January 19, 2015

The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities

Author: Doris Sommer

College arts and humanities funding has declined, as many students, school administrators, and everyday citizens question the value of art in addressing the pressing issues of our times. This is a mistake, according to Doris Sommer, a language, literature, and African/African-American studies professor at Harvard. Sommer argues that creative people are uniquely positioned to generate … Read More

Reviewed by Lauren Bedosky | Books, Public Art Review

November 7, 2014

Creative Refuge

By Febrik

A new book sheds light on participatory art projects with children. Creative Refuge is part research catalog/part education manual from the nonprofit participatory art and design research organization Febrik. The book presents the findings from three workshops Febrik conducted with children in a refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanan. The workshops explored children’s dream and play … Read More

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October 13, 2014

Art & Place: Site-specific Art of the Americas

By the editors of Phaidon Press (Amanda Renshaw, lead editor)

From Canada to Argentina, Art & Place: Site-specific Art of the Americas takes us on a powerful tour of some of the most significant site-specific works of art of the past 10,000 years. Arranged from north to south, works by indigenous peoples from the Haida to the Inca are intermixed with contemporary pieces by artists including Matthew … Read More

Reviewed by Karen Olson | Books, Public Art Review

August 29, 2014

Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists

Sharon Louden, editor

Although artists are inundated with an overflow of wisdom on how to feed their muses, advice slows to a trickle on how to feed their families. Editor and artist Sharon Louden explores the latter in this personable, easy-to-read volume of pragmatic artist testimonies. Forty essays and interviews with artists such as Amy Pleasant, Austin Thomas, … Read More

Reviewed by Jen Dolen | Books, Public Art Review

August 22, 2014

Philadelphia Mural Arts @ 30

Jane Golden and David Updike, editors

At 30 years old, the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia has been an unqualified success, sparking the creation of more than 3,800 murals and public art projects that have made lasting impressions on every neighborhood in the city. Philadelphia Mural Arts @ 30, the latest book about the ongoing project, uses essays and photos to … Read More

Public Art Review | Books, Public Art Review

August 13, 2014

Happy City

Charles Montgomery

Although not explicitly about public art, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by journalist Charles Montgomery gives plenty of reasons why we need public art in our cities and where such art should be placed to have the greatest effect. Montgomery makes a compelling case that the cities we have built, especially in the … Read More

Reviewed by Thomas Fisher | Books, Public Art Review
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July 31, 2014

Book Synopsis: Pepón Osorio

Jennifer A. González's fully illustrated survey of the collaborative, site-based installations of Pepón Osorio.

A thoughtful, fully illustrated survey of Pepón Osorio’s collaborative, site-based works, this book explores the same themes as Osorio’s installation art: prison life, domestic violence, AIDS, poverty, death, gender, survival, alienation, and belonging. Taken together, the essays create a powerful narrative of a transformative artist. Los Angeles, California: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2013 … Read More

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Book Cover: “A Flower for the Dead,” by Friedrich Achleitner.

July 31, 2014

Book Synopsis: A Flower for the Dead

Friedrich Achleitner's anthology of the distinctive Eastern European memorials of artist, urbanist, and writer Bogdan Bogdanovic.

A Flower for the Dead: The Memorials of Bogdan Bogdanovic is a visual anthology of Bogdan Bogdanovic’s striking surrealist memorials that dot the landscape of Eastern Europe, from Croatia to Montenegro to Macedonia. The artist’s works hold a special place in European public art; they commemorate life in a way that is unique in the sculptural … Read More

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July 31, 2014

Book Synopsis: Critical Laboratory

A compilation of Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn's personal writings, edited by Lisa Lee and Hal Foster.

This collection of Thomas Hirschhorn’s writings helps parse the meaning and message of the philosophically inclined artist’s major works. An aesthetically pleasing book with high-resolution photos, Critical Laboratory discusses the full range of his art and underscores his commitment to the public sphere. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2013 — Browse the Books main page for more … Read More

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Book Cover: “Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art,” by Katja Kwastek.

July 31, 2014

Book Synopsis: Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art

Art historian Katja Kwastek's tome on new-media art and other contemporary art forms.

This text-heavy tome by art historian Katja Kwastek offers readers a set of tools for understanding and analyzing both new-media art and other contemporary art forms. Suitable for both artists and theoreticians, Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art explores the history and terminology of interactive art and highlights exemplary case studies. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT … Read More

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July 31, 2014

Book Synopsis: Rosalie

Peter Weibel's book on the innovative, interactive light sculptures of German artist Rosalie.

In 2013, Stuttgart-based artist Rosalie introduced new concepts to the genre of light art with three large-scale, kinetic, and interactive light and space sculptures for the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig. Rosalie: LightScapes documents these and other works in full-page color photographs. Included with the publication is a DVD that shows the artist’s works … Read More

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Book Cover: “Crossover,” by Cecil Balmond.

July 31, 2014

Book Synopsis: Crossover

A rich compilation of building plans, project sketches, and written notes by artist-architect Cecil Balmond.

This dense, rich book by artist-architect Cecil Balmond is a compilation of his plans, sketches, and written notes about his recent building projects (including collaborations with Anish Kapoor and Rem Koolhaas). Crossover is both an explanatory guide and an art project all its own. London, England: Prestel Publishing, 2013

Public Art Review | Books, Public Art Review