These murals, by acclaimed Brazilian artist Carybé, were originally created in 1960 as the first and second prize-winning designs for the new American Airlines Terminal at JFK Airport. Carybé composed each work with vividly colored fields adorned with glass tiles, Mexican coins, with glistening swaths of gold and silver leaf, resulting in an exuberant panorama of American culture.
As the terminal was being prepared for demolition during winter of 2007/08, Steve Tatti was faced with the removal, transport and restoration of the works. Once each of the 52 ft. x 15 ft. murals was cut out in sections – including the wall onto which the painting was attached – the restoration began where rips, separation & surface deformation were addressed following the removal of the old yellowed and detaching varnish that served to obscure the festive colors trapped beneath. Once the paint colors had been restored and the missing tiles and coins replaced, the team brushed on a protective resin varnish, re-crated and, after two long years of meticulous work, were rewarded with the reinstallation of these American treasures in their new home in Miami-Dade Airport.