Issue 43 — Realism & Representation

Issue 43 explores the marked increase in the quantity and quality of representational public art in the U.S. and abroad. Guest Editors Patricia Phillips and Nancy Princenthal present a selection of feature articles focusing on realism, figurative sculpture, and new forms of public portraiture. Articles cover such diverse concepts as “liberty” in post-apartheid Johannesburg, public art on a pedestal (literally), reenactments of significant protest speeches, and two artists’ reflections on the concept of memorial.

According to Phillips and Princenthal, the authors in this issue “address questions of how replication and substitution relate to realistic depiction. They accept the permeability of boundaries between live performance and figurative sculpture, and are interested in problems of simulation and reenactment. Room is found for photography and video in the public realm, and even for painting.”

Artists featured in this issue include: Antony Gormley, Kate Gilmore, William Cochran, Roman Signer, Reshada Crouse, Marlene Dumas, William Kentridge, Judith Shea, Patricia Cronin, William Pope.L, and Mark Tribe.

The Featured State for Issue 43 is New York, where the abundance of permanent and temporary public artworks is unmatched. On Location reports also highlight the University of California campus system, Atlanta, St. Paul, Shanghai, and Taiwan. Conference reports survey recent public art events in Toronto and Baltimore, and a generous sampling of recent publications, book reviews, news, and recent projects rounds out the issue.

Every day public artists, often in collaboration with other design professionals, are helping to elevate quality of life by turning the places we share—cities, highways, parks, waterways, and neighborhoods—into meaningful, regenerative spaces. We hope the ideas in this issue’s feature articles inspire you to imagine and create a more livable future.



  • Putting Him, and Her, on a Pedestal:
  • Antony Gormley & Kate Gilmore
  • By David Frankel
  • Experiments:
  • The figurative, temporal, and sometimes explosive works of Roman Signer
  • By Gregory Volk
  • Public Ritual:
  • William Pope.L and exorcisms of abject otherness
  • By Derek Conrad Murray and Soraya Murray
  • Two Artists Reflect on the Contemporary Memorial:
  • Memorial to a Marriage
  • By Patricia Cronin
  • Legacy Collection
  • By Judith Shea
  • Taking Public Liberties:
  • Three graces in an African metropolis
  • By Leora Maltz-Leca
  • Cash Cows:
  • The CowParade and its discontents
  • By Susan Tallman
  • Reenactment & Media Representation:
  • Interview with Mark Tribe
  • By Patricia C. Phillips

Soap Box

  • By Ellen Driscoll

On Location

  • UCIRA and embedded arts research across California
  • By Kim Yasuda
  • Made in Taiwan: Environmental art on the Beautiful Island
  • By Elizabeth Wilson
  • Memorial Reconceived: Public art as platform in Atlanta
  • By Cinque Hicks
  • Life on the Avenue: Wing Young Huie looks at Saint Paul
  • By Diane Mullin
  • Lost in Bureaucracy: Missed opportunities at the Shanghai Expo
  • By Adam Minter


  • Great reads!

U.S. and International Recent Projects

Forecast News

Last Page

  • Crossword Puzzle By Myles Mellor


On the cover: Fire Walker [2009] by Johannesburg-born artists William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx, is situated on a previously derelict traffic island in Joburg. At ten meters tall, with no 90-degree angles, the sculpture depicts—from one angle—a silhouetted image of a woman walking with a fire brazier balanced on her head, an everyday sight in the city. The artwork was commissioned by the Trinity Session and funded by the Johannesburg Development Agency. See Taking Public Liberties: Three graces in an African metropolis by Leora Maltz-Leca.


Public Ritual

William Pope.L and exorcisms of abject otherness

Magazine Feature

Public Ritual

William Pope.L and exorcisms of abject otherness

On Location

Made in Taiwan

Environmental art on the Beautiful Island

Recent Projects


Artist: Janet Echelman


Artist: Tony Tasset


Artists: Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond