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 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

January 24, 2014

The Temporary Table

Events that start with dinner and spark deeper thinking about economics and aesthetics

There’s a question that inevitably arises when food is involved in a public art project: Is it art or is it just eating? In the early 1990s, Mary Jane Jacob curated several shows, including Culture in Action and Conversations at the Castle, that included artists getting people together to eat. The fact that these social … Read More

November 5, 2013

The Curator-Driven Public Art Festival

Capital as Context: 5x5 in Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C. – As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., combines instantly recognizable symbols of national and international significance with an urban environment that is rich, diverse, and complex. But, like many other U.S. cities, aspects of the District of Columbia’s urban realm have been ignored and forsaken. And although Washington is a nexus of public … Read More

Ronit Eisenbach and Welmoed Laanstra | Magazine Feature, On Location, Public Art Review

October 28, 2013

Revelations in the Ruhr Valley

Community, industry, and creativity in the 2010 European Capital of Culture

Expecting an unremitting industrial landscape, urban to its last brick, I was pleasantly surprised by the Ruhr Valley. This elongated segment of geography, named the European Capital of Culture for 2010, which stretches east to west with a scattering of towns, is by no means relentlessly urban or constantly industrial. Instead, it is wrapped in … Read More