On Location

January 9, 2017

The March of the Art Shanties

On a frozen Minnesota lake, strange and wonderful structures initiate visitors into the secrets of winter

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. – With the door of the small shanty closed, the only light comes from under your boots: the ghostly blue-white of ice 16 inches thick. The water below that layer of ice is another 15 or so feet deep. Whatever sunlight diffuses through the surrounding water and ice gives the shanty … Read More

December 14, 2016

Belfast: Walls Beyond Wars

Street artists in Northern Ireland turn away from the old angers

BELFAST – Belfast’s walls have long been occupied by painted murals, mainly bearing political images and messages of protest. Catholics and protestants, feminists and conservative groups, anti-abortion and pro-choice movements used to fight with spray cans to own their territory. But now, not quite 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement – which, in 1998, … Read More

Melissa Chemam | On Location, Public Art Review

December 9, 2016

A Concrete Rebirth

Alberto Burri’s monumental land art project in Sicily finally came to completion—in the artist’s centennial year

SICILY – In October 2015, the art world celebrated the centenary of influential Italian painter Alberto Burri with a major exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. In the same month Il Grande Cretto, Burri’s land art project in Sicily, was finally completed after 30 years—and the monumental work is now inspiring artists worldwide. … Read More

Melissa Chemam | On Location, Public Art Review

December 5, 2016

Temporary Inspires Permanent

Activists’ sculptures evoke the fate of conscientious objectors—and the public now wants a permanent memorial

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – In the early morning of April 25, 2016, two life-size and lifelike sculptures of soldiers appeared in public plazas in the center of New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. The figures, wearing World War I uniforms, were bound hand and foot and tied to posts. Their contorted poses reproduced the military’s “field … Read More

October 28, 2016

A Project Mapped by the Crowd, in the Cloud

An interactive online map turned this San Francisco “art hike” into a crowdsourced collaboration

SAN FRANCISCO – Magazines and newspapers were once the primary platform for artists seeking to reach the public, and they’re still important. But the last decade has seen a blizzard of new media outlets like websites and blogs, social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and a plethora of mobile apps. For individual artists, managing … Read More

Public Art Review | On Location, Public Art Review

October 21, 2016

An Island Reborn

Public art stands to play a vital placemaking role in the $5 billion redevelopment of San Francisco’s Treasure Island

SAN FRANCISCO – One man’s trash, runs the old saw, is another’s treasure. In the case of San Francisco’s Treasure Island, the “trash” consisted of some 500 acres’ worth of gravel and dredged sand dumped on a dangerous reef to create a site for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. And the treasure? After decades … Read More

October 19, 2016

The Arch Turns 50

New grounds show off Saarinen’s modernist masterpiece

ST. LOUIS – To mark the fiftieth anniversary of “Topping Out Day”—the harrowing placement of the keystone into the St. Louis Gateway Arch on October 28, 1965—a metaphorical keystone will drop into place with the completion of the new Park Over the Highway. Long severed from downtown St. Louis by Interstate 44, the Arch will … Read More

Stefene Russell | On Location, Public Art Review

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

September 12, 2016

Milwaukee Moves

In Creational Trails, Sara Daleiden’s role as artist involves curating and crafting conversations

MILWAUKEE – Think “art” and “Milwaukee” and what most likely comes to mind is the dramatic visual spectacle of the Santiago Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum set on the shore of Lake Michigan. The architectural landmark features winglike structures that extend twice daily as if to take flight across the lake. But no … Read More

Jacqueline White | On Location, Public Art Review

August 17, 2016

Rio’s Gold-Medal Street Art

Work by Brazilian artists—including Eduardo Kobra—in the streets of Rio de Janeiro

RIO DE JANEIRO – When it comes to public art in Rio de Janeiro, French street-art star JR’s three massive sculptural images of young athletes in action have garnered most of the international attention. (JR is one of three official Olympic artists-in-residence; the other two are German writer Tilman Spengler and American Vine-video star Gerald … Read More

Public Art Review | On Location, Public Art Review

August 4, 2016

“Lightgraff” Calligraphy in Western Australia

Tunisian artist Karim Jabbari “writes” in light in a dramatic landscape

FORM bills itself as “an independent, non-profit cultural organisation… that develops and advocates for excellence in creativity and artistic practice in Western Australia.” The nonprofit is headquartered in central Perth, but its associated venues, and its programming, reach far out into the vast state, which includes some of the most dramatic landscapes on earth. In … Read More

Public Art Review | On Location, Public Art Review

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