Virgin Atlantic to launch first ‘commercial art gallery in the sky’

UK. Virgin Atlantic is to launch a commercial art gallery at 35,000ft, giving Upper Class passengers the opportunity to buy works by British artist Ben Eine.

Taking place on the London-New York route between 1 February and 28 February, the “˜Gallery in the Air’ is the first of its kind, according to the airline, and part of efforts to enhance passengers’ inflight shopping and entertainment experience.

The airline said passengers would be able to buy the pieces, priced between £2,500 and £15,000, “exactly the same way as they would a duty-free shopping purchase”. The initiative is the first in a planned series of on-board collaborations with renowned artists.

Each piece, in Eine’s trademark typography style, is inspired by the adventurous and innovative spirit of Virgin Atlantic, its entrepreneurial owner and founder Richard Branson, and the iconic transatlantic cities of London and New York.

Upper Class passengers can browse the Ben Eine works inflight

Canvases will go on display across the London Heathrow, New York JFK and Newark Virgin Clubhouses, while passengers will also be given a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the works in Eine’s studio.

Branson said: “We like to do things differently at Virgin Atlantic and are always finding new ways to surprise and entertain our customers. Our new Gallery in the Air is the first ever commercial art gallery in the sky and is a good example of this.

“I am a huge fan of Ben’s work and like us, he does things differently and doesn’t follow the crowd. We’re delighted to be working with him, mixing things up a bit and having a bit of fun along the way.”

Eine is perhaps best known internationally for a work of his, “˜Twenty First Century City’, which British Prime Minister David Cameron gave to US President Barack Obama in 2010. His street art has also been showcased in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo, Stockholm and London.

He said: “My philosophy through all my work, be it on canvas or on the street, is about pushing boundaries and not simply going with the flow because everyone else is doing something a certain way.

“I respect Virgin Atlantic’s brave and challenging attitude and the way it goes against the grain, so I jumped at the chance to be part of the first ever Gallery in the Air. We have created a completely original way of appreciating and buying art – a new frontier for the industry.”

Virgin Airways says the ‘Gallery in the Air’ is the first inflight commercial gallery
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