Miljan Suknović, Studio Visit, 2018/2019 Site-specific Painting installation (35 canvases) Acrylic on canvas, Air France VIP Lounge, JFK Airport, NY Photo Credit: Jeff Yapalater

Miljan Suknović’s “Studio Visit” lights up the Air France VIP Lounge in the JFK Terminal 1 through March 2020

On the coldest evening in November 2019, Miljan Suknović’s enormous installation of 35 paintings warmed the VIP Lounge in the Air France Terminal 1 with its radiant energy. Organised around the minimalist style of this chic interior, the artist deployed a riot of robust colours knit together through their various abstract compositions. The effect is electrifying! Strident strokes of hot colours burst forth from these gigantic canvases, pulsating with the joy of exuberant expression.

Miljan Suknović, Studio Visit, 2018/2019
Site-specific Painting installation (35 canvases)
Acrylic on canvas, Air France VIP Lounge, JFK Airport, NY
Photo Credit: Jeff Yapalater

The newly renovated Air France VIP lounge in Terminal 1 opened in December 2018 with the exhibition Life Around World (La Vie Autour Le Monde), 16 lithographs by French artist Roger Bezombes (1913-1994), curated by Eric Moulot, director of the originally French Mourlot Editions now located in New York. Suknović saw the lounge as an opportunity for a more integral work, a site-specific installation.

Miljan Suknović, Untitled, 2018/2019
Acrylic on canvas, Air France VIP Lounge, JFK Airport, NY
Photo Credit: Jeff Yapalater

“When I saw this inspiring architectural space I was immediately interested in creating something there, not just in the areas which are usually used for art shows… I described my large installation as a ‘Tender Giant.’ I think these words describe Air France. It’s very big, a powerhouse, but still elegant and stylish.”

Miljan Suknović, Studio Visit, 2018/2019
Site-specific Painting installation (35 canvases)
Acrylic on canvas, Air France VIP Lounge, JFK Airport, NY
Photo Credit: Jeff Yapalater

The concept is based on Suknović’s studio, thus the title for the whole ensemble is Studio Visit. Each grouping animates a “playful interaction” among different abstract styles the artist has practiced. Here we see Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, and Colour Field performed in luscious pinks, lipstick reds, ebony blacks, lemon yellows, and azure blues reminiscent of an open, sunny sky – perfect for air travel.

Miljan Suknović, Untitled, 2018/2019
Acrylic on canvas, Air France VIP Lounge, JFK Airport, NY
Photo Credit: Jeff Yapalater

Born in the former Yugoslavia, Miljan Suknović identifies as a Serbian-American since he received his U.S. citizenship earlier this year. He studied art and architecture in Belgrade, Prague, Florence, Hamburg and New York, where he lives and works today. At first influenced strongly by Neo Dada, Suknović challenges himself to evolve. On view in the same Terminal 1 at JFK, we can see his gift to America, An Immigrant’s Story, 2019, in celebration of his new naturalized status. 

Miljan Suknović, An Immigrant’s Story, 2018
Acrylic on canvas, 86 x 150 inches.
A gift to JFK Airport – Terminal 1
Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Suknović credits his seven years in Florence as a major influence on his painting. He has exhibited widely and internationally, most notably in New York at Catherine Ahnell Gallery as a special resident artist, Union Gallery, Slag Gallery, the U.N. Serbian Mission (then housed in the elegant Gilded Age R. Livington Beeckman Mansion), Tower 46 and the new 7 World Trade Center. In France, Suknović has exhibited his work in Nice and Strasbourg; in Italy, Florence and Bologne; and in Greece, on the island of Naxos. Most recently he participated in the group show Constellations at the Museum of Porto Montenegro. Among the many private and public collections which own his work is the Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas for their Boulevard Penthouses.

Miljan Suknović, Frida, Fan, Red Painting and Me, 2010. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Studio Visit remains on view in the Air France VIP Lounge in Terminal 1, JKF Airport, through March 2020.  For more information about Miljan Suknovic, please visit his website.

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Beth Gersh-Nesic
Beth S. Gersh-Nešić, Ph.D. is an art historian and the director of the New York Arts Exchange, an arts education service that offers tours and lectures in the New York tristate area. She specializes in the study of Cubism and has published on the art criticism of Apollinaire’s close friend, poet/art critic/journalist André Salmon. She teaches art history at Purchase College in Westchester, New York. She has recently published a book with French poet/literary critic Jean-Luc Pouliquen called "Transatlantic Conversation: About Poetry and Art."

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