Books

April 8, 2016

The Freak-Garde: Extraordinary Bodies and Revolutionary Art in America

Robin Blyn

English-professor Blyn traces the history of the freak show in America, while highlighting seminal artists and writers who have appropriated freak show art—from Mark Twain to Nathanael West and Diane Arbus—to create powerful, memorable work. This book offers a more nuanced understanding of the art of human curiosity. Click here to purchase.

Public Art Review | Books, Public Art Review

April 1, 2016

Design Like You Give a Damn [2]: Building Change from the Ground Up

Architecture for Humanity, ed.

Compiled by nonprofit design services firm Architecture for Humanity, Design Like You Give a Damn [2] highlights more than 100 innovative architectural design projects in the U.S. and abroad that address a specific region’s needs. This handbook also features case studies and interviews. Click here to purchase.

Public Art Review | Books, Public Art Review

March 25, 2016

Hotel Yeoville

Terry Kurgan

When artist Terry Kurgan landed a commission in Yeoville, a suburb on the eastern edge of Johannesburg, South Africa, she was struck by the discrepancy between the popular image of Yeoville’s immigrants and the way she knew them to be. Popular media depicted them as abject, poor, and resourceless; Kurgan found them intelligent, creative, and … Read More

Reviewed by Lauren Bedosky | Books, Public Art Review

March 18, 2016

New York’s Underground Art Museum: MTA Arts & Design

Authors: Sandra Bloodworth and William Ayres

The great hive of New York City depends on its subway system to meet the transportation needs of its ever-expanding population. People from all walks of life—from stockbrokers to students, homeless to Helen Mirren—rely upon this underground “social equalizer,” which significantly affects the social health of the city. The public art commissioned for subway stations … Read More

Megan Guerber | Books, Public Art Review

March 11, 2016

Laura Anderson Barbata: Transcommunality—Interventions and Collaborations in Stilt Dancing Communities

Melissa Porter

Mexican artist Laura Anderson Barbata’s practice, though often rather tall, is firmly rooted at the intersection of art and community, a site she regards as one of great power. Barbata began stilt walking as part of a varied artistic practice. After studying sculpture and printmaking, and creating works that blend graphite drawings, papermaking, and site-specific … Read More

Reviewed by Amelia Foster | Books, Public Art Review

March 4, 2016

Public Space Acupuncture

Authors: Helena Casanova and Jesus Hernandez.

For nearly as long as people have been thinking, theorizing, and writing about cities, they have been comparing them to the human body. Cities come to life. They have hearts and arteries and tissue. They have a lifeblood; they can thrive; they can get sick; they can heal. Historically, many urban planners and architects took … Read More

Laine Bergeson | Books, Public Art Review

February 24, 2016

The Little Free Library Book

Author: Margret Aldrich

Artists and activists like to talk about the “grassroots.” But the number of ideas and projects that are truly powered by a decentralized network of passionate, everyday people is surprisingly few. Most movements that claim to be grassroots are driven, in fact, by centralized institutions that prescribe their agenda, language, and funding. This fact makes … Read More

Joe Hart | Books, Public Art Review

February 17, 2016

Public Art (Now): Out of Time, Out of Place

Editor: Claire Doherty

Placemaking may be a default strategy for many public art projects of the past several years, but what about art that, on its face, intends to do the opposite? There is value in the disruption of place and time, and Claire Doherty’s survey of 42 remarkable public artworks in her book Public Art (Now) shows … Read More

Shauna Dee | Books, Public Art Review

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 1

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