Featured

December 6, 2017

Wildstyle on the High Plains

The RedCan graffiti jam connects kids on South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Reservation with major street artists—and their own traditions

As you drive down a certain desolate stretch of U.S. Route 212 in South Dakota, you eventually come to a town with a weather-beaten water tower, a single woebegone grocery, and a sign for Main Street. Turn onto this one-mile thoroughfare and the built environment soon transforms from drab to dramatic. In place of the … Read More

November 29, 2017

Cities As If People Mattered

Inspired and led by visionary Theaster Gates, Place Lab aims at nothing less than a transformation of how we talk about, and carry out, urban redevelopment

“Ethical redevelopment” is urbanism focused on equity, and equity is an American tradition. At our best, we strive for equal access to public education, impartiality in hiring, and fairness in housing, to name just a few areas of concern (and struggle, in the current political climate). Ethical redevelopment happens when public artists, architects, designers, urban … Read More

November 15, 2017

RESIST

Artists ask us to rise up

Art is resistance. Resistance can be defined as “the refusal to accept or comply,” and artists, by their very nature, question what is and why. They dig beneath the surface to get at the human essence. Throughout our history, art and artists have resisted oppression, violence, injustice, and inequality. Today, at an unprecedented moment in … Read More

November 8, 2017

Micro-housing in Beijing

Starting in 2010, Zhang Ke led a team that used alleyway design to revitalize Beijing neighborhoods

Under the aegis of the city’s official design showcase, Beijing Design Week (BJDW), architects and designers are making interventions into two traditional Beijing neighborhoods that are both innovative and respectful of scale and tradition. Dazhalan (Dashilar in the Beijing dialect) is an 800-year-old neighborhood not far from Tiananmen Square that became the city’s main business … Read More

June 1, 2017

What Are We Risking?

An interview with Carlton Turner

Carlton Turner is all about creating narratives: true narratives that challenge lazy assumptions about the world and what art and artists are—narratives that confront false limitations on what art can say and how it can change the world. Since 2001, Turner has worked with Alternate ROOTS, a regional arts membership organization based in Atlanta; he … Read More

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

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