Airports: the new contemporary art

Mumbai and Doha international airports and Heathrow Terminal 2 get in on the art action

Richard Wilson’s Slipstream at Heathrow’s new Terminal 2
Richard Wilson’s Slipstream at Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 | Image: David Levene

If Artsy ( is the hottest hub for buying contemporary art, then airports – with their vast footfall – are significant new hubs for inspiration. There’s a clear trend emerging, from the new Terminal 2 at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (, whose art wall is among India’s largest public-art projects, to the just-opened Hamad International Airport ( in Doha, which has a sculpture of a giant teddy bear by Urs Fischer. London’s Heathrow Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal ( is one of the latest to join the fray. On June 4, the first flight landed from Chicago to mark the official opening of the Luis Vidal-designed space. This was when the travelling public also got to view Slipstream (pictured) – a major new sculpture by Richard Wilson. The precision engineering of this 80m-long, 77-tonne artwork is inspired by the flight path of a Zivko Edge 540 stunt plane. The sculpture appears to float through the terminal as if it is airborne, suspended 18m above the ground with the riveted aluminium twisting across the atrium.


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