Yellow Fog - Sam Gilliam

Where is it?

Concourse A

Yellow Fog is located just before you pass through security at Checkpoints 1 and 2.

About the Art

Understanding that Seattle’s plight often takes the form of a suffocating gray atmosphere, Sam Gilliam decided on a brilliant, saturated yellow for this column to enliven the overcast environment. This piece acts as a sort of beacon, shedding light and warmth to the airport.

The Details


Sam Gilliam




Mosaic column (smalti, vitreous ceramic, marble)


Approximately in 10' circumference (3' diameter) x 30' high

Did you know?

Standing at nearly thirty feet, this column is taller than its fellow pillars in Concourse A.

  • <p>© Sam Gilliam</p>
  • <p>© Sam Gilliam</p>
  • <p>© Sam Gilliam</p>
  • <p>© Sam Gilliam</p>

About the Artist

Widely considered a Lyrical Abstractionist artist, Sam Gilliam is also closely associated with the Washington Color School, a group of D.C. native artists working in the Color Field movement. Gilliam is often credited with the development of hanging canvas without stretcher bars in 1965, a concept that would greatly impact the future of the movement. Stretched, draped, or wrapped, his painting surfaces take on a sculptural form. This development led critic Ferdinand Protzman of The Washington Post to remark that Gilliam is a “master synthesizer, following his own path but constantly absorbing influences and turning them into something fresh, unique, and compelling.”

"Only when making the work can I determine the many languages that form the planes on which it is to exist." – Sam Gilliam

Short Bio

Sam Gilliam was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and has since become an internationally acclaimed African American artist. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the American Craft Museum. His pieces are included in the collections of major museums throughout the world including the Tate Gallery, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of African American Art, the National Gallery of Art in D.C., and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Since 1979, Gilliam has completed 23 public art commissions in courthouses, federal buildings, and airports throughout the United States.

See More

  • Meet Sam Gilliam

Similar Artwork

At the Airport

Frank Stella, another painter of the Color Field movement, created flat planes of color on canvas and treated color in a way similar to Gilliam. Frank Stella's York Factory A is on display at the Sea-Tac Airport! Click on the link below in the Connected Stories module to see his piece.

Yellow Fog - Sam Gilliam

When skies are gray in Seattle (and they quite often are), Sam Gilliam's bright yellow column stands out vibrantly in Concourse A.