Virgin Atlantic has recently announced to open art galleries on airplanes. Teaming up with British street artist Eine (Ben Flynn), the ‘Gallery in the Air’ collaboration aims to bring art at 35,000 feet. The passengers of the first class (Upper Class) will have the chance to experience a pop-up gallery atmosphere while traveling between New York and London. Except for the in-plane exhibition, there will also be a series of the artists’ typography artworks presented in the lounge rooms, the exclusive ‘Clubhouses’, of London Heathrow, JFK and Newark Clubhouses airports.
According to the company the artworks, which balance between street art and high art, are inspired “by the adventurous and innovative spirit of Virgin Atlantic, its entrepreneurial owner Richard Branson, and the iconic transatlantic cities of London and New York”. And as in any gallery, the works could as well be purchased (tax-free!), giving a new gateway for artists to promote their work.
Taking into account the ticket prices it’s clear that Virgin Atlantic’s Art Gallery in the Air will be accessible only to the richer passengers. I understand that Virgin Atlantic wishes to make Upper Class’s services special and appealing, supporting an exclusive marketing strategy. Nonetheless, it would be great to see some of this concept launched for less expensive classes.
Over the last years we have seen galleries popping up in the most unexpected places. Especially when it comes to means of transportation, art curators seem to find those spaces as an artistic inspiration as well as a field of practicing marketing strategies. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) came up with an arts exhibition in NYC Subway stations, while students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago organized a whole event in metro trains. It has only been a matter of time before this trend moved to other transportation means as well.