On Location

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)

TWIN CITIES – 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 … Read More

Sheila Regan | On Location, Public Art Review

March 31, 2017

The Makeover of Milan’s “Rainbow Tower”

A beloved civic symbol got a major refurbishment just in time for a world’s fair

MILAN – In a world where public art is in danger of deterioration because of maintenance-budget restrictions, forgetfulness, or the sheer complexity of city life, some works are simply too iconic not to refurbish. Case in point: The 2015 makeover of the “Rainbow Tower” (Torre Arcobaleno) near Milan’s fashionable, design-conscious Garibaldi district. Built in 1964 … Read More

Public Art Review | On Location, Public Art Review

February 17, 2017

Arabian Artscape

The United Arab Emirates’ nascent public art scene

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – With a rapidly expanding gallery culture in Dubai, the Louvre and Guggenheim set to open museums in Abu Dhabi, strong annual art fairs in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, more than 18 museums and cultural institutions operating in Sharjah, and government and museum support for bringing in public art from around … Read More

February 13, 2017

Going with the Flow

Los Angeles’s first biennial uses public art as a catalyst to engage citizens in a conversation about water

LOS ANGELES – On a sweltering Saturday afternoon in July, I joined a handful of other spectators in crouching at the paved edge of the Los Angeles River. “Water has memory,” a voice said and echoed over the gentle stream where four women dressed in shades of gray stood knee-deep in the water, gesturing toward … Read More

Angella D’Avignon | On Location, Public Art Review

February 6, 2017

Dialing for Wisdom

Candy Chang’s latest project invites passersby to spin a giant wheel and read short fables for insight

PHILADELPHIA – Candy Chang’s Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection invites interaction and introspection in Philadelphia. Officially unveiled on July 5 on South Juniper Street, the 30-foot mural was months in the making. Chang engaged neighborhood residents in the creation of the mural, made up of more than 200,000 fingerprints. At street level, … Read More

Amelia Foster | On Location, Public Art Review

January 27, 2017

Breathing Cathedral

American artist Stuart Williams’s moving light work in remembrance of lives lost during the Dresden bombing

Ever since I saw the film Slaughterhouse Five in 1972, based on Kurt Vonnegut’s seminal novel, I have been haunted by a scene in which American prisoners of war are arriving in Dresden by train…unknowingly, just a few days before the bombing of the city in February 1945. As the train rolls across the River … Read More

Christina Lanzl | On Location, Public Art Review

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