Terminal High: Art at the Atlanta Airport


William Haseltine

I love art and I like to travel. What then could be better than finding art in the Atlanta Airport, specifically Terminal E while changing planes on the way from Washington to Lima.

What I noticed first was a wall mounted display of outsized Venus fly traps in bronze. The amazing shapes, each designed to lure and trap an unwary prey, are study in form and function. Alas I did not record the artist's name.

Imaginative works in glass by contemporary artists are impossible to miss, located as they are smack in the center of the aisle. These are for the High Museum of Art, reminding us that Atlanta is the home of this great institution (for those of us who missed by Tom Wolfe's brilliant description of this Institution in "A Man in Full."


William Haseltine

Just across the way is a moving tribute to Martin Luther King. Candid photographs show this great leader in private moments, his marriage, playing ball with his son, relaxing with friends, and times of high drama forever seared into our collective memory, freedom marches, meeting with world leaders, his funeral. The photos are interspersed with memorabilia, glasses he wore to give him an air of added gravity (the lenses do no refract), the portable radio he carried to listen to the news as he marched, a simple watch. We are reminded of what one fragile man can contribute to an entire people and a nation.

Just before the food courts is an offering from the Center for Puppetry Arts. Puppets from around the world Bali, West Java, Cambodia, Germany, Turkey, China, Indonesia, Nigeria and mounted in individual cases. They speak to our universal desire to caricature and entertain.


William Haseltine

The United States is represented by "The Hippy," a Muppet used to advertise Campbell soup in the 1980s. Who knew that Jim Henson's Muppets (according to the accompanying text) had a prior life in television advertising prior to their alphabetic exercises on Sesame Street?

Finally, I am reminded by a clock, artfully concealed in a mural, that I have dallied to long. It is time to run for the gate.

Jump to comments

William Haseltine is a former professor at Harvard Medical School, where he researched cancer and HIV/AIDS. He is the founder of Human Genome Sciences, where he served as chairman and CEO, and the president of the William A Haseltine Foundation for Medical Sciences and the Arts. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air