Czech Artist Klara Hobza Reprises 1967 Competition
The New Millennium Paper Airplane Contest and corresponding book
by Klara Hobza is a multifaceted interactive artwork inspired by
the 1967 International Paper Airplane Competition. The historic
contest took place at the Great Hall in what is now the New York
Hall of Science, and has become legendary among many paper airplane
Built by Wallace K. Harrison to display rockets in the 1964
World's Fair, the Great Hall is a secular cathedral of concrete and
colored glass; for Hobza's one-day event last Saturday, this unique
location harbored aircraft of a different scale.
Sponsored by the Public Art Fund, the competition was open to
the public. Participants were invited to fly their planes in any
and all of the judging categories, including distance flown;
duration aloft; beauty; spectacular failure; a children's division;
and a surprise category -- the longest distance flown by a plane
designed on the spot.
Rules for the contest were simple: Airplanes may be folded from
letter-size paper, up to 8.5" x 11", or smaller; larger sizes are
not allowed. The paper should be an average office paper (20-24 lb
weight). Cutting and minor gluing of your airplane is permitted;
stapling is not.
Rowin Andruscavage, a systems engineer who works for Boeing in
Virginia, placed first in the distance category with a plane of his
own design. "It's a way of applying the stuff I learned in
college," said Andruscavage.
Howard Fink of the Upper West Side took top honors in the
duration aloft category, using a modified version of a plane
featured in "The Great International Paper Airplane Book." Inspired
by the 1967 competition, Fink started flying paper planes in high
school, the New York Times said.
Peter Genovese of Flushing, Queens, a former aircraft mechanic
who brought a Boy Scout Troop to the contest, won the surprise
category. "It was very entertaining for the kids, but it was more
entertaining for me. I had a better time than many of the Boy
After the contest, notable planes and the stories behind their
design will be collected in a commemorative book by the artist, The
New Millennium Paper Airplane Book, to be published by the Public
Art Fund in the spring of 2009. The book will consist of airplane
designs that can be torn out, folded, and flown, as well as stories
by their creators.
Klara Hobza's previous works have focused on the human desire to
communicate and explain, often exploring obscure information
systems. "To me, paper airplanes are the pure, innocent aspect of
an innate thing that is universal about humans, which is
inventiveness and playfulness," Hobza said.
"This surpassed our expectations," said Rochelle Steiner,
director of the Public Art Fund. "That's the heart of it as art,
bringing together people in this performance activity. This work of
art couldn't exist without everybody here."
Since 1977, the Public Art Fund has worked with over 500
emerging and established artists to produce innovative temporary
exhibitions of contemporary art throughout New York City. By
bringing artworks outside the traditional context of museums and
galleries, Public Art Fund provides a unique platform for an
unparalleled public encounter with the art of our time.