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

Public Art Review | Books, Public Art Review

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

July 28, 2014

A Love Letter to the City

Stephen Powers

Artist Stephen Powers combines community activism with public art to reflect a neighborhood’s collective hopes and dreams through murals. All of the locations of his works converge for the first time in A Love Letter to the City, a vibrant collection of images and anecdotes. Locations include Dublin and Belfast in Ireland; Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and … Read More

Public Art Review | Books, Public Art Review

June 13, 2014

America’s Garden of Art

Joseph Antenucci Becherer, Larry Ten Harmsel, and David S. Hooker

Frederik Meijer, founder of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, wanted primarily to bring people joy and make the world better through the confluence of art and horticulture. His efforts shine in America’s Garden of Art, a lush visual narrative that tells the story of Meijer Gardens from its conception. Photographs by William J. Herbert … Read More

Public Art Review | Books, Public Art Review

June 3, 2014

The Object

Antony Hudek, ed.

Part of the Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art series, The Object is a compilation of texts that explore the nature of the object in art. Drawing distinctions between objects and “things,” the artists, theorists, and other writers in this anthology reevaluate how objects exist and relate to each other. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2014 Click … Read More

Public Art Review | Books, Public Art Review

April 13, 2014

All That We Share

Jay Walljasper

Artists became individuals when they began signing their paintings. In recent decades, a new Renaissance has dawned: a different sort of paradigm shift in which the we of eons ago joins the me of more recent centuries. Art is for the artist, sure, but (as public artists know) it’s ultimately for the public—a core of … Read More

Reviewed by Dan Wahl | Books, Public Art Review

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

January 25, 2014

What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation

Tom Finkelpearl

Social cooperation, according to art historian Claire Bishop, is artwork that is participatory, relational, interactive, collaborative, or socially engaged. In the United States, it’s often referred to as social practice, and when it comes to a shared definition (to say nothing of a name) the waters around this genre of work are muddy at best. … Read More

Reviewed by Kirstin Wiegmann | Books, Public Art Review