As part of its New Commissions Program, Art in General is pleased to announce International Airport Montello, a series of public interventions culminating in a multi-channel video installation by eteam, a New York-based art collective formed by Franziska Lamprecht and Hajoe Moderegger.
Like all eteam projects, International Airport Montello has primarily to do with testing boundaries. It includes, but is far from limited to, eteam’s production of events and memories in collaboration with the 67 citizens of Montello, Nevada, a place off the beaten track whose inhabitants proudly refer to as “the town that refuses die.” Prior to visiting Montello in 2004, eteam purchased a 10-acre plot of nearby land on eBay for $1,900. Upon visiting their geographic holdings (which they bought based on affordability rather than any particular interest in Montello), eteam discovered that the town has an abandoned airstrip some 6,000 feet in length.
Since January of 2006, the circulation of photographs and videos and the launch of a wiki-website made collaboratively by eteam and the residents of Montello (http://www.internationalairportmontello.com) have complicated and constituted the so-called existence of the airport.
In fall 2006, eteam and a group of curators, writers, arts patrons and arts professionals visited the “International Airport Montello” in Nevada. The trip’s purpose was to stage a protracted layover and reactivation of the airstrip. With the support of Art in General, eteam and Montello residents revamped both public and private spaces to transform the town into “a place like any other airport.”* Townspeople executed activities as airport representatives and travelers on windswept plains, suggesting both possibilities and limitations; the creation of an ersatz terminal and the institution of other design elements such as airport bars, restaurants and stores explored the difference between the generic and the specific, the imagined and the actual. All who participated in the event assumed functional roles, including those of stewardess, airport shuttle driver, airport staff and passengers.
International Airport Montello also involved a daytrip by eteam, their film crew and guests to another defunct airfield in Brooklyn, Floyd Bennett Field, which now operates as part of the National Park Service. There, they learned about the airport’s history from a park ranger and enacted a plane-departing performance, which was captured on video. Footage of eteam’s excursions to Montello and Brooklyn, footage of their discussion about land art on June 7, 2006 at The New School, as well their waiting room, complete with fast food, crossword puzzles and stacked luggage created at Sara Meltzer Gallery on July 19, 2006, are on view at Art in General’s newly renovated 6th floor gallery.
The New Commissions Program is made possible by The Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and the Booth Ferris Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, Peter Norton Family Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Jerome Foundation and George Mills.
Additional support for the eteam’s International Airport Montello has been provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.