s preferred medium since 2009. “The form is an icon in that it is larger than itself. The memory is still inside there. I’m giving it another life,” Bajuyo says. DVDs are purple, Play Station discs are black, and colored CDs in yellow, blue, and red from the 80s become the paint splotches for this sculpture. The shiny memory sides are exposed nearest the viewer and create almost a water-like reflection of a still pond. The flat surface is interrupted with a funnel that seems to spin up into the skylight and around in a tornadic motion.

Collective Momentum, Miho Ogai, Long Island City, N.Y.

The bulk of the structure covers most of the canopy, obscuring the windows until light bursts through the cut-out circles, which cast a dotted dance floor on the otherwise drab carpet.

Hilary Zelson’s Spectacle Butterfly is a giant monarch constructed out of hundreds of orange and black sunglasses. The suspension hangs lower than the other installations and seems to catch the eye of every child who passes.

In the course of the eleven months of display, approximately 12 million people will pass under these unique installations.

Look up, weary travellers, look up!

The Fourth Annual Bonnaroo Exhibit is on display through January 21, 2018, at Nashville International Airport. For more information, visit


Lift, Leticia R. Bajuyo, Madison, Ind.

BSWAG, Mary Carter Taub, Chapel Hill, N.C.

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