Public Art Category

Social Practice

Any art activity that is designed to address or involve a social issue, such as homelessness, civil rights, social justice causes, etc. Art as activism, art as process, art as provocateur, etc.

April 23, 2014

“Voice Tunnel”

by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

New York, N.Y. (2013) - As part of New York City’s annual Summer Streets celebration, artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer took over the Park Avenue Tunnel with his large-scale interactive installation, Voice Tunnel. The installation consisted of 300 theatrical spotlights mounted along the two facing tunnel walls, producing columns of light that followed the natural curve of the tunnel to just barely … Read More

Public Art Review | Public Art Review, Recent Projects

April 21, 2014

“Shop Lifting”

by Mithu Sen at the 3rd Annual Art Chennai Festival

Chennai, India (February 8-16, 2014) - For Art Chennai 2014, award-winning artist Mithu Sen turned an empty space in a luxury mall into a typical street stall selling flowers for “Shop Lifting.” Over 75 artists and 35 events appeared in the 3rd annual Art Chennai, the largest festival of modern and contemporary art in India. Attractions included exhibitions, conferences, … Read More

Public Art Review | Public Art Review, Recent Projects

April 19, 2014

The Art of Ritual: Burning Man

Religion, spirituality, and public art at Burning Man

Burning Man is grand-scale theater for eclectic spirituality, self-expression, personal transformation, communal bonding, and cultural renewal. For one week every year, around 50,000 participants transform a harsh and utterly empty expanse of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert into a pulsating cultural laboratory populated with hundreds of art installations. Culminating in the spectacular incineration of the eponymous … Read More

April 12, 2014

Home Makers

Artist-involved projects focused on housing and neighborhoods

Rick Lowe, founder of Project Row Houses (PRH), was making billboard-sized political paintings in his Houston, Texas, studio in the 1980s when a visiting high school student challenged his work. As Lowe recounted to the New York Times in 2006, “If I was an artist, he said, why didn’t I come up with some kind … Read More

April 11, 2014

“Industrial Harvest”

Speculative Art: Sarah Kavage’s project compared actual wheat to a “wheat future”

Chicago, Ill. (2010)—Behind every box of Wheaties stands a largely invisible system of international finance, a marketplace of buying, selling, and risk that makes Wall Street seem transparent. At its simplest level, the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile give investors the opportunity to speculate on the future cost of food, transferring risk … Read More

April 10, 2014

Service Media: Is it “Public Art” or Art in Public Space?

Stuart Keeler, ed.

If social practice describes artwork (or an artistic approach) that responds to a social or political injustice and explores alternative courses of action, then service media, according to artist and editor Stuart Keeler, is focused on the action. The artwork is not a finite experience or definitive object, but an active process, evolving with the … Read More

Reviewed by Ciara McKeown | Books, Public Art Review

March 3, 2014

“Open House”

by Matthew Mazzotta

York, Ala. (2013) - If you approached a resident of York, Alabama, a couple years back and asked about the town’s biggest eyesore, you would likely have heard about the salmon-colored house on Main Street. You know the one, they’d say. The roof is caving in. One side of the house seems to be sliding down a … Read More

Public Art Review | Public Art Review, Recent Projects

February 28, 2014

“With Everyone and for the Good of Some”

Two artists walk 600 miles

Cuba (2013) – Artists Tanya Lucia Bernard and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara took a 7-foot-tall paper mache sculpture of ‘La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre’—the Patron Saint of Cuba—on a 600-mile pilgrimage that began in Havana on September 12 and ended in Santiago de Cuba. The sculpture was made by Alcántara in collaboration with youth and … Read More

Public Art Review | Recent Projects

February 26, 2014

The Hart Island Project

Melinda Hunt's quest to identify the anonymous

“The feeling that it’s within your control to commemorate your loved one is an important feeling to restore,” says Melinda Hunt, an artist who, for the past two decades, has sought to do just that for relatives of the 850,000 people buried since the Civil War on Hart Island, a potter’s field in Long Island … Read More

January 25, 2014

Public Art as a Spiritual Path

Four artists talk about how their beliefs inform their practice

Exploring the meeting of art and spirituality with Agnes Denes, Tyree Guyton, Ned Kahn, and Lily Yeh yielded conversations as distinct as these artists’ works, yet each dialogue reflected the same truth. Despite marked differences, they share precisely those characteristics—creative force, hunger for awakening, deep sense of purpose, and reluctance to settle for the superficial … Read More