Featured

May 23, 2017

Looking for CETA

Tracking the impact of the 1970s federal program that employed artists

There are so many reasons to celebrate what the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) did for the arts in the 1970s, but it’s difficult because the evidence is practically invisible. CETA was a federal jobs program that, like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) before it, funneled many hundreds of millions of dollars to visual … Read More

Linda Frye Burnham and Steven Durland | Featured, Magazine Feature, Public Art Review

March 3, 2017

Hunting the Symbol

An interview with sculptural landscape architect and writer Charles Jencks

DUMFRIES, Scotland – Apparently, our universe is not immense enough to contain the imagination of landscape architect and author Charles Jencks. He instead thinks in terms of multiple universes, which he evokes in his most recent work, the Crawick Multiverse, a 55-acre sculptural landscape that sits on the site of a former open-pit mine in … Read More

February 10, 2017

Transforming Spaces

Catherine Widgery’s installations use subtle motions of light, wind, and water to awaken the urban landscape—and those who inhabit it

Catherine Widgery’s epiphany as an artist came just over a decade ago with a sculpture she created for the opening of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum on Cape Cod. Stringing together rusted chains, fishing gear, shells, and other debris, she created a whirlwind of junk in the center of the gallery—and after the exhibit, … Read More

January 16, 2017

Public Ritual

William Pope.L and exorcisms of abject otherness

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’re republishing this 2010 Public Art Review article about artist William Pope.L, whose work addresses racism and social inequities.   Best known for his street performances, William Pope.L has worked for decades across a broad array of media including public interventions, stage performances, installations, painting, and found … Read More

Derek Conrad Murray and Soraya Murray | Featured, Magazine Feature, Public Art Review

December 26, 2016

Pure Genius

MacArthur Fellowships have a long tradition of rewarding innovative public artists—and of providing the resources for recipients to live free and dream big

Economic uncertainty, regardless of how it exhibits itself, has a sneaky way of stifling creativity. Conversely, financial freedom is often a potent muse. Just ask the artists, writers, scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, and other pioneering souls who—after being awarded a vaunted MacArthur Fellowship—suddenly found themselves blessed with the freedom to dream radically, experiment spontaneously and, if … Read More

December 19, 2016

Portable Land Art

Vaughn Bell’s playful works are inspired by serious issues of humankind and our environment

Vaughn Bell’s work brings a quirky, humorous sensibility to a sphere that is often treated with deadly seriousness: our relationship with the environment. The Seattle-based artist literally “models” human relationships with the natural world by creating offbeat objects like the Portable Personal Biosphere, a terrarium that fits over the head so that the wearer carries … Read More

July 13, 2016

Climate Storytelling

Subtle, elegant, and arresting, public art projects on a human scale help us understand climate change

One of the greatest gifts an artist can offer is to show us the world as it is. Our sense of what is real is often clouded by our preoccupations, passivity, or politics. But when an artwork removes these filters and allows us to see as the artist sees, we can be changed. Our perspective … Read More

Karen Olson | Featured, Public Art Review

June 15, 2016

Culture Worker

Mankwe Ndosi uses sound to build understanding in a diverse neighborhood

MINNEAPOLIS – Mankwe Ndosi believes that performance is powerful, sound is transformative, and that music lives everywhere. “Everyone has a daily soundtrack,” says the Minneapolis-based artist. “Music is in people’s daily lives.” Today the Harvard graduate works to gather the musical soundtracks in city dwellers’ everyday lives, whether those are the echoes and vibrations off … Read More

Laine Bergeson | Featured, Public Art Review

June 13, 2016

Opening Up Urban Space

Two mirrored projects call attention to space in densely populated neighborhoods

NEW YORK / SAN FRANCISCO – In New York and San Francisco, two temporary installations have transformed public walkways with reflective materials, drawing attention to how we think about open space in dense urban areas. Five hundred feet of golden foliage-like polished metal plates form six porous canopies above paths in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park … Read More

Anna Renken | Featured, Public Art Review

June 8, 2016

“Open Source” Philadelphia

Breaking new ground in art as in tech

PHILADELPHIA – Scrap materials like aluminum became works of art at a waste transfer station set up in South Philadelphia by local multimedia artists and brothers Billy and Steven Dufala. Taking cues from children’s drawings of their ideal play structures, Los Angeles–based artist Sterling Ruby designed an outdoor sculpture for them to climb that also … Read More

Anna Renken | Featured, Public Art Review

June 6, 2016

Marina Abramovic: In Residence

The famous performance artist includes participants in her recent Sydney Project

In the course of her 40-year career as a performance artist, Marina Abramovic has been providing audiences with experiences that originated outside their bodies—movements and sounds and ideas that poured forth from her and washed over them. Those works have been transformative, and recognized as such. She was awarded Best Artist at the 1997 Venice … Read More

Laine Bergeson | Featured, Public Art Review

June 1, 2016

Walking on Water

Christo’s latest project, set for completion this summer in Italy, will be an exercise in “sexy” island-hopping

LAKE ISEO – In the summer of 2016, Bulgarian-born artist Christo will install his latest project, The Floating Piers, on Italy’s Lake Iseo, 60 miles east of Milan. Two hundred thousand cubes made of high-density polyethylene, filled with air and covered with soft nylon fabric tinted dahlia-yellow, will create an Oz-like pathway that allows the … Read More

Karen Gardiner | Featured, Public Art Review