Stein Outdoor Airport Sculpture – 1998

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LISA PANZERA
Curator, Guild Hall

The East Hampton Sky Ride by Linda Stein is a newly completed public sculpture at the East Hampton Airport. Created from a palate of plane parts – nose, instrument panels, steering wheel, exhaust manifolds – the work looks like the front end of a plane that has been unfolded, extended and rearranged on the stone wall by the terminal entrance.

Through the brilliant red paint that coats the work, and the cleverly negotiation junctures between the parts, Stein transforms the disparate plane parts into a seamless whole that looks as if it always existed this way. With its carefully organized tangle of exhaust pipes snaking from one mass of metal to another, its instrument dials protruding on stalk-like pipes, and panel instruments and grills creating a series of repeated perforations and circles, the artist has reconfigured these plane parts into a strange, new creature or futuristic vehicle.

The East Hampton Sky Ride, whimsical in its title as well as in its appearance, conjures up references to amusement park rides and, of course, to the planes themselves, which can be seen on the field behind the wall on which the sculpture is mounted. With the passenger terminal to the left and the airplanes to the right, the sculpture functions as an intermediary between the two, negotiating the realm between the two, negotiating the realm between human passenger and machine, mind and matter, sky and ground.