Featured

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

October 9, 2016

Museums Go Public

Around the country, museums are collaborating with public artists and shedding their highbrow image

Over the years, in these pages we’ve chronicled the evolution of public art from “plop art”—the big sculptural object by the renowned artist dropped into the public place—into a dynamic ecosystem of artistic practices, from mural-making to event-making, that are more and more focused on the histories, needs, and wishes of communities, and more and … Read More

Jon Spayde | Featured, Public Art Review

July 15, 2016

A Shift Toward Trust

Indian artist Jasmeen Patheja describes her work and the genesis of the Talk To Me project

Jasmeen Patheja began addressing critical social issues early in her career as an artist. While still an art student in Bangalore, India, in 2003, she initiated a project that ultimately led to the formation of Blank Noise, a collective that emerged in response to the widespread harassment and rape of women. Blank Noise creates interactive … 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

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 a freeway … 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

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 in Teresita Fernández’s Fata Morgana. “My … Read More

Anna Renken | Featured, Public Art Review

June 8, 2016

“Open Source” Philadelphia

Breaking new ground in art as in tech

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 provided a … 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

May 2, 2016

Taking Public Liberties:

Three graces in an African metropolis

Three public “liberties”—all thumbing their nose to varying degrees at Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People (1830)—are tramping through downtown Johannesburg: The amazon of Reshada Crouse’s painting Passive Resistance hails audiences from the Nelson Mandela Theater; the child in Marlene Dumas’ tapestry The Benefit of the Doubt surveys the Constitutional Court; and William Kentridge and … Read More

Leora Maltz-Leca | Featured, Public Art Review

April 29, 2016

Co-Creationists

Curators are emerging as an important force in the world of public art

Where does public art come from? How does it get made? These are simple enough questions, but they raise some complicated issues—especially when it comes to the emerging forms of “social practice” that are rapidly reshaping the world of public art. Consider the monumental steel sculpture that towers over a corporate plaza or the mural … Read More

April 27, 2016

Artists and Fabricators: Constructing a Relationship

Artist Mark Dion and fabricators Rick and Ido Yoshimoto forged a collaborative bond in creating The Ship Chandler

Public art is public memory, in either intention or effect. Some pieces commemorate history; others become landmarks, anchoring new memories. The Ship Chandler, Mark Dion’s installation for the Port of Los Angeles, plays with this truth. The work disrupts the present with a visitation from a past that is not so much remembered as imagined. … Read More

Arlene Goldbard | Featured, Public Art Review