By David Brickman
In a way, the Albany International Airport Gallery is like an ongoing Whitney Biennial of the Capital Region. Curator Sharon Bates mounts just two shows a year, usually around a pithy theme, and she often populates these shows with work by artists she’s spotted at other venues around the area, in a sort of sifting and consolidation process.
The downside of this approach is that regular viewers of local galleries and museums will encounter things in these shows that they’ve already seen before, sometimes quite recently. But those are not the viewers the Airport Gallery targets; rather, Bates creates for an audience of travelers, many of whom are not from around here and will never venture beyond the terminal as they seek ways to kill time between flights.
And, in more than 10 years of honing that aim, Bates has adopted a formula that really works – even achieving national recognition for excellence in cultural programming at airports. So, it’s no surprise that the new show at the Airport Gallery, titled LOL, is fresh, funny and – yes – surprising, despite including some familiar work.