Featured

June 15, 2017

Hard Work in a Hybrid Space

Public art administrators have to handle demands from multiple stakeholders, private and public—while staying true to mission (and as upbeat as possible)

Public art program administrators and their colleagues who run public-art-oriented nonprofits need to be negotiators. Not only do they have to talk a good game about their projects, they have to negotiate the conflicting demands of multiple stakeholders: artists, community groups, government entities, private-sector players like developers and building owners, and anybody else who has … 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

September 16, 2016

Bristol’s Wild Style

Powered by visionary curators, innovative local artists, a vibrant music scene—and Banksy—public art in the capital of England’s west country is making a mark

BRISTOL – The capital of England’s West Country, Bristol, is a very visual place. Houses are painted in bright colors and the city center is dominated by the graceful shapes of the sailing ships on the Floating Harbour, which faces the blue Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea. Bristol is also very visual in another … Read More

July 15, 2016

A Shift Toward Trust

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

BANGALORE, India – 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 … Read More

June 3, 2016

Northern Regeneration 1

Public art is thriving in Norway, fueled in part by the country’s burgeoning oil economy

The marble-clad roof and glass walls of Oslo’s Opera House rise, iceberg-like, from the fjord, connecting land and sea in a harmonious meeting of cultural life and the environment. So, too, is the Snøhetta-designed Opera House a place where art meets the public. The sloping roof is designed so that anyone who wishes may clamber … Read More