Michael Hayden (artist)

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For other uses, see Michael Hayden.
Photograph of a long tunnel illuminated by neon lighting in the ceiling and by glowing, colorful wall panels. The tunnel is about 10 meters (33 feet) wide, and there are four moving walkways in the center of the tunnel. There are several people on each walkway; far down the tunnel there are some staircases leading up.
Sky's the Limit at O'Hare International Airport.[1] The walkway is part of the United Airlines terminal that was designed by Helmut Jahn, and which has been listed as one of America's 150 favorite structures by the American Institute of Architects.

Michael Hayden (born January 15, 1943, Vancouver) is a Canadian artist who is noted for his artworks incorporating neon lighting.[2][3][4] His best-known commission is Sky's the Limit (1987) at O'Hare International Airport (see photograph).[1][5] Other prominent commissions include Arc en Ciel (1978),[6] which was formerly installed at Yorkdale subway station in Toronto, York Electric Murals at York University Libraries,[7][8] and Quadrille (1996),[9] which is installed on a building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Hayden's work is in the public collections of many museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.[2]


  1. ^ a b Stern, Rudi (1990). Contemporary Neon. Retail Reporting Corp. ISBN 978-0-934590-37-2. California artist Michael Hayden was selected to design a lighting sculpture synchronized with music and orchestrated with architecture. Hayden's solution, Sky's the Limit, uses 466 neon tubes and extends 744 feet. 
  2. ^ a b "Michael Hayden Resume". Thinking Lightly, Inc. Retrieved 2011-06-05. 
  3. ^ Allen, Karyn Elizabeth. "Michael Hayden". The Canadian Encyclopedia. 
  4. ^ Coupe, Alison (2010). Michelin Green Guide: Canada. Michelin. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-906261-75-7. 
  5. ^ Miles, Malcolm (1997). Art, Space, and the City: Public Art and Urban Futures. Psychology Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-415-13943-4. Among the most ambitious examples of airport art are Michael Hayden's Sky's the Limit at Chicago's United Airlines terminal... 
  6. ^ Barr, Vilma (1992). The Best of Neon: Architecture, Interiors, Signs. Rockport Allworth Editions. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-935603-60-6. A spectacular display of rainbow colors is produced by neon tubes in the skylight from an electronic sculpture called "Arc en ciel" by artist Michael Hayden. 
  7. ^ Greenwood, Michael (August–September 1971). "Hayden's light/sound escalator at York Unviersity, Toronto". artscanada (158-159): 40–43. 
  8. ^ Hayden, Michael. "Recording of musical component of Michael Hayden's York Electric Murals : original sound recording". York Digital Libraries. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  9. ^ Clinard, Leigh Pressley; Distl, Craig (2009). Insiders' Guide to Charlotte: 11th Edition. Globe Pequot. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7627-5312-3. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Schiess, Christian (1994). The Light Artist Anthology: Neon and Related Media. ST Media Group International. ISBN 978-0-944094-00-6.  This book includes photographs of Hayden's works and an interview with Hayden.


  1. ^ Greenwood, Michael (August–September 1971). "Hayden's light/sound escalator at York University, Toronto". artscanada (158-159).