ISSUE 33 FALL / WINTER 2005
A new three-building, two and a half block Justice Center campus is being planned for The City and County of Denver. The project, to be located adjacent to Denver's Cultural complex and Civic Center Park includes a $3.8 million Public Art budget - the largest since the Denver International Airport.
If y o u ' d like t o be c o n s i d e r e d , visit
www.denvergov.org/publicart a n d j o i n o u r m a i l i n g list o r call 7 2 0 - 9 1 3 - 8 2 2 0
O F F I C E OF C U L T U R A L
W e l l i n g t o n E. W e b b M u n i c i p a l B u i l d i n g 201 W. C o l f a x Ave., D e p t . 1 0 0 7 | D e n v e r , CO 8 0 2 0 2
STOP & GO (for Garrett A. Morgan), 2 0 0 1 - 0 5 , an a r t plaza f o r Washington's new Metro s t a t i o n , Morgan Boulevard, Prince George Co. Concrete, color tiles, planters, red and green a n i m a t e d LED signs. WMATA Art in Transit Program. (Photos: Richard Spear) Dedicated to Garrett Augustus Morgan, inventor of the first electric traffic sign. The station received a 2005 AIA award of excellence.
PUBLIC COMMISSIONS IN PROGRESS: • Riding with Sarah and Wayne, 2 0 0 4 - 0 6 , black, red and g r e y g r a n i t e , o n e - m i l e - l o n g t r a c k b e d f o r t h e new Light Rail s y s t e m , N e w a r k , NJ • Mohammad Ali Center plaza w i t h amphitheater and t w o fountains (in collaboration w i t h EDAW, Alexandria, V A ) , 2 0 0 2 - 0 6 , Louisville, KY • Plaza p a v e m e n t w i t h obelisk f o u n t a i n , a n i m a t e d RGB ceiling in s h o p p i n g arcade a n d light t o w e r , f o r Wisconsin Place, a 5 - a c r e d e v e l o p m e n t , 2 0 0 2 - 0 8 , Friendship Heights, Bethesda, MD • Recent one-artist show, Athena Tacha: Shields and Universes, 2004, Marsha Mateyka Gallery, Washington, DC
Blumenthal Sheet Metal Custom Metal Fabricators Art - Architecture - Commerce - Industry
Petal and Stems by artist Floyd Newsum Main Street Square, Metrorail, Houston, Texas 2003 Stainless Steel Fabrication by Blumenthal Sheet Metal
1710 Burnett Street-Houston TX 77026 (713)228-6432 Fax (713) 223-3410 www.blumenthalsheetmetal.com
What do you need to know? The Arizona State University graduate Certificate in Public Art offers coursework and internships designed to meet the distinctive needs of artists and art administrators in this dynamic and competitive field. http://herbergercollege.asu.edu/public_art/certificate Arizona State University, Herberger College of Fine Arts PO Box 872102, Tempe, AZ 85287-2102, A t t n : Public Art 1 my (a<M.wWliTTieMone and btosi
CITY OF SAN JOSE
is pleased to announce approval of
the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport Public Art Master Plan. The Master Plan focuses on the intersection of art and technology.
C I T Y OF
SANjOSE CAPITAL O F SILICON VALLEY
It can be downloaded and viewed in its entirety at
Information regarding artist
opportunities will soon be available on our website.
SACRAMENTO METROPOLITAN ARTS COMMISSION A City / County Agency
Congratulates Artists Dennis Oppenheim & SeyedAlavi on their recent accomplishments at the Sacramento International Airport
the sky's the
Scycd A l a v i
If y o u w o u l d like to learn more about upcoming opportunities for Public Art in Sacramento please visit 2030 Del Paso Boulevard Sacramento, CA 95815 916.566.3992
o u r w e b site at
www.ScottsdalePublicArt.org | 480-874-4645 7380 E. Second Street, Scottsdale. Arizona 85251
Jomes Turrell, Knighl Rise, 2 0 0 ) , a publit "skyspace" commissioned by the Scotlsdale Publit Ail Progiam foi llie Nancy and Art Schwnlm Sculpture Garden, Scottsdale Museum of Contempoiory Ait. Photo: Opus Advertising, LLC.
The City of Calgary
PUBLIC ART PROGRAM Opportunities | Events I Information | www.calgary.oa/publicart /
THE CITY OF
The City of Las Vegas Arts Commission invites artists in all media to participate in its Artists Registry for upcoming public art projects. ^
Access the Artist Registry form @:
lasvegasnevada.gov/lvac For questions call:
Metro Arts+Transit is proud to announce that the following artists have been selected to create permanent public artwork at 7 new stations, part of the MetroLink Extension.
Ellen Driscoll Forest Park-DeBaliviere Brower Hatcher University City-Big Bend Douglas Hollis Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44
t Z j
C I T Y O F P H O E N I X PHOENIX OFFICE OF ARTS A N D CULTURE P U B L I C A R T P R O G R A M
Kristin Jones & Andrew Ginzel Richmond Heights-Galleria Erwin Redl Skinker
INFUSION: 2 0 Y e a r s o f P u b l i c A r t i n P h o e n i x available for purchase at 1.800.321.4510 or online at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/bookstore
Lindsey Stouffer Forsyth
Projects, publications, milestones call listings, and m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n at w w w . p h o e n i x . g o v / A R T S
Janet Zweig Maplewood-Manchester
FEATURED PROJECT: P a r a d i s e L a n e P e d e s t r i a n B r i d g e , P h o e n i x , A r i z o n a B r i d g e c a g e d e s i g n by L i n n e a G l a t t P h o t o by C r a i g S m i t h
A r t s + T r a n s i t 707 N. First St., St. Louis, MO 63102 P: (314) 982-1412 F: (314) 923-3019 www.artsintransit.org
a benefit for FORECAST Public Artworks publisher of P u b l i c A r f R e v i e w
sale + auction event november 1 8 + 1 9 minneapolis, mn
online auction of selected works @ forecastART.org beginning DECEMBER 1,2005 Alice Adams Ta-coumba Aiken Kinji Akagawa
Seyed Alavi Anne Alwell
M.D. Bigger Joan Brigham Cathey Billian Alex Boies Richard Bonk Willis Bowman Frank Brown Heinz Brummel
James Carpenter Melisande Charles
Philip & Mary S. Rickey
Siddiqi Ray Harry Reese
Melissa Bean Scott Bean Randall Wm. Bennett
Dick Huss Perry Ingli Stephen Jerrom
Amanda Degener Leila Denecke
Ellen Driscoll Jan D. Elftmann ^EMmaby B m i J Steve Farley Chris Faust Willie Faust
Kristin Jones/Andrew Ginzel Renata E. Sack Benjamin Jose Mark R. Safford Brad Kaspari Meg Saligman Diane Katsiaficas Scott Sandell Ann Klefstad Maria Santiago Sheila Klein Kent Scheer
Tom Krueger Caprice Kueffner Glaser
Bruce Shapiro Andrew Shea
Chris Larson Nicholas Legeros
Michael Singer May Sun
Bonnie Fournier Jim Henkel Douglas 0. Freeman Jane Frees-Kluth
Athena Tacha Denise S. Tennen Joe Tromiczak Amy Toscani
Jack Mackie Norbert Marklin Kelly Marshall
Vance Gellert Leslie Gerstman Nancy Gipple
Chris Monroe Carl Cheng Aldo Moroni Judy Chicago Lana Grow Barb Nei Keith Christensen Craig Gullickson Kent Nerburn Allen Christian Peter Haakon Thompson John O'Brien Christo & Jeanne-Claude Judy Onofrio Sheila Hicks Howard Christopherson John Hock Dennis Oppenheim William Cochran Wing Young Huie Michael Pilla
Jantje Visscher Randy Walker
Susan Warner Rob Wilkinson Foster Willey Jr.
Steven Woodward Elyn Zimmerman Janet Zweig
thanks to sponsors below and Mary and Chuck Leer, HAY DOBBS P A. Architects, Vermillion Editions, Picture Frame Supply, Bev's Wine Bar, Birchwood Cafe and Moose & Sadie's Cafe.
B K V smm G R O U I
, u M S & R
GOB D o w n t o w n
D ^ L p
•SIC>_¥*•>V» RFTS Of TMl OTYTOWEB
Letters to the
FORECAST Public Artworks is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that strengthens and advances the
In the S p r i n g / S u m m e r 2005 issue ("A
Tale of 4
field of public art locally, regionally and nationally by expanding participation, supporting artists,
Cities"), Jerry Allen mischaracterized a local group of
i n f o r m i n g a u d i e n c e s a n d assisting c o m m u n i t i e s . The board a n d staff of FORECAST gratefully
p u b l i c artists, called Public A d d r e s s , as being an i m p e d i m e n t to realizing a public art master plan for
acknowledge the generosity of the following advertisers and donors!
San Diego. In actuality, our members made eloquent and convincing arguments before the city council for
a d o p t i o n of the policy, a n d v o l u n t e e r e d n u m e r o u s
Americans for the Arts: Public Art Network • Arizona State University • Art & Architecture Journal
hours during the planning process to help ensure the
• Athena Tacha • Banner Creations • Blumenthal Sheet Metal • Chicago Public Art Group • City of
strongest possible o u t c o m e for our city's p u b l i c art
Atlanta • The City of Calgary • City of Las Vegas Arts Commission • City of Palm Desert • City of
program. The work of Public Address is advocacy, not
San Jos6 • City of Tampa • David Hayes • Denver Office of Cultural Affairs • Franz Mayer of Munich • JunoWorks • Metro Art • Metro Arts+Transit • Miller Interpretive Design • Mosaika Art
just for the individual artist, but for the city and San Diego-Tijuana region as a whole. The artists/members of Public Address
& Design • M u s e u m Services • Myklebust + Sears • Nathan Zakheim Associates • Phoenix Office
of Arts and Culture • Polich Art Works • Ray King Studio • RDG Dahlquist Art Studio • Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission • Scottsdale Public Art • Sunrise Systems • USC School of Fine
Congratulations on the terrific new look of Public
Review and thanks to Giilgiin Kayim for the article on
Arts • Visual Impact • Western States Arts Federation • Wisconsin Arts Board
the Hiawatha line (Issue 32, S p r i n g / S u m m e r 2005). T h e H i a w a t h a line is i n d e e d h a n d s o m e . I'd like to
comment on two points in the article. First, the idea
Kinji Akagawa • Tullio Alessi • A n n e T. Alwell • Marvel Anderson • Animal Emergency Clinic • A n o n y m o u s • C h r i s t i n e B a e u m l e r • T h o m a s B a n n i s t e r • Harriet Bart • Peg Birk • Blue Sky
for c o m m i s s i o n i n g an interactive a n d s y s t e m - w i d e artwork, w h i c h was realized by Janet Zweig with her brilliant work Small Kindnesses,
Creamery • Richard Bonk • Carolyn Braaksma • James Brimeyer • Archibald Bush Foundation •
w a s the result of a m e e t i n g a m o n g Joan M o n d a l e ,
Ed Carpenter • Elizabeth Childs • Allen Christian • T. Allan Comp • Edith Conklin • Daniel
chair of the Hiawatha Art & Design Committee; Kathy
Cornejo • Nancy Ann Coyne • Laura and John Crosby • Craig David • Episcopal Homes Foundation
H a l b r e i c h , d i r e c t o r of t h e Walker Art C e n t e r a n d
• F a n n i e Mae F o u n d a t i o n • Carole F i s h e r • Regina M. Flanagan • Barbara Grygutis • Rex
m e m b e r of the s a m e committee; a n d myself. It w a s
Gulbranson • A n n M. Hale • John Hale • Hirsch Family Foundation • Norman Holen • Wing
K a t h y ' s s u g g e s t i o n that w e c o n s i d e r c r e a t i n g an opportunity for an interactive media work.
Young Huie • Jerome Foundation • Maria and Fred Klein • The McKnight Foundation • Megan Second, I want to clarify my comment about
LeBoutillier • Nicholas Legeros • Kathleen and Mark Lindblad • Lucy Lippard • Geoffrey Martin •
bringing in additional artists following the initial work
Malcolm and Wendy McLean • Minnesota State Arts Board • Joan Mondale • Laura and Philipp
of the five architectural team artists. The initial artists
Muessig • T.T. Newbold • Stuart Nielsen • Olson & Company Advertising • Park Midway Bank •
were instrumental to the success of the station designs
Laurie P h i l l i p s • P a t r i c i a P h i l l i p s • P h i l i p Piatt a n d Virginia M c B r i d e • Joyce P o m e r o y -
and they did a diligent job of assessing commission
S c h w a r t z • Wayne a n d Virginia Potratz • Susan and Greg R a p p a p o r t • Julius Rosenwald III •
o p p o r t u n i t i e s , but because they were brought on as c o n s u l t a n t s to the design firm that o v e r s a w t h e
Rebecca Ryan a n d Derek Johnson • A. William Sands • Jon Schoonmaker • St. Paul Riverfront Corporation • Mierle Ukeles • United Arts Workplace Giving Program • University Bank • Emily
schematic development of the stations, they did not continue past that point of design. And because they had been involved in identifying commission opportu-
Wadsworth • Wellington Management • Charles and Julie Zelle
nities, they were c o n s i d e r e d ineligible to a p p l y for those. Subsequently, many residents and stakeholders were
^ Jcr^ Hut,
THE MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION
ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS
d e s c e n d e d on their n e i g h b o r h o o d s seeking i n p u t to
inform their artwork. "Where did the first artists go?" was a common complaint.
S u p p o r t f r o m t h e M i n n e s o t a S t a t e A r t s B o a r d is t h r o u g h a n a p p r o p r i a t i o n f r o m t h e M i n n e s o t a S t a t e L e g i s l a t u r e a n d a g r a n t b y t h e N E A .
To me, this seemed an inelegant way to construct a design process. I am n o w leery of bifurcated approaches to design where artists are asked to make
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d e c i s i o n s that suggest d i r e c t i o n s for other artists. I believe there are better ways. I think the topic w o u l d m a k e for an interesting d i s c u s s i o n at a f u t u r e PAN
forecastART.org — f ^ — publicARTreview.org
conference. David Allen Director, Arts In Transit, St. Louis, Missouri Former art and design program manager, Hiawatha light rail transit line
Correction Jane Ingram Allen's article, entitled "Taipei's Bunker
M u s e u m , " in PAR 32, s h o u l d more accurately have been titled "Taiwan's Bunker M u s e u m . " T h e small
Whal docs it mean when the arlist enters through the backdoor of the institution?
island of Kinmen is just off the C h i n e s e m a i n l a n d and is part of Taiwan. In addition, the photo credits s h o u l d have listed T i m o t h y S. Allen, the a u t h o r ' s husband. We apologize for the errors.
"A DOG IS A WALL"
I RECENTLY H E A R D T H I S Q U O T A T I O N F R O M ARTIST PEGGY DLGGS, W H O S E I N G E N I O U S M I L K C A R T O N PROJECT W A S FEATURED IN OUR S P R I N G / S U M M E R 1 9 9 4 ISSUE.
SHE W A S Q U O T I N G A N
I N M A T E AT G R A T E R F O R D P R I S O N
P E N N S Y L V A N I A , W H E R E SHE IS CURRENTLY D E V E L O P I N G A N E W PROJECT I N V O L V I N G T H E D E S I G N OF PRACTICAL I T E M S FOR PEOPLE W H O LIVE I N T I G H T SPACES.
The project, under the auspices of the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia, began with discussions amongst prisoners about the attributes of space. Diggs asked the group, "What does a wall do?" One man said it was "a boundary," one said "a border." One prisoner said, "A dog can be a wall." When asked what he meant, he replied, "Well, if you've ever come upon a barking, growling dog who doesn't want you to go any further, a dog is a wall." If I take that a step further, murals could be hair, spots, or even fleas. It used to be murals were paint or tiles on a wall or ceiling. But now the floor, or a landscape, or a projection, or even a concept can be a mural. The boundaries have disintegrated; the word is meaningless. A mural can be an ad, a rant, a joke, a remembrance, a political statement, or simply a pretty picture. It could be a street painting, graffiti, Web page, T-shirt, hologram, video screen, steam curtain, or relief sculpture. It could be any size—long and linear, tall and narrow, small and intimate. All I know is it usually involves a surface of some type. The great urban designer William H. Whyte once referred to our fair home city of St. Paul as the "blank wall capital of the world." This is simultaneously an insult, a challenge, and an opportunity, yet it's easy to see why cities might not want to invest in murals. They look nice for a few years, then they fade, crack, peel, or get obstructed by new buildings. Some of the bigger public art programs like Seattle don't do painted murals, perhaps because they can't afford to take care of them. Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle, considers murals a sign of community problems—something must need fixing or healing. In Santa Monica, murals are temporary, by law. Denver considers digital murals to be reproductions, presumably to avoid conflicts with the advertising industry trying to pass ads off as murals and thereby avoid permit fees. In St. Petersburg, Florida, everybody loves murals, except when they contain numbers or text. Then they're defined as signs, and you need a permit or a variance. In fact, St. Petersburg has a folk art mural celebrating black baseball heroes that is currently in violation of the ordinance, and a recently commissioned poem had to be removed from its wall. Some cities embrace murals: Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Albuquerque, and )oliet, Illinois. Chicago has a great tradition of murals going back to the 60s, and now their Millennium Park boasts a digital gargoyle, by artist )uame Plensa, with giant faces of residents spitting real
water into a wading pool. Las Vegas has the Fremont Street Experience, the largest programmable light canopy in the world—four blocks long—with an incredible sound system. It occasionally features animated works by contemporary artists, such as Jennifer Steinkamp. The practice of mural making—or muralism—is rapidly changing. Painters are losing jobs to digital photographers. Sophisticated, detailed artwork and photographic imagery can be made of glass, and terrazzo floors have achieved new levels of complexity. Laser and water-jet cutting technologies have enabled artists to expand their horizons, along with new sealants, paints, glues, and grouts. But what about the content? According to John Grant, public art director for Denver, there is a shift from political to personal. "It requires more work to decipher." I think this could be said of public art in general. Perhaps the influence of the conceptual art movement and the Fluxus group is more evident now than ever. Of course, we'll always have commercial work, children's hand prints, and nostalgic historical tableaux. My attitude is: deal with it. In this issue of Public Art Revieiv, we raise more questions than we answer. One question that seems to come up more than others is: What happened to the protest mural? We look at the present and future of muralism in the United States, with an occasional glance back. We survey the field, give voice to artists, and speculate profusely. We also hope to inspire curiosity and investigation, or perhaps stir up a bit of controversy. After all, dogs only put up with fleas for so long. Editor's
Three major hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast after all the articles for this issue were edited, and now as we go to press we are still shaken by the damage done, and can't ignore it. For my part, I can already envision the Guernica-like murals of this massive disaster: epic, monumental walls depicting the horrors, the bravery, and the outrage over poor government response. Mother nature and h u m a n nature indeed reign over us, yet we have the distancing of time and the hard work of artists to help us grieve, heal, and hope. This issue is dedicated to all those who hurt, and all those who help.
Vaeger Ait '
M f f l B ti
2005?! i Sept.
[ptures in and David Hayes
Screen Sculpture #48, 1993, Painted steel, 96 x 61 x 45 inches
:r 2004 thro www.davidhayes.com
Public A f fReview ISSUE 3 3 , V o i . 1 7 , N o . 1 â&#x20AC;˘ F A L I / W I N T E R
Public Art Group and its fearless
\ S \
Hey! Are there a n y murals around here? many great murals,
today begs the question:
are a thing of the past, but What
hits the street and subcultures
is at a crossroads
rocky terrain and heed numerous
today; artists warning
) 0 N SPAYDE
High-Tech M u r a l s
here, as evidenced
BEN H E Y W O O D
When the Web Meets the Wall websites
have grown in numbers
Just try to keep
D A V I D PETER K L U T H
Graffiti a n d G l o b a l Culture
From the wall to the world in an instant, digital
Dancing w i t h Bears
Dan Witz of Brooklyn, New York, mixes street art with
6 Loaded Questions for C o n t e m p o r a r y M u r a l i s t s
fine art. Affixed to an already-decorated wall at N. 9th Street,
T h e Dynamics of a Canvas: Graffiti and Aerosol Art
| 0 N POUNDS
JANE W E I S S M A N & JANET B R A U N - R E I N I T Z
Community, Consensus, & t h e Protest M u r a l
Here is where hip-hop
critics? Even cavemen
S E I T U KEN J O N E S
between Bedford and Berry, are acrylic-painted stickers and painted shadows (from 1997). Photo courtesy the artist.
http://www.danwitz.com Our centerfold artworks were created for this
Judy Baca's Legacy
the most influential
a new generation
of our time, Baca
CAROLE GOLD C A L 0
issue by California-based artist Seyed Alavi, whose public works push boundaries and celebrate imagination. From his Urn Here project in 1990, 79), to the
to his recent
Signs olthe Jims (pictured on
Honhere postcards presented here, Alavi brings his
poetry to life, http://here2day.netwiz.net/
Living M u r a l s in t h e Land
Can a hill with trees or a flock own words, a pioneering thoughts
L A S [ PAGI
be a mural?
and her wisdom.
Contributing editorial cartoonist Chris Monroe is a
Duluth-based artist and author. Her weekly strip for the Minneapolis
"Violet Days," reads like a Charles
Adams version of Rug Rats. She is currently working on her lirst children's book.
SPECIAL FEATURE: S p o t l i g h t on M u r a l i s t s
In our quest to find the New Muralism Millenium, work from
15 hand-selected their
each talk about a
SUNRISE SYSTEMS, INC. M A N U F A C T U R E R S
S I G N S
In bright blue electronic letters, the words scroll up along the edge of the % sweeping roof of the David L. V % Lawrence Convention Center. They stop at the top of the roof, but the thought appears to climb into the sky and out to the world.â&#x20AC;&#x201D;An e x c e r p t f r o m the Pittsburgh
July 20, 2005 written by Patricia Lowry
Sunrise S y s t e m s latest LED sign installation is at t h e David L. L a w r e n c e Convention Center in Pittsburgh. Designed and built by Sunrise for artist Jenny Holzer as a public art piece. The t w o LED displays are e a c h 350 f e e t long, using a total of 3 8 6 , 0 0 0 blue LEDs. The LEDs are p a c k a g e d in clear plastic t u b e s that p r o t r u d e f r o m a low profile stainless steel case a t t a c h e d t o t h e building. The sign is highly t r a n s p a r e n t and the "Icicle" t u b e s are visible f r o m 3 6 0 d e g r e e s around. > Corporate Office 720 Washington Street Pembroke, MA 0 2 3 5 9 T: 7 8 1 . 8 2 6 . 9 P 0 6 F: 7 8 1 . 8 2 6 . 0 0 6 1 E: email@example.com
Public A r tReview
The sun shines brighter on our featured state for this issue. Two well-connected pros shed light on the whole scene.
INTRODUCTION JIM PRIGOFF
JESSICA CUSICK & HELEN LESSICK
SEYED ALAVI 64
W I T H LANCE
What happens when T h e S n o w S h o w melts? The art goes underwater. An in-depth interview with the globe-trotting public art curator and entrepreneur.
DIANNE CRIPE ROBERT SILBERMAN
FROM THE H O M E
JACK BECKER 74
N o STONE
On the occasion of Carnegie Mellon University's transformative new landscape project, a stellar cast convened in Pittsburgh to compare notes.
VOLUME 17, NUMBER l
T H E LAY OF T H E ( T E X A S )
C O M I N G NEXT I S S U E (SPRING 2 0 0 6 ) : ART O N C A M P U S
© 2005 Public Art Review (ISSN: 1040-211x)
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EMILY W A D S W O R T H
M U S E U M OF THE STREETS H A D W E A S K E D THE CAVE P A I N T E R S AT L A S C A U X A N D A L T I M I R A ( 1 7 , 0 0 0 B.C.) A B O U T THE F U T U R E OF M U R A L P A I N T I N G , T H E Y M I G H T HAVE PREDICTED THAT A G R O U P OF RELIGIOUS PEOPLE W O U L D PAINT FUTURE CAVES S U C H AS A J A N T A , I N D I A . H A D W E S P O K E N W I T H M I C H E L A N G E L O AFTER HE F I N I S H E D THE S I S T I N E C H A P E L , HE PROBABLY W O U L D HAVE TALKED A B O U T T H E FUTURE OF M U R A L S I N DECORATING E U R O P E A N CHURCHES.
And the Temple painters in Tibet might well have predicted the murals found in the Temples of Bonampac, Mexico, and perhaps even, with a stretch of the imagination, the Tres Grandes and the buildings they would decorate. As a mural documenter and historian for the past thirty years, I have been fortunate to see most of the above— but also to witness the "museum of the streets," the community and political art that enlivens and enriches the walls of so many towns and cities in the United States and abroad. In more recent years, "mural towns" have sprung up, hoping to tell their history through murals that might attract a tourist trade to replace industries that have died or moved on. Although many of these creations are the picture postcard variety, artists are working hard to improve the quality and reflect more on the content. With city financing, Philadelphia has become the mural capital of America, painting over 100 large murals in each of the last few years, while other major cities have dramatically cut back on public art funding. Emerging in the late 1960s and early 70s, the mural art momentum—generated by the struggle for social justice,
racial and economic equality, and civil rights—carried on into the 80s. Urban walls were the canvases for artists denied access to traditional gallery and m u s e u m channels but supported by community engagement and involvement. Vibrant, exciting imagery and textures can still be seen on the walls of the Tujunga Wash in Los Angeles (SPARC'S Great Wall of LA), in Chicano Park in San Diego, Balmy Alley in San Francisco, and the 18th and Western in Chicago. New York City's La Lucha Continua, on the other hand, met a fate shared by many public murals: disappearance. After 9/11 in 2001, 1 went to New York to track down the public art response to this tragic but also perplexing event. There were a few large spraycan art murals of the "God Bless America" variety and a number of smaller tributes to the fallen, but raising questions or opening a public dialogue just did not happen. After the shocking attack on Iraq, despite the obvious lies and deception of the U.S. and British governments, I expected to find an artistic response in San Francisco. But it never really happened, as it would have in the past—through public murals challenging a managed media blinded by the words democracy and liberty. One antiwar mural did appear in Berkeley, and U.S. artists went to Iraq to paint an antiwar and antioccupation mural there. Artists from around the world that responded with imagery opposing the Iraq tragedy have been, for the most part, spraycan artists. Their murals can be seen in the relatively new medium of the Internet (www.graffiti.org). Youth all over the world can now know almost instantly what has been painted anywhere around the globe. In a letter, my coauthor of two mural books, Robin Dunitz, responded to the question "What do I feel passionate about in terms of murals"? She said, "I want to know where the murals are addressing right-wing politics hijacking the country. Where are the murals opposing the invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq? [A powerful one can be found in Belfast, Ireland.] Where are the murals fighting hunger and poverty? Are there such murals? If not, why not? If so, where?" In the past, public murals have directed our attention through imagery to issues as diverse and important as ancestral pride, war and peace, the environment, farm workers, local leaders and heroes, national movement leaders, Zapatistas, drugs, poverty, AIDS, gays and lesbians, gentrification, culture, music and history, etc. Looking ahead, we might expect that—without being limited by a cave, church, or building definition, but perhaps with equal difficulty— murals will take many diverse forms. Conservators are
INTRODUCTION beginning to think in terms of preservation, a thought not widely held previously. Artists are turning to more durable materials such as ceramic tile, mosaics, enamel paint on metal, and removable fiberglass canvas. The biggest change is in the production of digital murals and the diversity of colors and images that can be m a n i p u l a t e d instantly. The great loss here is community: the audience's daily interaction with artists as they paint and the muralists' physical interaction with each other. Public art is often a response to the political and economic climate of the times. In the present war economy, with "alerts" issued by colors of danger to promote fear and Patriot Acts that have nothing to do with patriots, censorship of thought will go hand in hand with any public funding. Self-censorship occurs as well. Murals of conscience will have to be more spontaneous. In that environment, I look to youth with their spraycans instead of brushes to put messages up on the walls. Outside the United States, the murals of Belfast and Derry poignantly confront viewers every day with the lifethreatening struggle that is part of daily existence in Ireland. That expression will continue as long as there is no settlement of the major differences. In Palestine, U.S. artists have joined local artists. A book will appear in September on Sao Paulo street art. Why Sao Paulo? Because there is so m u c h poverty in that city of 15 million people that artists have gone to the walls to brighten their surroundings and tell their stories. But in Berlin, where in the past many murals have been inspired by political and social issues, they are not currently being produced. At the same time, some medium-sized cities in the United States have come to see major mural productions as enhancing their streets and buildings. Substantial dollar awards, unheard of fifteen years ago, are being offered for high-quality productions. Trompe l'oeil murals have gained stature and interest as a generation of artists focused attention on this form of muralism and developed their skills. Decorative and historical for the most part, they fit well into the urban landscape and greatly enhance the bare walls on which they are painted. Muralists and muralism go back to the dawn of civilization. I suspect they will be there at the sunset as well.
MURAL TOWNS ON THE WEB Many cities consider themselves Mural Towns. The following selection of websites provides a small sampling. Also, see page 34 for more information about online mural sites. ALBUQUERQUE, NEW M E X I C O
www.cabq.gov/publicart BELFAST, IRELAND
www.irelandsown.net/murals7.html CALLINGTON, ENGLAND
www.callington.uk.net/Visitors/Murals.htm CANADA (MULTIPLE TOWNS)
www.muralroutes.com CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
www.cpag.net DERRY, IRELAND
www.visitderry.com/murals.htm JOLIET, ILLINOIS
www.FCPAonline.org KATIKATI, NEW ZEALAND
www.katikati.org.nz LAKE PLACID, FLORIDA
www.htn.net/lplacid/murals/murals.htm LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
www.lasvegas2005.org L o s ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
www.lamurals.org NEW YORK CITY
www.tatscru.com www.nyc.gov/html/dcla/html/panyc/panyc_main.shtml PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
www.muralarts.org SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
www.chicano-park.org SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
www.precitaeyes.org SILVER CITY, NEW M E X I C O
www. m imbresarts. org/y ou thprograms. html JIM PRIGOFF has lectured in museums, universities, and a variety of venues world-wide. His personally photographed and documented archive of murals and spraycan art is probably the largest of its kind. He is the coauthor of Spraycan Art (with Henry Chalfant], which has sold over 200,000 copies, and coauthor (with Robin J. Dunitz) of Painting the Towns-Murals of California and Walls of Heritage-Walls of P r i d e - A f r i c a n American Murals. A show of images from Walls opened at the Anacostia (Smithsonian) in Washington D.C. on July 10, 2005, and ran through the middle of October. Editor's Note: Museum of the Streets is the title of a book by Moira F. Harris, Pogo Press, St. Paul, Minn. (1987). OPPOSITE PAGE: Meg Saligman, Common Threads, 1998, Philadelphia, Penn. RIGHT: A.G. Joe Stephenson, St. Mans'Greatest
(They ill Lined Here) (detail of Billie Holiday,
Illinois Jacquet), 2D03, St. Albans LIRR Station, St. Albans, Queens, New York. Assisted by Rikki Asher with graduate students from Queens College and neighborhood volunteers. Sponsored by St. Albans Civic Improvement Association.
www.lassencountychamber.org/husa.html VENICE, CALIFORNIA
ARE THERE ANY MURALS AROUND HERE? JON POUNDS
C H I C A G O ' S P R O U D HISTORY OF C O M M U N I T Y M U R A L S ,
W I T H THE 1 9 6 7 WALL OF RESPECT, CONCEIVED OF BY W I L L I A M WALKER A N D EXECUTED BY THE ARTISTS OF THE O R G A N I Z A T I O N OF BLACK AMERICAN
CULTURE O N C H I C A G O ' S
S O U T H SIDE, C O N T I N U E S
CHICAGO ARTISTS ADAPT TO EVOLVING W O R K I N G CONDITIONS.
Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG) has been an important part of this longevity by supporting both artists and communities seeking to create public art projects with each other. CPAG's twenty core artists collaborate across age, race, gender, and training differences to challenge each other aesthetically and support each other as artists. Over the years, hundreds of murals have been painted throughout the Chicago area. Community art making in Chicago embraces the sometimes contradictory values of strong artistic direction and intensive community engagement. Just as the painters of the Wall of Respect believed that people should not have to go to the museum to see excellent art, CPAG has long seen its purpose as creating excellent art, even during the 1970s and 1980s when much of the art world thought of community engagement as being closer to social work. Just as the people living with the Wall of Respect expected to comment on, critique, contribute to, and ultimately "own" that mural, CPAG seeks to create conditions that allow residents to name and claim the ideas, images, and spaces of their community. In 1979 and 1980, CPAG artists were among the first to experiment in concrete and mosaic as a new way to create public art murals. The artists who invested in learning these processes and extending them into community engagement did so out of curiosity and creativity, not because they thought the projects would last longer. Well-executed murals, concrete sculpture, and mosaics can last many years in variable climates, although nothing lasts without maintenance. Some CPAG murals, thirty or more years old, are still in excellent condition. Nonetheless, several conditions have reduced the number of murals being painted in recent years. Urban planning in Chicago reflects the land grant system of the nineteenth century; long streets divide the city at even intervals, creating a strong grid pattern and leaving few long vistas that end in full views of walls. Urban renewal
(read urban devastation) has been concentrated in African American communities on the south and west sides, the very neighborhoods that gave birth to the mural movement. Chicago has long had an aggressive tear-down program for abandoned buildings; existing murals and potential mural walls are regularly torn down. Because Chicago has more stand-alone buildings and fewer townhouses (as one finds in Philadelphia or New York), the removal of a building does not likely expose a blank wall. Building permits for new commercial construction come with a requirement for firstfloor commercial space enclosed by large sheets of plate glassâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;replacing walls that could take a mural. Concrete retaining walls lift train lines above surrounding streets in many neighborhoods. Most of these are old walls rife with hairline cracks and defects. Because the walls lack moisture liners, efflorescence, oxidation, and general crud seep through. Many early murals were painted on these walls, and years later the condition of the walls and the murals on them have deteriorated significantly. When plans are made to replace this crumbling infrastructure. Chicago Public Art Group advocates for construction options that will improve the long-term condition of the walls and allow for new public art projects over the next 80-100 years. Several factors have encouraged community artists to adapt to new conditions. For example, until the mid 1990s it was relatively common to put youths younger than sixteen onto scaffolding. Federal guidelines effectively ended that practice, meaning that sponsors seeking to have youth involved in projects request fewer traditional murals. In response, some artists began to develop more projects that did not require scaffolding, such as mosaics and concrete. In William Walker, Jeff Donaldson, Eugene Eda, Barbara Jones, and others, If/all ot Respect, 1967, 43rd and Langley (not extant), Chicago, III.
2005, CPAG is producing its first mural on nonwoven media, sometimes called parachute cloth, led by San Francisco artist Johanna Poethig. This mediumâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;most fully developed in Philadelphia's Mural Arts Programâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;allows artists and community volunteers to stand on the ground while painting surfaces to be permanently installed on walls. 1 CPAG hopes this process will make murals a more viable option again. Visually complex and technically refined mosaics can be made with volunteers who lack extensive drawing skills. CPAG artists produce extraordinary mosaics with volunteers through appropriate design, careful teaching, and excellent modeling of skills, Mosaics forgive mistakes; early errors can be identified and easily repaired by the same volunteers who made them after a couple weeks of experience with the technique. Finally, mosaics are great community
builders. Individuals are able to contribute idiosyncratic elements that harmoniously blend into the larger design while sitting in quiet conversation with one another. CPAG has done only a few projects with wood or metal. These media tend to require specialized skills and tools for fabrication and assembly; hot or sharp edges are everywhere. These realities make volunteer involvement problematic. In a notable exception, James Brenner has completed a foundry project with youths who created models and molds for a foundry pour done in an empty block in downtown Chicago. The cast sculptures were then assembled by Brenner onto a larger form and installed at a local college. By contrast, concrete can be hand mixed and shaped with plastic putty knifes wielded by volunteers of all ages. CPAG artist Phil Schuster has designed processes that enable
both children and adults to contribute "concretely" to his projects. His use of latex rubber molds allows the invented forms to be used repeatedly and in variation. Masonry walls abound in Chicago, primarily because of a Silurian Sea clay bed that lies under most of the city. These brick walls support greater weight than do wooden ones, and they invite the use of other architecturally compatible ceramic materials. Mosaics and concrete make a good architectural fit with brick surfaces. Children Are Our Future, CPAG's first concrete relief project, incorporated graffito, mosaic fragments, and painted elements. It was executed in 1979 by Catharine Cajandig, Celia Radek, and John Pitman Weber, leading a team of youths. In 1980, Miriam Socoloff and Cynthia Weiss worked with volunteers from the Bernard Horwich Jewish Community Center to create the first community mosaic, Fabric of Our Lives. Each of these projects inspired those artists and others to expand their capacity to use different materials to produce large-scale public projects. Over the last 25 years, CPAG artists have produced a variety of inventive, engaging, aesthetically challenging public art projects. Artists designed elements for parks and socialization areas using sculpted concrete benchesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;some OPPOSITE PAGE: W. Touhy, Miriam Socoloff, and Cynthia Weiss, Fabric ol Our Lives, 1980. ABOVE: Juan Chavez and Corinne D. Peterson, Hopes anil Dreams, 2002. BELOW: Johanna Poethig, lo the Loop (digital proposal), 2005.
precast, some carved wet, others cast in place. Many of those benches have been covered in mosaic. Artists and communities have produced large-scale mosaics, playgrounds, community gardens, and streetscape interventions. In recent years CPAG has moved out of the urban setting. Olivia Gude (in Kentucky) and Nina Cain and John Pitman Weber (in Iowa) led community mosaic projects in smaller, more rural communities. These were commissioned by the national Artists and Communities: America Creates for the Millennium program run by Mid-Atlantic Arts. This summer, besides the previously mentioned nonwoven media mural, Chicago Public Art Group is also producing a large outdoor classroom and play sculpture with French artist Henri Marquet. The classroom/sculpture takes the form of a large, sleeping child, and was constructed by CPAG artists, with hundreds of volunteers creating mosaics. Twenty or so other CPAG projects this year include concrete paving projects, direct-application mosaics, interior and exterior indirect mosaics, painted murals, and a handmade ceramic mural. CPAG also expects to restore several important early murals. Chicago Public Art Group artists are, increasingly, wandering into the landscape. With the collaboration of the local chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the group has coproduced charrettes to explore approaches and goals for public projects that serve varied community needs. Local urban planners and architects now regularly invite CPAG to serve on design teams. CPAG's website, www.cpag.net, provides information about the organization, its artists, and its best practices for artists seeking to engage the communities in which they live. JON POUNDS is an artist and executive director of Chicago Public Art Group. He was a 2001 recipient of the Chicago Community Trust Community Leadership Fellowship that permitted him to research the overlapping fields of urban planning, community organizing, and public art. NOTES:
I. The longevity of this technique has not yet been determined. Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program's oldest mural using nonwoven media (a portrait of Dr.) by Kent Twitchell, 1989) is still in excellent condition.
COMMUNITY, CONSENSUS, & THE PROTEST MURAL JANE WEISSMAN & JANET BRAUN-REINITZ 20
The war in Iraq. The assault on choice. The erosion of our civil liberties. These are the kinds of national and international issues we expect community muralists to address. However, looking at recent murals in New York City, we are struck by the dearth of political murals and imagery protesting U.S. aggression abroad, the policies of George W. Bush, and globalization; or demanding free speech, choice, universal health care, environmental protection, and workers' rights. Such murals are few and far betweenâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;not only in New York but also, according to our colleagues across the United States, in other large mural centers. Today's murals are a far cry from the rash of gutsy, in-your-face political murals that we remember, those iconic walls of the late 1960s and early 1970s that ushered in what is known as the contemporary community mural movement. Today's political climate is certainly as dire as that of 1968. War, famine, and pestilence are still with us. One explanation for the lack of political content in today's murals is that vast segments of the American populace are no longer propelled by the electric, ever-growing momentum that fueled the great struggles of the 1960s: civil rights, peace, disarmament, free speech, feminism. Other contributing causes of the apparent demise of political murals include funding shifts, new layers of bureaucracy, the cost of insurance and scaffolding, and self-censorship. Moreover, muralists painting today are generally not politically motivated. The early murals were painted by artists who were activists first, becoming muralists to address the wrongs around them. There is one other explanation that accounts for the perceived difference between today's murals and those of the past. This explanation, however, debunks the myths surrounding the early murals. Legend has it that the majority of these walls addressed national and international issues. This, as it turns out, is not the case.
Before suggesting that protest murals have virtually disappeared as a form of public expression, we need to remind ourselves that protest murals can be as much a declaration of affirmation as an act of opposition. The roots of the word protest are pro, meaning "forth," and testari, meaning "to call to witness." From the beginning, murals of affirmation existed alongside murals of opposition, and the early walls combined elements of both. The first walls of respect, truth, understanding, and dignity were ethnic celebrations that projected positive images of community leaders as well as cultural, sports, and political heroes. These walls also included "oppositional" images of dogs attacking civil rights workers, shackled hands, flames, skeletons, military pigs, raised fists, and the capitalist octopus. New York's earliest community murals, organized by Cityarts Workshop, were as much about opposition as affirmation, clearly seen in their titles: Black Power! (Anti-Drug Abuse], Arise from Oppression, Seeds for Progressive Changes, Women Hold Up Half the Sky, Impact of Federal Budget Cuts on Housing, Against Domestic Colonialism, and Rebuilding Our Community in Unity and Struggle. While most would agree that the early murals in every mural center across the United States were overtly political, we need to clarify what we understand to be political. Protesting war and fighting for civil rights are obvious political acts, but so too are expressions of pride and celebrations of race and ethnicity. To our way of thinking, any group that proclaims itself important enough to be portrayed in a mural is clearly engaging in a political act. Asking "What makes a mural political?" or, alternatively, "What makes a political mural?" prompts various responses. As interesting as these responses are, we have concluded that any attempt to define the difference between current and older murals should not revolve around what is
or what is not political. Instead, we need to look at the kinds of issues community murals address. In doing so, we find that historically, starting with the earliest walls of respect, community murals rarely speak to national or international issues. Rather they were, and continue to be, deeply rooted in local concerns. Community murals are organized and created as a collaborative effort between artists and neighborhood groups to address local concerns. The essential element in developing these murals is consensus. Artists working with community organizations usually find that consensus already exists around a single issue seriously affecting local residents: affordable housing, gentrification, health care, drugs, crime. Artists may be presented with a theme that is agreeable to all: ethnic solidarity and cultural pride, pride of place and neighborhood history, heroes and icons, the joys and value of learning. Consensus does not imply the absence of healthy debate, and lively discussions often revolve around design elements and aesthetic or stylistic choices. Decisions regarding theme and content often are a result of the impulse to serve the controversy-free common denominator rather than to stretch the parameters of possibility. Yet there are always exceptions to the rule. Activist artists consistently look for an opportunity to inject politically graphic imagery into their murals. Like many of our colleagues, we wrongly assumed that larger national and international themes would be addressed in community murals because of their universality. Yet murals speaking to choice, free speech, war, and racism are rare. While everyone in every c o m m u n i t y is a
ABOVE: Mary Patten, Douglass Street Mural, 1976, Brooklyn, New York. Sponsored by
BELOW: Robin Michals, Black Inspiration Morel, 1986, Brooklyn, New York. Sponsored by the
GreenThumb/Artists in the Gardens and Hancock Street Block Association.
concerned about these issuesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and willing to express opinions about themâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;such concerns seldom find the support that would bring them to the wall. Concern is not consensus, and communities may well be so seriously divided on such issues as the Iraq war and reproductive choice that considered discussion is not possible. In fact, the only prochoice murals known to exist are interior, not exterior, walls in women's clinics and Planned Parenthood centers. Related issues such as teen pregnancy, prenatal care, parenting, and grandparenting are found as secondary elements within larger themes. Artists could paint a n t i w a r m u r a l s of the early 1970s in certain communities of San Francisco and Berkeley because there was community consensusâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;opposition to the Vietnam War functioned as a local issue. In the mid-1980s, consensus among Latinos led to artists painting murals in Latino communities that decried U.S. intervention in Central America. Among the most well known are those in San Francisco's Balmy Alley. These murals inspired members of New York City's Artmakers Inc. to undertake the twenty-six-mural cycle La Lucha Continua
on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1984. In addition to addressing Central American intervention, the artists tackled themes important at the time to the local community—gentrification and police brutality—as well as apartheid and feminism. At the same time, most murals became less overtly political due, in part, to difficulty securing funding, a situation that continues to this day. Most government and private foundations discouraged explicitly critical imagery, and in response to this implicit censorship artists began to censor their own content. Artists and arts organizations increasingly collaborated with community-based organizations, which controlled both content and the purse strings. This does not mean that protest murals were not painted, but more often they were the efforts of spray artists, who usually work fast, alone, or as part of a small collective, and often without funding. Nevertheless, spray artists, too, may work under constraints. Pink Smith, speaking of her two recent antiwar murals in New York City, concedes that they "were done on property of landlords that I know well, who can handle any controversy." "But," she added, "most landlords ask us beforehand to remain uncontroversial in our artwork." In a rare twist, Tats Cru's 1998 powerful memorial mural to the murdered Anthony Rosario and Hilton Vega,
commissioned by their families, led to the formation of a community organization, Parents Against Police Brutality. Its good standing in the neighborhood as well as the revenues from its commercial work has allowed Tats Cru members to paint murals about sensitive issues: AIDS (Has a Cure...Education) and, in 2003, Stop the War. After September 11, 2001, the entire city of New York functioned as one community. September 11 murals popped up everywhere—large and small, brush and spray, Disney sponsored and self-sponsored and anonymous. The majority were small and ephemeral, with images of the flag or silhouettes of the twin towers and some text. However, a good half dozen were substantial in size and were very well funded. Funders did not consider these murals as protests but rather as instruments of healing and expressions of solidarity. Their titles support this: 9/11: One City Indivisible, Celebrating the Heroes of Our City, Forever Tall, Celebrate the Angels All Around Us Every Day. These murals can also be seen as a new type—the patriotic mural containing images of grief and loss rather than terrorism and war. We hope they are merely a passing phenomenon, not the beginning of a mainstream mural trend. The very phrase "mainstream mural" is anathema to what we think community murals were, are, and should be. Now that the United States has intervened so disastrously in Afghanistan and Iraq, will the patriotic mural be the response to any future act of terrorism in New York or elsewhere in the country? Or will artists return to their activist roots? While Artmakers' La Lucha temporarily revived the protest mural in New York, oppositional murals were infrequently painted until the late 1990s, with the emergence of Groundswell Community Mural Project and El Puente Muralistas, both emphasizing local issues. In the interim, communities most often gravitated to murals of celebration and pride, which, as we have acknowledged, have their own political content. Yet they are perceived as being less political than the walls of respect and dignity of the 1970s. When examining this perception, it is helpful to remember Lucy Lippard's caution that "no one can judge a mural without knowing its context." For example, the imagery of We're Still Waiting (1996)—children at a stoplight waiting to safely cross the street—is completely benign. However, the surface calm belies the underlying tensions of a six-year neighborhood campaign to get a street light at a dangerous, unmarked intersection used by patrons of three day care centers, a library, and a park. When a compromise was finally reached with the installation of a four-way stop sign, the mural—no longer needed to energize the community—was replaced. Members of the teen women's program at the Center for Anti-Violence Education designed and painted Groundswell's Peace is Not a Dream in Storage (1999). Despite graphic imagery in some smaller passages, the mural's call to eliminate violence against women was symbolized by a young girl safely sleeping and dreaming of ABOVE: Ray Patlan and Francisco Camplis, On the Way to Market/ Camino al Mercaio, 1984, Balmy Alley, San Francisco, Calif. Sponsored by PLACA. BELOW: Willard Whitlock, Celebrate the kgels/III Around Us Cteiytey, 2001, Brooklyn, New York. OPPOSITE PAGE ABOVE: Artmakers, Inc. (shown from left: Karen Batten, Anthony Buczko & Keith Christensen, Cliff Joseph, Camille Perrottet, Maria Oominguez), la lucha Continua/The Struggle Continues, 1984, Lower East Side Manhattan, New York. OPPOSITE PAGE BELOW: Seth Tobacman, la Lucha Continoa/The Struggle Continues (detail).
peace. Yet nearby homeowners saw the mural as an eyesore that adversely affected property values in their rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, and within a few weeks following its completion, the mural was painted out. Here, context requires an understanding of the neighborhood. This mural would have been honored, not vilified, in a different neighborhood. Indeed, twenty years previously another group of residents in the same neighborhood vandalized a mural about teen ambitions and unemployment to such an extent that the project was abandoned. Today, El Puente Muralistas, a program of El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice High School, produces the most political murals in New York City. Led by activist artist Joe Matunis, with his penchant for uncomfortable and dramatic imagery, this program has a dedicated funding stream and the freedom to address controversial issues that adversely affect the surrounding community. Since 1991, the teens have painted a dozen murals protesting cigarette advertising directed at inner-city youth, asthma in poor neighborhoods, AIDS, racial tensions, and opposition to a proposed waste transfer station.
Many muralists would like nothing better than to bring their politics to the wall, to paint murals that grapple with Iraq, choice, the Patriot Act, racism, or the detaining and torture of political prisoners. Sadly, such subjects remain largely untouchedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;not from self-censorship but from the absence of communities with which artists could collaborate and the knowledge that their work would probably be vandalized or destroyed. The main stumbling block to painting oppositional murals today is the lack of community consensus, notâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;as popular opinion would have itâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;lack of funding or timid community sponsors and property owners, although these factors certainly impede their creation. Only when national and international issues directly affect the community to the extent that they become local issues will there be the consensus that allows, if not encourages, the creation of protest murals.
muralists and members of Artmakers
J A N E W E I S S M A N and
coauthors of the cultural history On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City, to be published in 2007 by University Press of Mississippi.
D Y N A M I C S
C A N V A S
M T MELISA Urban canvases are often the most ephemeral and the least understood of contemporary artwork. Graffiti art blossomed in New York City subways in the 1970s, primarily due to urban financial crises and fiscal abandonment from federal, state, and municipal development efforts. "White flight" left many behind, primarily lower-class communities of color with few employment opportunities, much economic instability, and little urban identity. As a reaction to these conditions, hip-hop flourished, becoming a vibrant cosmopolitan expression of youthful exuberance. Graffiti, also commonly referred to as aerosol art, comprises one of the four elements of hip-hop alongside break dancing, turntablism, and rap. Graffiti art became the written word of a city's pulse. But rather than view these vibrant letters and characters decorating cityscapes as a visual rhythm, city authorities convinced metropolitans they were a sign of urban decay. Authorities publicly denounced graffiti to create a perception of anarchy overrunning public spaces. By advocating the "broken windows" theory, they associated graffiti with lawlessness and an inevitable increase in criminal offenses. Labeled a "quality of life" crime, by the early 1980s graffiti was completely eradicated from New York's subways. In the few years that graffiti flourished on NYC subway lines, it sparked a massive municipal and national following. Graffiti artists characterize their work as writing, themselves as writers, and their art form an urban literary script. Galleries and art collectors encouraged framed versions of graffiti art, yet these paintings never achieved the fame of ephemeral city canvases. Graffiti as an element of hip-hop culture is about adaptation, rebellion, mentorship, respect, competition, and reputation. As an art form it is simultaneously creative and
RIVIERE destructive. Its production is not limited to spray paint but does demand a readily available means to make a generously proportioned and recognizable mark. Withdrawn from its canvas, graffiti appears equivalent to its twin, aerosol art. But these are two different art forms, defined more by the canvas they appear on than their aesthetic form. Graffiti is art produced illegally, without permission, and clandestinely. Aerosol art, in contrast, is produced with permission, such as on commissioned murals, and represents the positive advancement of spray paint as an acceptable art medium. Referring to graffiti as aerosol art ignores its guerrilla characteristics, where placement, access, and setting are as important as content. The untamed nature of graffiti art is tied to the insubordination of seizing unauthorized space. Aerosol art is a comparatively relaxed accentuation of the paint medium. Although aesthetically similar, these divergent art forms are created under very different circumstances. Illegal art challenges established cultural values surrounding private property, organized aesthetics, social status, and identity. "Today I am fueled on the premise of liberation work. There are two types of graffiti art. One entails tire pure act; the other is of action totally in tune with power and political intent. Both types are essential to this struggle." [EMERONE). Writing is a well-organized urban art movement with traditions and social structure: individuals, crews, and hierarchical positions ranging from toys to kings. Their OPPOSITE PAGE: Aerosol mural underway at Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, during B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop, April 22-June 12,2005.
behavior is governed by rules of reciprocity, support, communication, and initiation. Toy is the title given to an amateur artist, who must produce graffiti art to define his or her place within writing culture. Eventually, with dedication, the toy becomes a writer. Only after years of perseverance and the acquisition of "can control"—the learned skill of using spray paint—are writers honored by their peers with the crowning title of king. Many writers do not recognize artists who only paint legal walls or canvases. Although they may exhibit can control and artistic skill, they are not considered writers. "Legalizing graffiti would not solve America's problems. It would only take away what makes it such an irresistible art form." (RUKUS) Writing comprises three standard types of graffiti art: the tag, the throw-up, and the piece (short for masterpiece). A writer's tag is essentially her or his signature and, when used enough, becomes the writer's logo. Tags are often misinterpreted as the most chaotic form of writing but are in reality highly organized signatures. The t h r o w - u p is a quickly painted name, in "bubble" letters—a soft rounded lettering style—most commonly in one or two colors (a fill and a contrasting outline). Throw-ups tend to be found where access is difficult or dangerous and execution must be hasty. A piece is a large-scale, multicolored production of elaborate, filled-in letters (dots, dashes, stars, loops, circles, etc.). A production piece is a series of pieces by various artists, tied together by a common theme. Graffiti and aerosol art have permeated urban canvases, sometimes side by side. Stimulated by the spread of underground 'zines (short for fanzine), publication of photographic documentaries such as Subway Art (1984), and films such as Wild Style (1982) and Style Wars (1984), youth began to emulate both the art style and its strategic placement. The form, primarily concerned with the elaboration of letters and three-dimensional integrity, began fusing with new approaches. The proliferation of graffiti art in the Midwest brought stylistic hybrids merging East and West Coast techniques, including the New York block letters, the Miami
shine, and the Los Angeles outline. Surprisingly, Minnesota's M i n n e a p o l i s and St. Paul offered a perfect environment for graffiti. Although lacking the standard subway surface, the Twin Cities were built on the remnants of the Industrial Revolution, rich with bridges, abundant in flour mills, and flush with train yard lay-ups. Twin Cities graffiti history went through two phases: the early days, which I identify as the "old school" movement (1982-1992), defined by external aesthetic influences, followed by the "MSP freestyle" phase (1992-2000), marked by a unique local lettering style, which then diffused back to the greater metropolises. Most writers agree that the first tag to show up in Minneapolis was KARAKAS (also known as KAS or KARO). The first documented piece was by VIPER on the North Side in 1982; it read "HIP HOP." VIPER sparked a simple lettering style of phrases rather than names, like BUSTIN' FRESH and COLD STUPID, that was emulated throughout the North Side. Meanwhile, the South Side had a key writer named JEK, who brought a distinctive Brooklyn approach to Minneapolis. One of his apprentices was REY, who later brought up SMAK, the first writer to claim "all-city" fame. "Kids were already doin' it in New York. I just invented different ways to make it big here. With a chalk board eraser that I put in the washing machine, sewed back together to make a large tip, stuffed into a bottle and poured ink into, I invented myself." (SMAK) Influential old-school Minneapolis crews included ATR (Artistic Terminal Rebels), CAB (Crazy Ass Bombers), DS2 (Death Squad 2), FBI (Fresh Bombers Inc.), LBS (Latin Bomb Squad), MBBO (Minneapolis B-Boy Organization), MSP (Minneapolis Skate Posse), SMA (Societies Modern Artists), PTC (Prime Time Crime), and WSC (Wild Style Crew).
1992 marked the second phase of the Minneapolis scene. AKB and MAS crews formed in the early part of this era. Writers started communicating among themselves, and they organized an all-city graffiti writer's meeting, at which TCM (Twin Cities' Massive) was born under the leadership of TRUE 54 and SELF of AKB. TCM was to be an allegiance of writers throughout the Twin Cities who continued a relationship with their own crews but also p u s h e d TCM. This attempt to unify the local graffiti art movement lasted a little over a year. Writers continued to absorb influences from abroad yet evolved a unique, very clean lettering style noteworthy of the Twin Cities. Around the same time, local artists began to excel at aerosol painting. At first they encountered minimal persecution, and the first legal wall to exhibit aerosol art was founded by MESH of the MAS crew, called by many the "Wall of Fame." Many historical pieces were showcased on the Wall of Fame, from EWOK's Sumthang Under Kover and MOPE's Jeannie out of a bottle to a SCENE piece by EROS celebrating the Minneapolis style. Due to local antigraffiti agendas, such as the "Don't Deface My Space" campaign and an aerosol rehabilitation program to deter youths from using spray paint, all types of graffiti, illegal as well as permissioned, were attacked. By the end of summer 1994, the Wall of Fame and many other canvases went white, and a piece's life span went from a few months to perhaps days. This repression didn't stop the m o v e m e n t but m a d e it difficult to be seen by outsiders. In the last d e c a d e some local aerosol m u r a l teams have prevailed and some have deteriorated. One of the latter that deserve mentions is Fluid Intelligence, made up of the best Twin Cities writers. Among the surviving g r o u p s is
Juxtaposition Arts, a nonprofit, y o u t h - f o c u s e d visual arts organization that provokes and pushes aerosol art into new hands through instruction. The anonymity of graffiti leaves little room for assuming that queens are painting behind the facelessness of the spray can. Since there are fewer female aerosol artists, they are forced to look beyond the local sphere for feminine role models. Rather than inhibiting women, this has stimulated national and international coalitions, in which Twin Cities artists have figured prominently. This s u m m e r , as a part of "B-Girl Be: A C e l e b r a t i o n of Women in Hip Hop" at Intermedia Arts, national ladies, i n c l u d i n g LADY PINK, ZORI4, SILOUETTE, PHEM9, TOOFLY, ASIAONE, LADY K FEVER, joined Midwest women to create one of the largest aerosol murals in the history of spray paint done solely by women.
MELISA RIVIERE is a Mac Arthur Scholar at the University of Minnesota, where she is working on a Ph.D. in anthropology. As owner and president of Emetrece Productions, she produces videos focusing on Cuban and Puerto Hican artists. TOP ROW (left to right): Artist SEX, tag; Artist SEX, piece; Artist EWOK, Smthan}'Under
part of Wall of Fame, 1994; Artist SEX, throw-up. BOTTOM ROW: Murals at Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, Minn, (with detail of completed front side). Participants at the B-Girl Be celebration included the following local and national artists: LADY PINK, ASIAONE, LADY K FEVER, Z0RI4, PHEM9, SILOETTE, TOOFLY, RUST, LUSH GIRL, PHIRA, AMP, SHELLIE, SILOUETTE, Girls with Bats, ZENA, STEF, Lady RIZE, and GLOE.
LOADED QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPORARY MURALISTS JON SPAYDE
The essays and images presented in this issue of Public Art Review suggest that the American mural is at a crossroads—or, to borrow a concept from Hopi metaphysics, "between worlds." While many contemporary communityoriented mural makers still draw on the spirit of the mural movement that was sparked by the Wall of Respect on an abandoned building on Chicago's South Side in 1967, this variety of mural making has morphed from the edgy, ad hoc, semiguerrilla activity it once was into a more formal process of public art-making that includes extensive consensus building within the community before anything goes up on the wall. Funding constraints are also playing their part in reducing mural projects nationwide and "calming" their content. Meanwhile, however, the guerrilla tradition continues in the hands of graffitists, stencilers, sticker designers, and other artists associated with hip-hop and anarchist culture.
agree on something. There are always going to be people in t h e community who are not represented—unless you march everybody to a meeting at gunpoint and make them come to consensus." One might also ask why a robustly conservative community mural seems like such a contradiction in terms. Is there a subtle kind of censorship taking place, given that the vast majority of muralists are on the left—or is the community mural naturally and inevitably an assertion of the relatively powerless, voiceless, and victimized? For that matter, why do murals rarely, if ever, depict dialogue, debate, difference of opinion?
At the same time, technical advances in making large-scale art, from digital reproduction to modular pixels that can turn an entire building into an animated quasimural surface, entice artists and allow nonartists to cocreate imposing images relatively easily—a populist plus. Many of these processes are capital-intensive, however, and any good situationist would argue that their technical sophistication sometimes makes them indistinguishable from the "spectacle"—the trance-inducing big show of capitalist culture.
The c o n s u l t a t i o n and c o n s e n s u s making that mural artists have done as part of the "new genre public art" movement seems to me exemplary for all inquirers on the left. While no serious mural maker wants to be a mere local booster or feel-good decorator, it can be argued that we have done far too little grunt work finding out what the p e o p l e in our c o m m u n i t i e s actually t h i n k . If consensus tends to produce images of affirmation—or simple beauty—rather than protest, that may be a message to us rather than a loss of fervor on their part. "We know what you're against," they're telling us. "What are you for? Are you willing to accept not only our affirmations but our need for affirmation?"
Muralists continue to do what all artists do—work within the limits of their medium, their resources, and their time, while stretching both as far as they can. After all, the various political, social, artistic, and historical elements that go into the mural tradition make for an inherently unstable mix, one that's uniquely reflective of social reality and its instability. The current in-between state of muralistic affairs, it seems to me, offers an excellent chance to ask some powerful questions, most of which are both artistic and sociopolitical. 1. W H A T DOES IT M E A N TO REPRESENT A C O M M U N I T Y ?
Whether one is talking artistic or political representation, it's always a matter of a part standing, not necessarily for a whole, but for a larger part. Community art expert Linda Frye Burnham is unequivocal: "It's really impossible for a mural to represent everyone in a community. It can, however, r e p r e s e n t the o p i n i o n of a group of p e o p l e w h o can
2 . IS THE P R E D O M I N A N C E OF C O M M U N I T Y CELEBRATION AND THE ABSENCE
LAMENTED OR LEARNED FROM?
3 . W H A T IS THE ROLE OF " M A I N S T R E A M " I M A G E R Y IN C O M M U NITY M U R A L S ?
To those dedicated to a subcultural or countercultural vision of mural making, it may seem like mere advertising when a community mural in Philadelphia features a gigantic image of Frank Sinatra as an icon of ethnic pride. Yet the Wall of Respect, that iconic community mural in Chicago dedicated to "black heroes," maintained a delicate balance among (then) lesser-known figures like W. E. B. DuBois, provocative radicals like Stokeley Carmichael (chosen instead of Martin Luther King), and black mega-stars like Muhammad Ali and Sidney Poitier. The point was, black folk had a vital role in creating a shared mainstream culture as well as a destiny at the forefront of social change.
4 . W H A T DO ( A N D W H A T C A N ) G R A F F I T I M U R A L S
C O M M U N A L L Y A N D POLITICALLY?
Although sticker makers and stencilers tend to use straightforward imagery derived from the graphic practice of the situationists, graffiti "writers" seem caught among contrary impulses: self-celebration and celebration of the graffiti subculture (in the intricate, gloriously illegible, often breathtakingly beautiful versions of their tags), appropriation of cartoon images from anime and early underground comic artists like Vaughan Bode, and the occasional homage to ethnic identity. On the whole, graffiti art is esoteric, requiring initiation for full appreciation, only partly representational, and often playful or ironic. Thus, it's very different in spirit from the mural tradition, which embodies a fair degree of seriousness and seeks immediate legibility, whether celebrating a community or attacking a social ill. Can graffiti writers transcend their origin in a single (albeit dynamic and complex) subculture and their cartooni s h n e s s to s p e a k p o w e r f u l l y to a w i d e r a u d i e n c e ? Or s h o u l d t h e y p r e s e r v e t h e i r o t h e r n e s s as a n i r r i t a n t and a provocation? The question goes to the heart of what political art should be—and quite possibly to what progressive politics should be. Provocation or c o m m u n i o n ? A d e m a n d that A m e r i c a n s t r a n s f o r m their p e r c e p t i o n s a n d w i d e n their horizons to include radical otherness in its strongest forms, or a d e t e r m i n a t i o n to m a k e o t h e r n e s s attractive e n o u g h so that A m e r i c a n s e m b r a c e it w i t h o u t fear a n d experienc it as delight? J u a m e Plensa, Crom Fountain (detail), 2004, M i l l e n i u m Park, Chicago, III. 5. T o WHAT DEGREE CAN ARTISTS CONTROL THE POWERFUL NEW M E D I A T R A N S F O R M I N G M U R A L PRACTICE TODAY?
One high-profile semimural that's attracting a great deal of attention right n o w is the Crown Fountain in Chicago's M i l l e n n i u m Park, by the Catalan artist Jaume Plensa. Fifty Chicagoans are portrayed on a pair of large video screens; their faces become amusing parodies of Baroque fountains w h e n they appear to spit water at regular intervals. Had Plensa chosen "beautiful people" for these video blowups, the Crown Fountain might look like nothing more than a frisky Gap ad; instead, the faces are rough and real: elderly, ethnic, life-worn. Plensa has forced a notoriously "disembodying" m e d i u m to remain earthbound. Can we expect more artists to "rough u p " the glossy new-mural media that are being put at their disposal? Judy Baca, doyenne of the Los Angeles mural scene as founder and creative director of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), has found that the newest digital technology is proving crucial in keeping alive her vision of politically alert, community-based mural making. With the recent w i t h d r a w a l of city f u n d i n g from SPARC and other mural organizations in Los Angeles, Baca and her colleagues have r a m p e d u p a series of projects in other places, via SPARC'S Digital Mural Lab. One involved an Internet-based long-distance collaboration with student artists in Durango, Colorado. Baca and the kids s w a p p e d ideas and sketches electronically before Baca designed the final mural and printed it on weather-resistant vinyl—another new mural technology—for installation on an exterior wall of the Durango Arts Center. "In an era of increasing privatization, censorship, and loss of the creative commons," says Baca, "we're developing creative ways of responding, and digital technology is a great help, We're traveling a rough road, but there are wonderful new strategies for us to use."
A n d art historian and critic Francis V. O'Connor, who is completing a comprehensive history of the mural in America, urges technoskeptic mural makers not to be afraid of electronic spectacle. "Two generations have grown u p looking at screens and learning from them," he says. 6 . W H A T ' S THE FUTURE OF THE M U R A L ?
Francis O ' C o n n o r t h i n k s that it might be, of all things, religious. "Given the amazing growth of religious ideology in the last years," he says, "I would not be surprised if we saw a resurgence of liturgical murals by people of faith across the national spectrum." From O'Connor's perspective, great ages of the mural—the era of the Mexican masters, the WPA period, and even the contentious 60s that s p a w n e d the community mural movement—are times w h e n there is sufficient agreement on one idea—the power of an indigenous past, the dignity of labor, the right of communities to assert themselves—that it shows u p on wall after wall. "Aside from religion, I do not see any nationally accepted big idea right now that could grab everyone's attention to the point that its appearance on local walls was inevitable," says O'Connor. "Something big would have to h a p p e n for that to occur—like a civil war or a Depression or another 9/11, or something unimaginably good that everyone would recognize as such and celebrate. "Let's hope for the last!"
JON SPAYDE is a writer and editor based in St. Paul. Minnesota. He edited two special issues devoted to the arts for the cultural and political magazine Utne Reader.
s BEN HEYWOOD
T H E M U R A L IS O N E OF THE OLDEST ART F O R M S , S P R I N G I N G F R O M A DESIRE TO P E R M A N E N T L Y DEPICT IDEAS I N PUBLIC SPACE. I N THE LAST CENTURY THE M U R A L F O R M W A S D R I V E N BY T W O STRONG T H R E A D S , BOTH W I T H O R I G I N S I N POPULAR CULTURE: A D V E R T I S I N G A N D PROTEST. O B S E R V I N G THESE T H R E A D S I N RECENT M U R A L S REVEALS H O W ARTISTS A N D D E S I G N E R S ARE A D A P T I N G T H E M U R A L FOR N E W USES A N D N E W F O R M S OF EXPRESSION. 30
The mural is a demotic art form, allowing for protest and dissent. As with graffiti, all an artist needs for a mural is a pot of paint, a brush, and a vertical wall. More recently, high-tech presentation of large-scale imagery in public space offers flexible mural space that can change rapidly. This new interface between viewers and murals, either directly or through the Internet, has made these new murals a space for free and unfettered public expression. The d i s a d v a n t a g e of the high-tech a p p r o a c h is that it is capital intensive, making such projections more risk-averse in content. Such leading-edge technologies have typically been specified by commercial clients and delivered by architects and engineers. Without artists to supply content, we are left with the vacuous, dystopian imagery of films such as Bladerunner or Minority Report, where every architectural surface is a potential space for advertising. The Galleria West Shopping Mall in the upmarket Apgujeong-dong district of Seoul was refurbished in 2004 with a new skin of 4,000 small dichroic glass discs arranged in groups of three, suspended off the building. The project was developed
by Rogier van der Heide of Arup Lighting, with Dutch Architects UN Studio. Each of the discs has its own LED light source, and by projecting off center, each disc, when illuminated, appears spherical. The screen is programmed with theatre lighting software, allowing for almost instantaneous projection of moving image from any digital source, including the Internet. This kind of big-science approach to the presentation of the new mural, while impressive in terms of realizing a Bladerunner future, obscures other innovations that allow for a more robust and flexible interface with art and the public. Designer Tom Barker's Consultants from London have developed Smartslab, where the projection pixel is encased in a prefabricated honeycomb cell, using aerospace composites to produce a durable projection device robust enough for floors or pavements. Similarly, the new Millennium Park in Chicago (2004) incorporates a fountain designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, where twin stele of glass blocks face each other, each a projection screen where citizens spit real water onto a plaza below in a demotic parody of Italian Renaissance fountains.
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Some high-tech projects offer direct digital participation with the public. Aegis Hyposurface is a project of Mark Goulthorpe, a British artist/architect/designer and associate p r o f e s s o r at MIT. Aegis was d e v e l o p e d by Goulthorpe's Paris atelier dECOi, with Mark Burry of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Originally commissioned in a competition sponsored by the Hippodrome Theatre in Birmingham, England, Aegis and dECOi were awarded the Far East International Digital Architectural Design Digital Design Award in 2001, and exhibited at the Architecture of the Non-Standard, Centre Pompidou, Paris in 2003. Physically, Aegis Hyposurface is a vertical steel mesh mounted, via flexible rubber "squids," onto hydraulic pistons. Computer controlled, the pistons slide back and forth, manipulating the surface and giving it the appearance and action of a liquid. Digitally, Aegis Hyposurface can directly convert any input into a physical effect—music, text, image, the applause of the audience, or the footsteps of a passer-by. Of c o u r s e , h i g h - t e c h d e v e l o p m e n t s are n o t restricted to the active. Advances in passive materials technology, such as more accurate large-scale reproduction of images, have opened up new avenues of expression for the mural. The British abstract painter Howard Hodgkin worked with the Hayward Gallery and architects Avery Associates to produce a painting that was then reproduced in vinyl to encircle the drum of a new IMAX cinema in London (1999). Over twenty meters high, the brightly colored drum offers an impressive gateway to the river Thames. In another London project, artist Sam Taylor-Wood created what was billed as the world's largest artwork for Selfridges's department store in 2000. XV Seconds consisted of a 275-meter photographic frieze s u s p e n d e d over the store's fagade, incorporating celebrities and actors posed as for a classical tableaux, with Sir Elton John in the center. Adhesive, semiopaque advertising vinyl has been used to great effect in other sites. In 2004, British duo Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell w r a p p e d the c r o s s - c h a n n e l Eurostar train for its Tenth Anniversary Livery Language of Places (Eurostar). Langlands and Bell have long been fascinated by depicting international travel, and the opportunity to wrap the Eurostar, an embodiment of the international, was too important to ignore. French luxury fashion and jewelery designers Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonnetti wrapped trains of the new tram system in Montpellier with decorative blue vinyl. The democratic nature of the mural intersects with the needs of commerce, and it is the intervention of the artists (as with Sam Taylor-Wood at Selfridges) that creates an aura of wealth and taste for the most humble of objects: the machinery of public transit. The Swiss architects Herzog DeMeuron have become closely associated with technologically complex fagades for their buildings. While their work in perforated aluminium for the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2005) or EFTE cladding for the Allainez Arena stadium, Germany (2005) are works of architectural spectacle, the Laban Dance Centre in London (2002) featured a direct collaboration with artist Michael Craig Martin, with whom they had worked on OPPOSITE PAGE: Rogier van der Heide (Arup Lighting) with UN Studio (two variations), The Galleria West Shopping Mall, 2004, Seoul, Korea. RIGHT: Mark Goulthorpe (dECOi) with Mark Burry, dsj/s H u f w r i m , 2003, Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham, England.
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the Tate Modern Gallery in 2000. Craig-Martin produced a sophisticated fagade of translucent color. Set deep within panels of plastic, the panels are illuminated at night and the interior of the dance school houses one of Craig-Martin's trademark wall drawings. Sculptor Bruce McLean is a long-time collaborator with architect Will Alsop. In 2005 they worked together on the Queen Mary Medical School in London's Whitechapel. Alsop specified large expanses of glass, with McLean animating the fagade with panels of intense color. Working with a German glass company, large panels of plain colored glass were masked, sandblasted, and the gaps filled with ceramic. Mclean and Alsop previously worked on the train station at London's Tottenham Hale in the early 1990s, producing a colored glass frieze and "fountain"—a suspended glass box filled with brightly decorative glass panelling. The architectural firm Ash Sakula has proposed a scheme based on the work of Ghanaian textile artist El
Anatsui for the National Carnival Arts Centre. The building will be s w a t h e d in a t e x t i l e d e s c r i b e d as " p a t t e r n e d semi-transparent voile within a decorated open grid." This material will allow the placement of planned and found objects directly onto the building. Carnival masks, artifacts, costumes, and objects from the public could all become part of this textured mural that runs the length of the building. On a more low-tech note, artist Richard Woods has temporarily renovated the ancient stone Long Room at New College, University of Oxford. This work was commissioned by The Laboratory, the exploratory arm of the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford. In NewBUILD, the artist employed a blockprinting system to create a super-sized red-brick graphic to partially envelop the building's exterior stonework. NewBUILD creates an architectural mash-up, conflating New College's heritage architecture with that of home-makeover instant gratification, setting up a dialogue on the aesthetics of social class as embodied in British higher education.
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One artist who has embraced the demotic nature of the mural in commercial space is the Briton Julian Opie. In December 2000 he produced images of the band Blur for their Greatest Hits album, featured in a national advertising campaign. He has also worked with BAR Honda Formula One Team. His murals of stylized stick figures are produced in laser-cut adhesive vinyl, the imagery depicting generic people engaged in generic public activity. A prolific artist, Opie has produced similar work for the Baltic in northeast England (2001), Sadler's Well's Theatre in London (2003), and Selfridges department store in Manchester (2003). It is clear that w h i l e an e n g a g e m e n t w i t h i n the language of advertising demands compromise, the largescale projection has retained an ability to subvert. The New York artist Krzysztof Wodiczko has a committed practice dedicated to social protest. He has projected a swastika on the South African embassy in London's Trafalgar Square, a OPPOSITE PAGE ABOVE LEFT: Howard Hodgkin with Avery Associates, digital mural on vinyl for I MAX cinema, 1999, London, England.
U.S. Pershing nuclear missile onto Nelson's Column, and military images on the Soldiers and Sailors Arch in Brooklyn. Similar guerrilla interventions highlighting the iniquities and inequalities of western society followed in both the United States and Europe. Technological advances have been rapidly co-optedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from FHM's projection of a nude model onto the Palace of Westminster in 1998. to American Graffiti, where images critical of George Bush were projected on buildings in seventeen swing-state cities across the United States in October 2004. to a recent celebration for the end of WWII in London, where the fagade of Buckingham palace became a huge projection screen. Of course, "protest" can take many forms, and the reinvention of the mural can be an occasion for jokes rather than high-minded seriousness. In 2000, Belgium artist Jan Fabre stapled 8.000 slices of local ham to the Aula building at the Rijksuniversiteit in Gent. Protected from dogs and insects with film, the ham gave the gray stone of the building the appearance of luxurious red marble. The meat also made a delicious stink, surely the aim of all great art?
OPPOSITE PAGE ABOVE RIGHT: Michael Craig-Martin with architects Herzog De Meuron, illuminated panels for Laban Dance Centre, 2002, London, England. OPPOSITE PAGE BELOW: Julian Opie, laser-cut adhesive vinyl mural, 2003, Selfridges department store, Manchester, England. ABOVE: Jan Fabre, temporary mural, 2000, Aula building at Rijksuniversiteit, Gent, Belgium.
BEN HEYWOOD is the executive director of The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For six years he was an officer at the Arts Council of England, leading the development of national policy and spending on public art.
When the Web Meets the Wall DAVID PETER KLUTH
Traditionally, muralists would ask prospective viewers to check out their latest project at the corner of First and Main. Today, they hand out a calling card that lists a Web address. Contemporary muralists doubtless lament that their work is more likely to be experienced as pixilated magic on the World Wide Web than enjoyed in person. So just how do they convey on a computer monitor the impact of a mural's size or relationship to its location? What's lost when viewing what is possibly the most ancient of all site-specific art forms on this most modern of formats? The number of returns on an Internet search for "mural" is a testament to the many commercial faux painters, tourist murals, and children's projects that exist. However, a few minutes spent surfing through the results yields many pages devoted to murals that can be called public art. At the core of public art murals is the relationship of the subject matter to the community, elevating the work beyond mere wall decoration. For muralists, a website may well be the best opportunity to document their work. One might think that
the Internet, an exciting visual medium, would be most fully utilized by artists. However, few muralists can afford to pay for the talent necessary to create a slick website. Most artists' sites are low maintenance and were created with standard Web page builders. It's disappointing that they are limited to poorly photographed examples of the artist's work along with a short biographical statement and some contact information. How can websites offer more substance? A good mural website should exemplify how the artist thinks, describe the intended audience and how the neighborhood reacted to a work, and explain the reason b e h i n d each piece's location. The Los Angeles-based Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) takes full advantage of a website's potential (www.sparcmurals.org). It has devoted considerable time and effort to this site, and it shows. The designer has created a site both speedy and easy to navigate. Equally exciting is the opportunity to see and learn a tremendous amount about the murals, the artists who make them, and the history of the subject matter. SPARC does an exemplary
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job presenting murals in relationship to the community. The photo essay on the Hitting the Wall mural restoration conveys the sense of urgency involved when a wall surface begins to deteriorate. It should inspire other muralists to properly prepare the wall and think twice about environmental exposure. A fine but much less ambitious website is maintained by Metro Murals, based in Portland, Oregon (www.metromurals.org), with many features that should be expected in a well-planned site. The site is easily navigated, provides helpful documentation, and includes some useful self-help materials. The section on Portland's sign code should be eye-opening for anyone starting a public art career. The site could use more images of the work in context, such as photos of unveilings or murals in progress. Metro Murals lists contact information for local muralists, along with an hourly wage. A quick survey reveals that almost all mural websites offer some sort of e-commerce. Putting a site up on the Internet is not just about receiving the next commission. Many artists are getting the most out of the intellectual property rights they retain by selling books, postcards, and posters. Organizations are offering items such as mural location maps and consulting services. Taking advantage of this worldwide audience will aid in funding the next project. For most muralists, the Web is the only way to market themselves, since few commercial galleries promote muralists. Some artists have designed sites that appeal to their specific audience. For example, Eric Grohe's savvy website (www.ericgrohemurals.com) includes photographs that helpfully detail his often immense commercial wall paintings. Juan Angel Chavez (www.mudstudios.com) provides a lean and clean presentation of both his public and gallery work. This is a good site visually, but it would benefit from some insightful text and more than one photoOPPOSITE PAGE: www.sparcmurals.0r9 ABOVE: www.ericgrohemurals.com BELOW: www.davidlowenstein.com
graphic viewpoint of his large works. David Lowenstein (www.davidloewenstein.com), a community-based muralist, offers brief descriptive texts and multiple views of murals. All three of these sites are solid, but none move visitors past the idea of commerce and into the sublime. This challenge must be addressed by the next generation of websites promoting individual muralists. Historically, many of the best murals are political. Political muralists require websites that explain the motivation behind their carefully selected images. The Bogside Artists collective from Derry, Ireland, creates murals about political discord in Northern Ireland (www.bogsideartists.com). Their low-maintenance website has its quirks. Individual pages jump around without format and the site is visually uninspired. The text reads as though it was written for those already familiar with the subject matter. However, the site designers do manage to do something brilliant. Located on the "about us" page is a link to the Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN) website (http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/bogsideartists/menu.htm). CAIN's presentation about the Bogside Artists features easy-to-navigate pages and is well illustrated with quickly opening images. Because of this link, an average website becomes noteworthy. The obvious point of a muralist's website is to display the finished work. Equally important should be the opportunity to tell a mural's story. A mural is a big undertaking that inevitably yields anecdotes, and artists should consider including some of these stories on their sites. I spent one summer of my youth working for a muralist. We noticed that one senior citizen took a particular interest in the project and would stop by daily to see its progress. One day he came over to ask who the artist was. I proudly pointed to my mentor, and the man walked over to him and said, "Is that one coat or two?" The mural will speak for itself. The best use of a website is to complete the story behind the mural.
DAVID PETER KLUTH is a Minneapolis artist whose career was inspired by Green Bay, Wisconsin, muralist Randy Smits.
Counterparts 8 x35 acrylic. New York. New York & Holcomb. Missouri 2000 Designed and painted in collaboration with students from Holcomb High School and Baruch College Campus High School The two student groups explored, with the aid of the Internet, the similarities and differences of growing up in very different parts of the country Upon completion, the two sections of the mural came together and toured throughout the U S accompanied by a documentary film made dunng the course of the project
Graffiti and Global Culture AXEL THIEL
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When the aerosol spray can was patented in Norway in 1927, no one could foresee what would come of it. First used to dispense insecticides, then disinfectants and hairspray, aerosol cans would not be used to store paint for several decades, and it was several more until a social invention—created in the slums of U.S. cities—turned them into something entirely different: an art tool. What was first called graffiti soon came to be known as writing, and as the media spread knowledge about writing, a whole movement—hiphop—came into being and a true global art was created. Today, universities teach hip-hop studies, and writers show their work in galleries. Graffiti has become a business, with an annual global output of $70 billion. One way of looking at transgressive art is as a safety valve, a way of letting off steam. No walls are torn down; nothing is blown up. Considered materially, graffiti is simply combinations of color. Its transgressions are symbolic, executed mostly by adolescent males as part of their rite of passage. Nevertheless, since the origins of modern graffiti, this art form has been subject to repression—as if people did not know what writing on a wall is. 1 The zealousness of official attempts to whitewash graffiti simply shows the political importance of this art form. Ironically, repression often speeds up development, which has been true with graffiti. Its forms diversified and now there are subcultures of specialists making stencils, stickers, tags, and what not. We have to ask why modern politics has tried to undo 50,000 years of history, during which outer walls have been free to all. Only dictators have come close to making walls graffiti-free. Which prompts the question, what political forces brought graffiti/writing into existence in the first place? One significant development was increasing private ownership, resulting in more and more walls, turning formerly accessible spaces into private property and dividing
the world into inside and outside. I call this phenomenon an "architectural forced matrix," whereby the concrete structure of cities constrains not only our movement but our behavior and mental activity as well. This means we have mental walls impeding and blurring our vision so we may not see or understand what is really going on. Repressive political systems want to prevent people from seeing what is what. As the bumper sticker slogan says, "Buy land. They've stopped making it." The meta-message of anti-graffiti policy is "Only if you have money can you express yourself." So how effective has the repression of graffiti been? The fact is that some people are making good incomes via graffiti removal. Do they really want to see this art form come to an end? Furthermore, erasure is futile, if not counterproductive. Cleaned, whitewashed walls create the optimal canvas for the next signs. A low view of grafitti might see it as comparable to animals marking their territory with excrement. A high view sees it as art. Clearly, not all graffiti should be considered art, but graffiti at any time might become art—witness such writers as Haring, Naegeli, Daim, Futura 200, Tasso, and others. Surveying the pictorial aspects of writing—its mythical and magical signs and figures from throughout human history— reveals archetypes that prompt a view of writing as an expression of the collective unconscious. Today's writers draw on modern myths and symbols: signs for radioactivity and biohazards, images from movies (from aliens to Donald Duck). Modern graffiti is notable not only for its content but also for its (virtual) portability. The dramatic rise of the Internet, together with the increased use of digital cameras, has made writing (American style) an internationally wellknown phenomenon. Now it is possible to turn free art into something to carry away and share images of. Digital photog-
raphy, transfer, and storage offer convenient ways to move images from their original e n v i r o n m e n t to new ones, turning the peculiar and local into the global. In 1995, Susan Farrell started www.graffiti.org, which has become the most comprehensive electronic database of writing in existence. This site, along with many others, puts thousands of images only a click away. 2 Graffiti's influence can also be seen in mainstream media, especially advertising. It's clear that a new field of street art is developing, a new chapter in art history is unfolding, right in front of our eyes. This art is not made for sale. It is accessible to anyone who walks by. Furthermore, it can be made by anyone. As such, it is offensive to the art world. Experts hate it when their expertise is not solicited, where they play no role. Graffiti cannot be tamed. This history can teach us. And the clever-sounding maxim "The difference between art and graffiti is permission" soon can be identified as nonsense, too. If that were true, most of what we call art—which is often rebelious—would never have been created. Only subordinates have to ask permission. AXEL THIEL, currently self-employed, has worked as a coal miner and at night schools and universities. He is enjoying getting old in his garden, watching his daughter grow up, and having no boss. He has oscillated between the West and former East Germany, discovering that you can only be at home in yourself. NOTES:
1. The Old Testament book of Daniel recounts an early example of what might be called graffiti. King Belshazzar sees a disembodied hand writing something on the wall. He summons Daniel to interpret the inscription, part o f which is "Menetekel," which Daniel intereprets as "Cod has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. You have been weighed and found wanting" (Dan. 5:25-28). 2. See also my own website: www.graffitiforschung.tk.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Throw-up by LOGIK. LEFT: Aersol cans at the B—Girl Be celebration, Minneapolis, Minn. RIGHT: Oan Witz, from Skateboarders (aregraffiti)
series (detail), 2005, New York City.
Dancing With Bears SEITU KEN JONES
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Painting on walls is one of humankind's oldest visual traditions. While older sculptural artworks have been discovered in South Africa, the artwork on the walls of the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave in central France represents the oldest paintings found so far. What was the motivation for these artists? One theory sees them as the first bad boys and bad girls of art, who painted while the bears that lived in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave were hibernating—not unlike sneaking into the train yards and tagging subway cars. Was this artwork religious? Was it primarily documentary, recording animal migration, or was it instructive, informing viewers how the natural world worked? These cave paintings and other works of art from prehistory are testament to artistic skill. But can they be called art unless there was someone around at the time to judge their artistic merit? It's not difficult to imagine that primitive societies, like our own, had critics— p e o p l e to i n t e r p r e t and construct mean"So—are you ready to ing f r o m a r t w o r k s . One hopes that those early critics in Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc made it out of the cave before the bears woke up. If they did, there was probably at least one who predicted the end of art if people started painting on other surfaces, out of sight or scent of cave-dwelling bears. However, artists kept marking on cave walls, and so began a symbiotic relationship, not of humans and bears but of artists and critics. Some modern critics have predicted the death of painted murals, now that a photographic image can be enlarged to building size. But photographic murals would have to supplant a host of other forms: aerosol, trompe l'oeil, vinyl, ceramic, low relief, tile, mosaic, fresco. It seems unlikely that these forms will disappear. It seems likely that the mural will survive—in many physical forms and with many themes: religious, participatory, protest, social realist, historical, informative, inspirational, abstract, memorial. Many artists will resist these labels but they won't stop art
making. From ancient times to modernism, from the Italian Renaissance to the Harlem Renaissance, from realism to surrealism, from impressionism to postmodernism, artists have not stopped painting on walls. No doubt they will continue creating murals through and past the apocalypse, when even a few critics may have survived. All artists maintain a balance between creative and analytical thought, but few of us have the tools or the inclination to concentrate on analyzing art. I recognize the need for folks to interpret and understand my work and that of other artists, but there is a difference between the way artists and critics look at the world. This is not a q u e s t i o n of w h i c h came first, the chicken or the egg. With artists a n d c r i t i c s , t h e art always came first. Still, I'm not sure it matters who's on first as long as we recognize that we n e e d each other. We both n e e d to a v o i d t h a t sleeping bear and continue our sometimestense relationship. But if society decides reveal your sources?" who gets thrown to the cave bear first, you know whom I'm voting for. Langston Hughes responded to critics this way: "If w h i t e p e o p l e are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. The tom-tom cries and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves."
SEITU KEN JONES is a Saint Paul-based artist who creates large-scale public art. In addition to several major commissions in the Twin Cities, he is the recipient of a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship and a Loeb Fellowship to research cultural landscapes at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Judy Baca's Legacy CAROLE GOLD CALO
Eric Liu has asked, "Who will carry your voice?... We all leave a legacy... It is measured in the voice we pass on, a voice, disembodied, that can turn anything.. .into a classroom." 1 It is clear that Judy Baca's voice continues to resonate in the lives of those she has worked with over the years. Chicana artist Judy Baca is best known for her work in Los Angeles with high school and college students, rival gangs, and members of diverse communities, creating public murals that address the history and present lives of these communities. Baca sees her approach as distinctive from other public art initiatives in that she has turned young people into activists who have been empowered by direct involvement in creating serious public monuments. The Great Wall of Los Angeles (1972-1984), a halfmile long mural recounting the multicultural history of California, involved 450 neighborhood youth of various ethnic backgrounds, 40 scholars, and over 100 staff members. As the founder and artistic director of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice, California, since 1976, Baca has spearheaded outreach programs like Great BELOW: Judy Baca and SPARC, Migration of Vie Goltien People, digital mural on vinyl, 2002, Los Angeles, Calif. Part of the Great Walls Unlimited: Neighborhood Pride program sponsored by SPARC and the Central American Resource and Education Center (CARECEN). This mural depicts the migration of Central Americans into the Pico Union district of Los Angeles.
Walls Unlimited: Neighborhood Pride, which has resulted in h u n d r e d s of m u r a l s t h r o u g h o u t Los Angeles a n d has involved over 2,000 participants. Baca recently completed The World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear in collaboration with artists from Finland. Russia, Palestine, Israel, and Mexico. It includes seven portable murals by Baca and seven international panels that address peace, international cooperation, and spiritual growth. As a professor of fine arts at UCLA since 1980. Baca has inspired countless art students in her courses and collaborative projects. Instrumental in the establishment of the UCLA/SPARC Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab, Baca sees digital technology as revolutionizing the process of mural making and conservation. Central to her work is Baca's conviction that "every change in society begins with the individual, with a personal transformation." 2 As a high school student, forge Samayoa worked for two summers with Baca on The Great Wall of Los Angeles. Now 43, what he remembers most about this experience is Baca's almost religious devotion to art, her c o m m i t m e n t to her vision, and h o w she i n s p i r e d h i m to strive for excellence. During those two summers in 1979 and 1980, Samayoa felt satisfaction and pride as he helped create scenes that touched the pulse of the multicultural population of the city. Although he went on to study commercial art, he never completed college due to family responsibilities and the need for full-time employment. Yet he has continued to paint in private, mostly portraits. One of his goals is to do more mural painting, and he recently submitted sketches for a mural at an adoption center in Los Angeles.
Artist Rip Cronk praises the empowerment young artists gain through Baca's apprenticeship system. Cronk came to SPARC'S Neighborhood Pride program as a guest artist after completing a mural series in Hawaii in 1978. He was involved in three master/apprentice mural projects organized by SPARC and went on to paint seventeen more murals in Venice and West Los Angeles. His first and perhaps best-known mural is Venice on the Half Shell (a parody of Botticelli's Birth of Venus), which he painted on the Venice Pavilion in 1979. He notes that young, often disenfranchised artists discovered their own voices during the mural-making process. "The community-based public mural reflects local ideals at the interface of art and society. It incorporates the viewer in a cultural context that validates the community's values as an extension of the historical process. For me as an artist, Judy was not a stylistic or formal influence; rather, she
helped me recognize the power of art as an actualizing force in society." In 1996, as a math major at UCLA, Angelica Pereyra took several art courses with Baca, became a fine arts major and an apprentice on Baca's team, and digitally designed the mural La Famiglia for the Estrada Courts Housing Project in East Los Angeles. Now a math and fine arts teacher at Palisades Charter High School, Pereyra and her Palisades students created a mural for the foyer of the Ocean Park Community Center. Just as Baca was determined to give a voice to a disenfranchised Latino community, so Pereyra and her five students were inspired by oral histories of community members as well as the life and accomplishments of Cesar Chavez. Brenda Zuniga, another of Judy Baca's students at UCLA, became fascinated with digital mural making in the
Cesar Chavez Digital Lab. After graduating, she worked on a SPARC project with Baca, helping high school students research Central America for a digitally assisted mural, perhaps the first of its kind. This technique involved scanning and adjusting photographs, painting the images on canvas, and scanning the composition back into the computer to be exported into a large mural format. Zuniga's graduate work in cinematography at the University of Southern California embraces the kind of digital technology she was introduced to in Baca's classes, mirrors the collaborative process of mural making, and extends themes that her teacher promoted concerning her heritage. Zuniga is now interested in documentary filmmaking and has recently finished a tape for a film she hopes to make about Salvadoran immigrants who had experienced war and their adjustment to life in the United States. She shot a photodocumentary of the heated protest staged by an anti-illegal immigrant group on May 14, 2005, over Baca's B a l d w i n Park Metro Station m o n u m e n t and the counterprotest m o u n t e d by monument supporters.
It is evident that Judy Baca's influence extends beyond the murals and monuments she has designed and executed. As Brenda Zuniga says, "Judy Baca is an inspirational person. She has a special talent for promoting passion within young people." Baca continues to dedicate herself to teaching, mentoring, and being an imaginative conscienceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; employing creative processes to affect societal reform. She has said, "I absolutely believe we can change the world." 3 And it is through the rippling effect of her influence that her students and proteges have gone on to transform their world one vision at a time. CAROLE GOLD CALO is chair of the Fine Arts Department and professor of art history at Stonehill College. Her publications include Viewpoints: Readings in Art History as well as articles for Public Art Review. Arts Magazine, and Art New England.
(detail of 1930s section Bostbon/I Refugees), 1979-1980, Los Angeles, Calif.
I . Guiding
OPPOSITE PAGE ABOVE: Jorge Samayoa (with Judy Baca), The Brest Will at Los ingeles
Lights: The People Who Lead Us Towards Our Purpose in Life
Hollywood, Calif. Sponsored by SPARC.
(New York: Random House, 2004), 215. 2. Moira Roth, "Towards a World in Balance," Artweek,
(Nov. 14, 1992): 10-11. 3. Henry Sayre, A World of Art: Works in Progress - Judith (Annenberg CPB Project, 1996).
OPPOSITE PAGE BELOW: Rip Cronk, MET Theatre Community Bulletin Board, 1998,
ABOVE: Judy Baca and others, The Greet Well of Los Hogeles (detail of 1940s section Internment of Japanese Americans), 1979-1980, Los Angeles, Calif. ABOVE: Brenda Zuniga. Fl Rey del Mango, 2001, photograph. BELOW: Angelica Pereyra, mural for the foyer of the Ocean Park Comunity Center, 2004, Santa Monica, Calif.
LIVING MURALS IN THE LAND Crossing Boundaries of Time and Space AGNES DENES
Murals go back to ancient timesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;to early cave art, land structures like the Great Wall of China, works that reflected the stars and assuaged human curiosity about the heavens, earth patterns like the Nazca lines of Peru. The view from an airplane window often includes patches of cultivated land that look like multicolored murals blanketing the earth. My large-scale environmental works can be seen as murals that define the landscape. They are monumental by necessity and become landmarks that live and breathe with the land, giving it new purpose and meaning. I started out as a poet but gave it up for a visual expression when I lost my language. Soon, however, I gave up painting as well. I was always in confrontation with the edge of the canvas, plus having to translate complex ideas into paint, hoping the viewer would translate them back into concept, was complicated. Not wanting to give up, I designed a machine that would dispense a theoretically endless canvas. When a length was painted and dry, it would release another length. This canvas, perhaps as much as 500 feet long, would represent several years of my art. What a mural! But when I realized that the canvas had limitations vertically as well, that it would look like a huge ribbon, I gave up painting. 5 Denes, Wheatlieli-A Confrontation, Battery Park Landfill, lower Manhattan, Summer 1982. Two acres of wheat planted and harvested by the artist. TOP ROW (left to right): Before planting; green wheat; Statue of Liberty in the background across the Hudson; MIDDLE ROW: ( f c f f e W w i t h New York Financial Center in background; Agnes Denes in the field; Whealtield and World Trade Center. BOTTOM ROW: Aerial view of WheatHeld\ ocean liner passing Wheatlielil on the Hudson; The Harvest.
Of course there were other issues involved in giving up an accepted art form. I realized that art had to change in a world drastically changing, when humanity was facing major decisions in order to survive on the planet while striving to maintain moral values and quality of life. I wanted to cleanse art from its elitist self-involvement, to achieve greater universal validity. I left the ivory tower of my studio and entered the world of concerns. My last act as a painter was to photograph the canvas itself, enlarging the weaves repeatedly until it became a busy landscape with mountains and valleys, no longer recognizable as canvasâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the mute, invisible field behind a work of art. It became a separate entity, the field, the land itself. I was
now off the canvas and out in the landscape, having to invent a new art form. That search resulted in several large-scale ecological/environmental works I called Philosophy in the Land. They probed ecological, cultural, and social issues; explored the paradoxes of h u m a n existence; and addressed global survival. I began by visualizing invisible processes such as logic, thought, evolution, time, music, and mathematics. These became the building blocks for my pyramids, expressions of social philosophy, an investigation of what it meant to be human. The early Philosophical Drawings took me into the sciences, technology, dialectics, symbolic logic, theology, time, truth functions. I wanted to unite disciplines alienated
through specialization, and came to look at art as an integrator of disciplines and the role of the artist as developing a new vision for humanity. My first large scale ecological work, Rice/Tree/Burial (1968), was philosophical in orientation—thesis, antithesis, synthesis—and was about our relationship to the earth. I planted a rice field above the Niagara gorge at the border of the United States and Canada, chained a sacred Indian forest, and buried a time capsule to be opened in 1000 years; it included my Haiku poetry. I kept no copies. Then I went out to the edge of Niagara Falls and for eight days and nights lived a foot away from the torrent. In 1982 I created Wheatfield—a Confrontation, which was 1.2 acres of wheat planted and harvested in lower Manhattan's financial district. It was commissioned by the Public Art Fund and funded mostly by donations. It became a living mural, involving months of preparation. Rather than gessoing a canvas or prepainting a wall, I had to bring in 280 truckloads of dirt to be smoothed down with tractors and bulldozers and then covered with an inch of topsoil. Then we created 285 furrows, found seed (Minnesota white durum) that would be strong enough to survive in the bad soil and harsh cross winds of the New York harbor, and planted it by hand. The project was badly underfunded, and I had to scramble for soil, tools, and volunteers. Plus we were treated
as intruders by the construction crew building Battery Park City. Although I had a fifty-page contract with the city, it protected everyone but me. But when the shoots came up, a transformation occurred: Hostilities died off, and our former tormentors, the construction workers, boasted about "our wheat field" and no longer threatened us for trespassing. Wheatfield turned out to be the only field in the country that year not affected by wheat smut because we picked it daily by hand. There was no vandalism; even half a million people coming to see Fourth of July fireworks at the Statue of Liberty did not damage it. People don't hurt what they like. The ocean liners that passed us daily learned about the wheatfield and saluted us with their fog horns, and on the Fourth of July the famous tug boat came close to shore and sprayed the field with its red, white, and blue water. The land I used was worth $4.5 billion. It produced a field of wheat worth perhaps a couple hundred dollars on the stock exchange. But it was the first wheat in Manhattan in 300 years—perhaps the first ever, since the Indians planted mainly corn—but also the last while civilization lasted, so perhaps worth more. But that was not my intent. Wheatfield was a symbol, a calling to account. It represented food, energy, commerce, world trade, economics. It referred to mismanagement, waste, world hunger, and ecological concerns. It was an intrusion into the Citadel, a confrontation of
6000 TREES OF VARYING HEIGHTS PLANTED INTO 5 SPIRALS TO FORM STEP PYRAMIDS
A FOREST ALTOONA TREATMENT PLANT MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
AGNES DENES, 1998
High Civilization. Then again, it was also Shangri-la, a small paradise, one's childhood, a hot summer afternoon in the country, peace, forgotten values, simple pleasures. Wheatfield sprang up twenty feet from the Hudson, one block from Wall Street, flanked by the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. At sunset the four-block site was my studio. Exhausted from the day's work. I'd look out at the rushing waters of the Hudson and the yellow stalks of wheat waving in the wind, savor the heavy smell of the field and the buzzing of dragon flies, surrounded by ladybugs, field mice, praying mantis. I was on an island of peace, just a block away from the heartbeat of the city and evening rush hour on West Street. When we harvested, people stood around in silence and wept. Wheatfield yielded several bushels of healthy, golden wheat. My next project was Tree Mountain—A Living Time Capsule—11,000 Trees, 11,000 People, 400 Years (19821996). Ten years after its design, it was commissioned by the Finnish government at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The project was sponsored by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment and the United Nations Environmental Program, as well as donations. The first task was to find a site. My design called for a curved, asymmetrical, mathematical pattern placed on a symmetrical, elongated oval and coming to a sharp point of elevation in the center. The idea was to OPPOSITE PAGE ABOVE: Agnes Oenes, Tree Mountain - A Lima Time Capsule - 11,000 Trees, 11,000 People, 400 rears, 1992-96 (winter view, 2003), Ylojarvi, Finland. BELOW LEFT: Aerial view of the mathematical pattern into which the trees are planted. BELOW RIGHT: Summer view (detail), 2002. THIS PAGE: The mural, Forest lor Australia, was 400 meters by 80 meters planted with 6,000 trees into five intersecting spirals, using trees of various heights (eucalyptus, river red gum, and drooping she oak) to form step pyramids when the forest is fully grown. Altoona Water Treatment Plant, Melbourne, Australia. This rendering shows a projection of the trees fully grown.
unite the human intellect with the majesty of nature, one of the underlying concepts behind my ecological artworks. But there were problems. For one, I was not willing to remove trees from an existing mountain. So we decided to build our own mountain. We selected a site that a company had used for resource extraction and was obligated to compensate for with some kind of restoration. Building a mountain out of refuse material the mine could no longer use became their payment for using the resources free of charge and destroying the land in the process. I took the blank canvas—the naked, destroyed land—and built a mural on it, a process that took four and a half years. When the bulldozers and tractors could not climb any higher without crushing the newly created mountain, dirt was carried up with wheel barrows. Then we laid out the mathematical pattern for the seedlings (a combination of the golden section, sunflower/pineapple patterns). Tree Mountain is one of the largest reclamation sites in the world and unprecedented in duration. The work is 420 meters long, 270 meters wide, and 38 meters high, oval in shape. Eleven thousand people came to Middle Finland to plant their trees and receive documents certifying them as custodians of their trees for 400 years. It takes almost that long for the ecosystem to rebuild itself from such a state of destruction and create a "virgin" forest. The certificate is the first human contract that reaches 400 years into the future and is a valid, inheritable document for twenty or more generations to come. Tree Mountain involved people from around the globe, a community that will become millions through the centuries, connected by their trees. They included world leaders, heads of state, individuals who signed up in Rio, and others worldwide. Some had Finnish children plant their trees for them. The President of Finland came to help plant the first trees. When the ceremonies were over on that chilly day in June, 1996 in Ylojarvi, a work that had been envisioned by an artist fourteen years before began its 400-year evolution. A natural mural began its life as ten-inch seedlings of Finnish
pine entered the newly formed ground to begin their journey of becoming 100-foot trees in a mathematical forest. Tive Mountain is a protected national forest today. Projects like Wheatfield—A Confrontation and Tree Mountain—A Living Time Capsule require knowledge beyond the techniques of art: soil science, forestry, l a n d s c a p e a r c h i t e c t u r e , a n d so f o r t h . T h e y w e r e d i f f i c u l t b e c a u s e t h e r e was no p r e c e d e n t for t h e m . T h e y w e r e
"impossible," even insane, but they force us—as art always tries to do—to rethink our priorities and values. Wheatfield existed for one growing season. Tree Mountain reaches beyond a singlo lifetime to touch future generations with a meaningful legacy.
AGNES DENES, a pioneer o] the ecological art movement, has completed commissions in North and South America, Europe,
I B I
Australia, and the Middle East. She has had over 350 exhibitions on four continents, including a major retivspective at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University. Her work is in the collection of twenty-eight major museums and in many private and corporate collections. She has mitten four books, holds an honorary doctorate in fine arts, and lectures extensively around the world. A second retrospective of 100 of her public art projects has just finished its tour of the United States.
ABOVE: Agnes Denes, Simp, 1998. "While at the American Academy of Rome on a Rome Prize Fellowship, I brought a herd of sheep info the Academy's pristine gardens. The sheep symbolized genetic engineering (Dolly), endangered species, and the loss of cropland, It also emphasized the symbiotic relationship to humanity: when a similar flock of sheep, running this way and that at the slightest noise without perspective of a global plan, we see our accelerated existence running out of control."
" N o w h e r e " is a postcard project that searches for the dilTercncc between place and no place; the tenuous photographs of n o w h e r e that were posted on the virtual landscape of the Internet. Nowhere, is generally s o m e w h e r e once it is occupied by an observer. Or simply put, any nowhere can actually be a special plat is ultimately a subjective reality which has no existence without the presence of an observer.
borderline where nowhere turns into somewhere. T h e images on the cards are composites of various understood as a place with no distinguishing characteristics. Yet, this very n o w h e r e can easily turn into ic for someone. In this sense, every place is simultaneously a n o w h e r e and a s o m e w h e r e , and placeness In view " N o w h e r e " postcards online. \ isil publicARTiev ieu.org.
S H A K E S P E A R E W A S R I G H T : "ALL T H E W O R L D ' S A STAGE." IT T H E R E F O R E F O L L O W S T H A T M U R A L I S T S ARE T H E D E S I G N E R S OF ITS BACKDROPS, I N F R O N T OF W H I C H W E ACT O U T O U R C O M E D I E S , TRAGEDIES, A N D D R A M A S . T H E W O R K S OF THESE ARTISTS S U R R O U N D US W I T H PATTERNS A N D COLOR, C O M M E N T A R Y A N D SPECTACLE. T H E Y D R A W US I N A N D B I D US P O N D E R . W A L L S A N D W I N D O W S , C E I L I N G S
FLOORS, ARE B U T C A N V A S E S , L I M I T E D O N L Y BY I M A G I N A T I O N , SKILL, A N D A N I N N A T E DESIRE T O SHARE A V I S I O N W I T H A U D I E N C E S A R O U N D T H E GLOBE. T H E PRACTITIONERS PRESENTED I N THESE P A G E S — A SELECTION OF TALENTED I N D I V I D U A L S — W E R E S U G G E S T E D BY C O L L E A G U E S , C U R A T O R S , H I S T O R I A N S , A N D A D M I N I S T R A T O R S . IT'S A PITY W E C A N ' T FIT M O R E , AS THERE ARE D O Z E N S W H O DESERVE TO BE I N C L U D E D . I N T H E I R O W N W O R D S , W E HEAR F R O M M A R K B A L M A , W L L L I A M C O C H R A N , BRETT C O O K D I Z N E Y , J A M E S D E LA V E G A , R O N E N G L I S H , ORLY G E N G E R , R I C H A R D H A A S , G U Y K E M P E R , M A R I L Y N JOHANNA
I STEVEN W E I T Z M A N . B E L " M U R A L I S T " M I G H T BE A N A W K W A R D FIT FOR A FEW. B U T T H E B O U N D A R I E S OF Y O N D O U R P R E C O N C E I V E D FIELD OF V I S I O N . A S W E " S T R U T A N D FRET O U R U V E S U P O N T H I S STAC
LET U S PAUSE TO T H A N K T H E CREATIVE C O M M U N I T Y W H O B R I N G T H E I R ART
INTO OUR WORLD,
S P E C I A L T H A N K S T O SPECIAL FEATURE C O O R D I N A T O R A N N A M U E S S I G .
Production staff i t Ftwz Mayer d Munich prop** • taries of manic floor mdaKons tor the Oalas-Forlh Worth airport (installed In May ZOOS), designed by (left to right) Linda Guy, Viola Delgado, and ArtheHo Beck Photos taken i t the Munich Studios.
3. BRETT COOK-DIZNEY (b. 1 9 6 8 ) 1. MARK BALMA (b. 1957)
2. WILLIAM COCHRAN (b. 1955)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Harlem, New York / 2003
Hope (detail of The Seven
University of St. Thomas, Downtown
Great Neck, New York / 2005
10' x 25'. Spray enamel on wood with written
Campus, Minneapolis, Minnesota / 1994
8' x 17'. Acrylic paint on masonry panels
17' x 120' (1,900 square-foot ceiling). Fresco
T h i s m u r a l d e p i c t s a g r o u p of a v e r a g e k i d s .
I w a s i n s p i r e d b y t h e l e g a c y of p o e t a n d
W h e n 1 first h a d the idea, I w a s living in
It is i n t e g r a t e d s o c a r e f u l l y i n t o t h e s t r e e t -
political activist | u n e Jordan, w h o
Assisi. I l o o k e d out t h e w i n d o w a n d t h e r e
s c a p e t h a t p a s s e r s b y d o not n o t i c e it a s a n
| u n e 14. 2 0 0 2 . My d i s c o v e r y of t h a t legacy
w a s a w o m a n w a l k i n g by w i t h a w h e e l -
a r t w o r k . T h e m u r a l is u n u s u a l i n t h a t its
left m e s t a g g e r e d b o t h by t h e
b a r r o w f u l l of d i r t . It w a s d u r i n g t h e Bosn-
m a i n s u b j e c t is h u m a n b e i n g s r a t h e r t h a n
of h e r w o r d s a n d m y o w n i g n o r a n c e of t h i s e x a m p l e of h u m a n i t y . I s e n t a n e - m a i l
i a n W a r a n d t h e r e w e r e l o t s of i m a g e s of
(he u s u a l t r o m p e l'oeil s t r a t e g y of d e p i c t i n g
w o m e n l i k e t h i s , a n d s h e r e m i n d e d m e of
t h i s old E u r o p e a n w o m a n w h o r e p r e s e n t e d
" E n c h a n t m e n t is a u s e l e s s t h i n g but a s i n d i s -
a whole generation. T h e r e was also
p e n s a b l e a s b r e a d . " T h i s is a r t a s sleight of
notebook was compiled that includes her written words and miscellaneous materials
or objects. Gio Ponti
i n v i t a t i o n a s k i n g f o l k s to s e n d m e m a t e r i a l Jordan.
a p p l e t r e e o u t s i d e m y w i n d o w , a n d at t h a t
h a n d , a m e t a p h o r for how we m a k e the
s a m e t i m e m y first s o n w a s b o r n . So t h o s e
w o n d e r of life d i s a p p e a r by u n c o n s c i o u s l y
r e l a t e d to h e r legacyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;-for e x a m p l e , i m a g e s
t h r e e e l e m e n t s all c a m e together, c o n n e c t e d
c o n s t r i c t i n g o u r m o d e of p e r c e p t i o n . L i k e
of b r e a s t c a n c e r d e a t h s a n n u a l l y i n t h e
by t h e t h e m e of h o p e : a w o m a n p a r t i c i p a t -
a l l a r t , g o o d t r o m p e l ' o e i l h e l p s p e o p l e to
U . S . a n d N t o z a k e S h a n g e ' s p o e m "Ego (for
ing i n life, a w o m a n w i t h a c h i l d , a n d t h e
notice with fresh eyes the poignancy w i t h i n
| u n e Jordan)." O n e copy w a s installed in
a p p l e tree, w h i c h
every face, h o w e v e r c o m m o n , and
H a r l e m , t h e p l a c e of ) u n e J o r d a n ' s b i r t h . A
h a r k e n s b a c k to
b e g i n n i n g of b i b l i c a l t i m e .
gesture, no m a t t e r how casual.
second was archived.
5. RON ENGLISH (b. 1959)
New York City, New York
Jihad is Over/Private
Posted outside the Holland Tunnel, 4. JAMES DE LA VECA (b. 1973)
Jersey City, New Jersey / 2005.
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Richfield, Connecticut / 2005 70 x 30'. Hand-woven multicolored nylon rope.
East Harlem, New York
6. ORLY GENCER (b. 1979)
Jersey City, New Jersey
ihad is Over d e p i c t s a Muslim Vincent Van
New York City, New York / 2003
Gogh and his Starry Night with a mosque and
(No longer there) Chalk and photo.
a McDonald's c r o w d e d into the picture. This is
that I crocheted in many different sections and
pdate of Yoko Ono and John Lennon's War
then connected on site. The final piece weighs
T h e m u r a l w a s inspired by my arrest in July
is Over b i l l b o a r d s f r o m t h e Vietnam period.
over a ton. I wanted to create something that
2003, a n d the s u b s e q u e n t trial process that
w a s created to depict w h a t a
looks h a r m l e s s but is t h r e a t e n i n g in its mas-
lasted well over eighteen months. I discovered
r e c r u i t m e n t poster for c o r p o r a t e m e r c e n a r i e s
siveness a n d weight. For my p e r f o r m a n c e I
that the legal system contained no justice and
in Iraq might look like. 1 like to use billboards
c r a w l e d u n d e r n e a t h Mr. Softy.
that f r e e d o m of speech w a s only available to
r a t h e r t h a n w a l l s b e c a u s e images 011 bill-
smothering and it pressed me into the ground
those with enough cash to boy it. Murals are a
b o a r d s , I believe, are perceived to have m o r e
as I struggled to find my way out. I create dif-
way to reach a mass audience that would not
a o t h o r i t y than the s a m e images on walls. Of
ferent shapes without any direct relationship to
normally be exposed to art. The m u r a l is a w a y
course, billboard c o m p a n i e s would not allow
o n e a n o t h e r a n d t h e n f i g u r e out h o w I can
to p r o v o k e c o n v e r s a t i o n aboot i n t e r n a t i o n a l
most of my messages on their billboards, so I
m a k e them work together. I corner myself into
issues at a local level.
post them myself over existing advertisements.
a problem and then try to find iny w a y out.
is m a d e out of rock-climbing r o p e
Its weight is
8. GUY KEMPER (b. 1958) 7. RICHARD HAAS (b. 1936)
New York City, New York
9 . M A R I L Y N L I N D S T R O M (b. 1952) Minneapolis, M i n n e s o t a
Nashville Public Library, Nashville,
Airport / 2005
Tennessee / 2000
110' x 25'. Blown glass, laminated.
M i n n e a p o l i s , M i n n e s o t a / 1999
Eight panels, each 10' x 11'. Oil paintings mounted with polymer and clay mastic, coated in matte varnish.
13' x 50'. Acrylic on stucco.
Celestial Passage is a blown glass wall m a d e in a revolutionary technique, with several layers
of eye-popping color laminated together. The-
youth from s u r r o u n d i n g inner-city neighbor-
of Hope w a s created by sixteen
The Nashville m a p s a r e based on the m a p
matically. the piece is a portal to the cosmos.
h o o d s u n d e r t h e d i r e c t i o n of m y s e l f a n d five
rooms of the Vatican Museum, as well as aerial
Today BWT p a s s e n g e r s d e p a r t f o r S e a t t l e ,
cultural advisors. Participating youth considered
views of American cities, including Nashville.
t o m o r r o w quite possibly for outer space. The
the question " H o w d o you c u l t i v a t e a h u m a n
Eight aerial views a n d m a p s tell the story of
fabrication w a s an adventure; the first several
b e i n g ? " Involving the c o m m u n i t y in the philo-
N a s h v i l l e f r o m its f o u n d i n g in a b o u t 1800
attempts failed. Celestial
s o p h i c a l f o u n d a t i o n of t h e piece m e a n s t h e
to 2 0 0 0 . I a l w a y s s t u d y t h e l o c a t i o n a n d
fine art and architectural ornament, responding
mural's theme will grow out of something real
architecture into which a w o r k is to be placed
to light and architecture a n d their psychologi-
a n d will h a v e s o m e s p i r i t u a l c o n n e c t i o n to
and trv to find the appropriate story as well as
cal assimilation by the building's users. I w a n t
people's everyday lives. I use the community's
the a p p r o p r i a t e m e a n s to tell the story. T h i s
to k n o c k the breath out of people w h e n they
drawings, writings, and ideas in the composition
w o r k w a s produced on c a n v a s in my studio and
enter the space, not literally tell a story, as I feel
of the mural, and then we all paint it together,
attached to the wall at the site prior to the open-
this a p p r o a c h stays m o r e compelling
still collecting ideas as we paint, leaving room
ing of the library.
1' assing 1nrough
11. MICHAEL SCHNORR (b. 1 9 4 ; )
12. MEG SALIGMAN (b. 1 9 6 5 )
10. JOHANNA POETHIC (b. 1 9 5 6 )
Chula Vista, California
Calle de la
Security check point, Constitutional
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / 2004
Convention (Loya Jirga), United Nations
5,000 sq ft. Nova-color/nonwoven medium
Los Angeles, California / 1993 62' x 42'. Acrylic mural on concrete.
compound, Kabul, Afghanistan / 2003 4' x 4' panels of enamel on plywood.
is a collective group of whis-
pers strewn throughout a city. People were ran-
T h i s m u r a l takes a d v a n t a g e of the site's high wall set against the s k y s c r a p e r in the u p w a r d
The m u r a l faces all convention delegates a n d
domly eavesdropped 011 and these w o r d s were
motion of the a r m s but is a n c h o r e d to the street
international advisors as they line up for secu-
left in altered signage throughout the city. This
by the centerpiece circle. Late one night I c a m e
rity searches prior to entering the convention
m u r a l is the c e n t e r p i e c e of the project; o n e
across a poem by Octavio Paz that s u m m e d up
c o m p o u n d . The images were " t a k e n " from fab-
dozen r e l a t e d satellite m u r a l s also a p p e a r
w h a t I w a s r e a c h i n g for in the composition's
ric designs used by the nine major tribal groups
011 old gas p u m p s , a d e l i v e r y t r u c k , h i g h w a y
i n t e r a c t i o n of s y m b o l s a n d artifacts. I a d d e d
of A f g h a n i s t a n . The day before the official
trestles, and commercial buildings.
the poem to the centerpiece c a l e n d a r circle and
the m u r a l b e c a m e complete. T h e social envi-
Afghanistan and leader of the Loya (irga com-
a n d m i r r o r s their w o r d s back to t h e m . The
r o n m e n t . the public, the use, a n d the process
plained that the + sign on one of the panels w a s
project a s k s , "Is it possible to c r e a t e p u b l i c
all i n f o r m t h e a p p r o a c h a n d c o n t e n t . T h e n
a Christian cross. We painted out the + sign and
images that e m p o w e r the voices in a commu-
there is the moment ill time and how the m u r a l
put in n u m b e r s that Muslims recognize as the
nity while not d r a w i n g clear conclusions with
relates to the history of the site, w h a t it d r a w s
opening passage when reciting the Koran. Over
uplifting messages? Docs a m o r a l have to be a
from the present a n d how it will live into the
the next few weeks the m u r a l became a photo
huge show stopper, or can we speak at different
b a c k d r o p for many convention delegates.
listens to different c o m m u n i t i e s
15. STEVEN WEITZMAN (b. 1952) Brentwood, Maryland
Alice 14. KENT TWITCHELL (b. 1942)
Waters Landing Elementary School,
Los Angeles, California
Germantown, Maryland /1988
IB. JOHN PUCH (b. 1957)
Los Gatos, California
Los Angeles, California /1971
11' x 45'. Originally enamel, repainted acrylic.
Twentynine Palms, California / 2000
15'x 45'. Acrylic.
50' x 30'Terrazzo with a vertical 2' x 6'
curvilinear column of stainless steel.
This piece w a s constructed from thirty precast T h e m u r a l w a s a c c i d e n t a l l y p a i n t e d over in
borderless terrazzo p a n e l s integrated into
15187, then repainted by the artist in 19118 with
the h a r d s c a p e of a c o u r t y a r d . The abstracted
Some old-limers had a h a r d time accepting this
the a s s i s t a n c e of M u r a l C o n s e r v a n c y v o l u n -
portrait is reflected onto a vertical curvilinear
"frozen moment of process" and its subsequent
teers. It's d e d i c a t e d to my f a v o r i t e c h a r a c t e r
piece of stainless steel w h e r e , a s if by magic,
story as a real art piece. My intention with pub-
actor, Strother Martin, w h o played the prison
it resolves into realistic d e p i c t i o n s of Alice
lic a r t h a s a l w a y s been to "elevate w i t h o u t
w a r d e n in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke.
in W o n d e r l a n d a n d the White Rabbit. As one
alienating," a n d I t h i n k as time went by a n d
most memorable line is "So w h a t w e have here
w a l k s to a n d f r o m the c o l u m n , Alice g r o w s
Day received good press, the town
is failure to communicate." Shortly after finish-
larger or smaller, imitating h e r g r o w t h in the
accepted the m u r a l as " f i n i s h e d . " Creating a
ing the m u r a l of his face, I received a p h o n e
fable while making the viewers active partici-
u n i q u e sense of place is p a r a m o u n t to my
call from h i m . We ended u p forming a friend-
p a n t s . I believe that t h e c o r e e l e m e n t
a p p r o a c h . If I'm weaving a story out of an inno-
ship. My motivation for m u r a l m a k i n g comes
any public art installation is the involvement
vative fabric, the t a p e s t r y will be both fresh
from within. 1 often use images of friends a n d
of viewers. Active p a r t i c i p a t i o n e n c o u r a g e s
and inspired. Yet it is vitally nostalgic, for it is
people w h o are close to m e because meaning is
a sense of i n t i m a c y a n d discovery,
woven from the past as well as the present.
what most inspires and enables m e to paint.
a n i m a t e s and enriches the viewers' experience.
CALIFORNIA GOLD 56
T H E EARLY P I O N E E R S W H O S T R U G G L E D TO R E A C H T H E PACIFIC COAST W E R E
D O U B T CREATIVE P R O B L E M - S O L V E R S ; THEIR PROGENY ARE L I V I N G PROOF. W I T H M O R E PUBLIC ART PER SQUARE FOOT T H A N A N Y OTHER STATE I N THE U N I O N , C A L I F O R N I A IS A TREASURE TROVE. F R O M S A N D I E G O TO THE O R E G O N BORDER THERE ARE M O R E T H A N 7 5 M U N I C I P A L P R O G R A M S A N D M A N Y M O R E C O R P O R A T E , L I T U R G I C A L , A N D I N D E P E N D E N T P A T R O N S OF P U B L I C ART. COLLECTIVELY, T H E Y S P E N D M I L L I O N S A N N U A L L Y , S P A W N I N G T H O U S A N D S OF ARTISTS TO EXPLORE T H E W O R L D B E Y O N D THE GALLERIES, M U S E U M S , A N D THEATERS. W H I L E F A M E A N D FORTUNE ELUDE M O S T ARTISTS, THE A U D I E N C E FOR PUBLIC ART I N C A L I F O R N I A S E E M S TO EAGERLY S U P P O R T T H E N E W , T H E U N I O U E , T H E D I F F E R E N T . F R O M H O L L Y W O O D - S T Y L E P R O D U C T I O N S A N D FANTASTIC FOLK ART, TO L O N G - L A S T I N G COLLABORATIONS A N D F O R W A R D - T H I N K I N G
E D U C A T I O N A L I N I T I A T I V E S , IT'S EASY TO GET
CARRIED A W A Y . I N O U R O W N F O O L H A R D Y W A Y , W E H E R E W I T H OFFER A G L I M P S E OF THE A B U N D A N C E , ABLY ASSISTED BY VETERAN A D M I N I S T R A T O R A N D P L A N N E R JESSICA CUSICK A N D THE VERSATILE ARTIST A N D C O N S U L T A N T H E L E N LESSICK. C U S I C K M O D E R A T E D A V I R T U A L R O U N D T A B L E W I T H COLLEAGUES M A Y A E M S D E N , G A I L GOLDMAN,
GOLDSTEIN, M A R C
PALLY, J U L I E S I L L I M A N , A N D
LESSICK PROFILES A S A M P L I N G OF A R T I S T S , I N C L U D I N G C A R L C H E N G , LITA A L B U O U E R O U E , M A R K DI S U V E R O , K A R E N A T K I N S O N , M I C H A E L D A V I S , A N D K A T H R Y N M I L L E R . T H E I R COLLECTIVE O B S E R V A T I O N S , T H O U G H T F U L I N S I G H T S , A N D ECLECTIC E X A M P L E S HELP SHED LIGHT O N THE G O L D E N STATE A N D ITS M A N Y RICHES.
CULTURAL EDGE: PUBLIC ART IN CALIFORNIA JESSICA CUSICK
This article is based in large part on a virtual conversation with some of the people responsible for California's most innovative public art programs and policies. The group included Maya Emsden, director of creative services, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles; Gail Goldman, art consultant, San Diego; Barbara Goldstein, public art manager, San Jose; Donna Graves, art consultant, Berkeley; Marc Pally, art consultant, Los Angeles; and Julie Silliman, arts planner, Community Redevelopment Agency, Los Angeles. While our charge was to talk about public art in California, the topics that emerged are reflective of the challenges facing the field as a whole. PROLIFERATION, INNOVATION, AND INCLUSION With fifteen distinct governmental public art programs in Los Angeles County alone, the defining characteristic of public art in California could be the sheer wealth and variety of commissioning entities. Innovation, the state's hallmark, also comes quickly to mind, along with a dizzying array of policies, organizations, and individual initiatives that have consistently p u s h e d the parameters and definitions of the field. The pursuit of inclusion, in genuine and meaningful forms, also continues to shape public art in California. AN ABUNDANCE OF RICHES For the last twenty-five years public art programs, both public and private, have proliferated throughout the state. California now has more public art programs that are the result of a developer requirement than any other state in the country, and thus presumably more works of art in public spaces. Brea was one of the first cities to establish a requirement for private development (1975), which has resulted in a remarkable collection of public sculpture by a broad array of artists, from Magdalena Abakanowicz to Niki de Saint Phale. For smaller communities grappling with rapid growth and limited capital improvement budgets, developer requirements offer a partial antidote to homogenous housing
projects as well as a creative way of financing cultural development in a state where municipal funding was severely curtailed by Proposition 13. 1 Further, these programs offer attendant opportunities for artist development, innovation, and the ability to curate outstanding collections. Gail Goldman captured the sense of potential we all share; "California is fertile territory for important public art. We have so many exceptional and quirky distinctions: Mexican border, Pacific Rim, farms and open space being exchanged for condominiums, outrageous real estate, Hollywood, Berkeley, one of the world's largest economies, etc." The consensus, however, is that few of the resulting projects are truly exciting. The combined challenges of small budgets, a lack of genuine commitment from developers and policy makers, a burdensome public process, and inadequate professional support all too often result in the lowest common denominator, where even established artists seem to default to the formulaic. There are notable exceptions, of course, largely attributable to enlightened developers, substantial budgets, and persuasive professionals. STATE OF THE ART California has pioneered flexible percent-for-art policies as well as innovative applications of those policies. In discussing the "state of the art," Barbara Goldstein, author of Los Angeles' public art policy, said, "The form they have taken is fascinating and their presence has allowed for a real broadening of what we mean by public art...encompassing anything from temporary artwork, performance and celebration, to freestanding or site-integrated art and facilities." Grand Performances (grandperformances.org) in Los Angeles illustrates the magic that can result from these policies w h e n everything goes right. For eighteen years Grand Performances has presented free programs that showcase the best of global culture in a u n i q u e outdoor venue. The facility and ongoing funding for the program were established through the Community Redevelopment Agency's public art requirement as part of the development of C a l i f o r n i a Plaza, an e l e v e n - a c r e site in t h e heart of d o w n t o w n t h a t also e n c o m p a s s e s t h e M u s e u m of Contemporary Art. According to Michael Alexander, the organization's visionary longtime director, Grand Performances is "part oasis, part civic gathering place...a u n i q u e l y a c c e s s i b l e s e t t i n g in w h i c h to c e l e b r a t e t h e cultural contributions of our community's peoples." From a public policy perspective, Grand Performances is the result not only of a precedent-setting policy but also the ongoing advocacy efforts of the c o m m u n i t y and the vigilant and enlightened leadership of city staff and elected officials, all of w h o m h a v e w o r k e d to e n s u r e that c o m m i t m e n t to this remarkable program has been sustained through a series of absentee owners and will continue for at least the duration of the land lease. Magdalena Abakanowicz, Hand-like Trees, 1995, Civic Cultural Center of Brea, Calif.
The extensive exhibit-based public art program at the San Francisco Airport is another example of innovative public art policy. It was among the first of its kind in the United States and the first airport to receive accreditation from the American Association of Museums. The Art & Technology program currently being developed for the San Jose airport takes the concept a step further. The recently adopted master plan calls for commissioning permanent artworks and providing the technological infrastructure needed to support the ongoing creation of artworks that explore the intersection of art, culture, and technology. According to the San Jose International Airport Public Art Master Plan, "The program will provide opportunities for collaborations between artists, industry, and community, while also offering a prominent venue to showcase the creative results of these collaborations. Through these multi-disciplinary projects, industry will gain inventive partners for their developing technologies and an opportunity to showcase their technologies to the public." California, particularly southern California, is also known for its mural programs that build on the long-standing traditions of the WPA and the Mexican mural movement. Los Angeles has such a wealth of murals that several programs and organizations, such as SPARC (Social and Public Art Resource Center, www.sparcmurals.org) and the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (www.lamurals.org), are dedicated to their creation, documentation, and preservation. A number of smaller cities, such as Lompoc and Santa Paula, focus exclusively on creating murals to enhance their downtown core and attract visitors. The Lompoc Murals Project (www.rivenrock.com/lompoc) started in 1988. Since then Lompoc has commissioned over thirty major murals painted by noted artists. Santa Paula's historic downtown features a series of eight murals that tell the history of the community (www.santapaulamurals.org). Yet in the hands of Judy Baca, prominent artist and cofounder of SPARC, even this most traditional form of public art is being reinvented. The UCLA/SPARC Digital Mural Lab is a unique research and teaching facility that is developing new techniques for combining traditional mural painting with computer-generated imagery and state-of-the-art materials, a combination that addresses cost and longevity as well as community history and documentation through realworld projects. FOSTERING DIALOGUE California is more heterogeneous than most states and has proven to be fertile ground for public art initiatives that foster pluralism and inclusion. Projects that question the nature of public space and that explore the complex issues of history and culture, power and ownership, inclusion and tradition flourish upon our contradictions.
Since 1992, In-Site (www.inSite05.org) has brought together artists and institutions in a long-term exploration of the complex interactions among people and cultures in San Diego and Tijuana. Central to the program is a series of longterm artist residencies that engage communities on both sides of the border in creating art in public spaces. This remarkable multifaceted initiative also includes museum exhibits (Farsites) and multimedia projects (Scenarios), as well as lectures, workshops, and symposia (Conversations). In August, inSite__05 presented the results of the latest series of artist "Interventions" over the course of four special-event weekends. On a much smaller scale, artist Lauren Bon's temporary project Not A Cornfield (www.notacornfield.info) attempts to chart a creative process for community engagement and ownership of a disputed site just north of downtown Los Angeles. The thirty-two-acre former industrial brownfield is slated to become a state park. This summer it was planted with corn and hosted a diverse series of programs and activities including a community garden, festivals, movie screenings, an oral history project, literary salons, and a series of open-mic nights. Artist Tricia Ward's ongoing projects in Los Angeles, La Tierra de la Culebra, and Spiraling Orchard (artscorpsla.org) are representative of artist-initiated community development projects. Over the years, volunteers and neighborhood youth, working through a variety of structured programs, have transformed blighted parcels of vacant land into community cultural parks. The Center for Land Use Interpretation (www.clui.org), housed in a small space on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, "uses a wonderful cross-discipline approach (including artists), in exploring land use in the West in a truly fresh way," according to Julie Silliman. The organization develops site-specific installations, exhibits, lectures, and tours on themes in the American landscape. A serious study on the impact of plurality and inclusion on our programs would benefit the field. There is a tremendous need for research on how meaningful results have been achieved as well as analyzing strengths and limitations of art as a vehicle for community empowerment and social change. TRENDS Much of our conversation revolved around problems and solutions. A desire to push the envelope was a central concern: how to develop more flexible policies, attract new artists, foster innovation, and deal with the long-term care of aging collections. Many of the trends we identified are clearly responses to these concerns, including a new emphasis on temporary projects and technology, as well as cross-disciplinary training and development.
OPPOSITE PAGE ABOVE: Tricia Ward and ARTScorps LA/ACLA (Art Community Land Activism), Is Tierrs lie Is Culebrs, 2005, Los Angeles, Calif. Community residents work to transform vacant urban land into outdoor communal art parks. OPPOSITE PAGE BELOW: California Plaza (venue for Grand Performances) in downtown Los Angeles consists of two stages surrounded by an elaborate system of gardens and water features. ABOVE: Teddy Cruz, Sen Diego inloSile, 2005. The information center for inSite J 5 that serves as a traveling urban stage for community programming. BELOW: Lauren Bon, HolH Corolieli 2005, Los Angeles, Calif. Aerial view of the cropland and "the eye" feature.
The creative dynamic in California is being nurtured by many arts colleges and universities, yet generating interest in our programs among new artists remains a challenge. Marc Pally emphasized the ongoing disconnect between the field and "the huge pool of well-educated and sophisticated artists who come out of California's art colleges and departments that pay almost no attention to public art. Public art exists as a parallel reality to mainstream art institutions; this is a problem for everyone." Attempts to bridge the divide range from the presence in California of two public art degree programs (the public art studies program at the University of Southern California and the visual and public art program at California State University Monterey Bay) to the development of regional training and mentoring initiatives such as the one being discussed in the Bay area. Agencies are also exploring what Maya Emsden described as "projects that aren't 'collaborations' or 'integrated design.'" This last point, the need to foster a variety of aesthetic approaches, was echoed in a variety of ways, from acclaim for curated collections such as the Stuart Collection, to Barbara Goldstein's hope that "we are trending away from
artists decorating buildings or even getting too deeply embedded in design.... Maybe we can expect architects to become more artful, freeing up artists to create art." The last few years have seen an increase in temporary projects of all kinds, from installations to urban interventions, radio programs to websites. These initiatives are being developed to address a range of components in the public art process, from training to experimentation, innovation to interactivity. Marc Pally's "demise of the boundary" and Julie Silliman's "explosion of projects using technology" are the sources for a majority of the new artworks highlighted by my colleagues, including Diller and Scofidio's new works in San Francisco and San Jose, as well as recent works by Steve Appleton, Cameron McNall, and Christian Moeller for the Community Redevelopment Agency in Los Angeles. The growing size of municipal art collections, along with the proliferation of temporary projects and new technology, said Maya Emsden, is opening up the door and "causing us to rethink permanence...our fetish about protecting art forever." Speaking as a historian. Donna Graves raised a cautionary note in our gleeful discussion of "timing out" public art: "It would be a mistake to err too far on the side of a limited life-span applied in a blanket way." Graves, in discussing the range of work in downtown Berkeley, went on to observe that "this accrual reinforces the fact that artists are part of our civic fabric and that the world of symbols and ideas they insert into our public spaces is important." LAND OF
In reviewing our discussion, Maya Emsden noted that "a tremendous convergence of factors...has created an incredible opportunity, a moment for public art here in California that is distinguishing." She reinforced what I personally found most intriguing and invigorating about our conversationâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that despite the disappointments of programs not reaching their potential, we continue to share a tremendous confidence in the ability of art and artists to shape our public spaces and transform our civic discourse. That sense of opportunity may indeed be what most defines public art in California. JESSICA CUSICK is the cultural affairs manager for the city of Santa Monica. In 1998. she founded Cusick Consulting, a Los Angeles-based firm that specializes in cultural policy. NOTE:
l . In 1978 California voters approved Proposition 13, which reduced property taxes by over 50 percent and put severe limits on future increases.
C A L I F O R N I A GOLDEN STATE ALCHEMY HELEN LESSICK
With the nation's lowest per capita state spending on art, California seems an unpropitious locale for artistic excellence. According to the California Arts Council, the $.08-per-citizen rate of arts spending is less than the rate in the territory of Guam. Of course, the state's enormous population skews the calculation. So do the uncounted funds spent by city, county, and transit programs for permanent and temporary art. Spending on Golden State art in public places ranges from seven-figure permanent constructions to selffunded, artist-initiated projects. Public art works are everywhere, from temporary sculptures in public sites in Palm Springs and the Port of San Diego to permanent contemporary works in San Jose's King Libraries Collections and the Humboldt County Sculpture Garden. Of course, art requires artists and artists require space. California artists find new sites, and funding streams, to realize their works in public. To explore Golden State alchemy, I interviewed six established artists with studios and current commissions in California. With 200 years of combined experience, they have shaped public places locally, nationally, and around the globe. Their diverse expertise yields a diversity of opinions about the process, purpose, and clients for public art—as well as diverse definitions of what public art is in the first place. W H A T IS I T ?
Public art is an amoeba, shifting from contracted, site-integrated commissions to outdoor exhibitions to unsanctioned guerilla works. Art in public places or public art? Michael Davis labels all artwork public once it leaves the studio. Commissions with public funding are simply the most visible part of his practice, which includes studio work and corporate clients. Karen Atkinson differentiates among commissions, self-initiated projects, and guerilla works as ways of making publicly viewed art. An artist who includes administration and moxie in her palette, Atkinson initiates projects and curates other artists in her temporary works and art plans. She seeks funding outside of cultural affairs or public art programs to realize projections, installations, and events. With sensitivity and intellectual rigor, Mark di Suvero sites his studio-built objects in open spaces—from the Smithsonian Mall to the Storm King Art Center. His drift log and steel sculptures, built in the 1960s on California's Stinson Beach, are inarguably art in public places. Public, plop, or gallery art—di Suvero maintains that it is all art, adding that public art usually connotes art council meetings and committee votes. ART BEGINNINGS CAN'T K N O W ART
California artists take diverse routes to public exposure. Does the site inspire the artist to address what the RFP requires? Though studio work informs their public art, many interviewees mentioned public display as an alternative to gallery parameters. All were interested in making art in pub-
lie to reach a general audience, inside or outside the commissioning system. Lita Albuquerque began her practice investigating ephemeraâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;spreading dry pigment across the California deserts in u n s a n c t i o n e d , e n v i r o n m e n t a l l y sensitive drawings. Her interests in impermanence and perception continue, with a parallel development in permanent architecturally integrated works involving sidereal time. Her public clients, including the Los Angeles Catholic Church and a Dubai hotel, have given her opportunity to expand into fountains, electrical systems, prints, sculpture, and light. Her solo practice has developed into collaborations with designers, engineers, and architectural teams. Raised in an artistic family, Carl Cheng has a strong background in architecture and technology. He also mentions his outsider statusâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a minority in LA's cultural wastelandâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;as a reason to enter the field. Interested in making art accessible to everyone, he decided to work outside the gallery and inside his own neighborhood. For his first selfinitiated public project, Cheng used a derelict storefront on the Santa Monica pier. In 1978 he negotiated a yearlong contract to display his a coin-operated sand-sculpting machine, personally maintaining it while living nearby. Cheng wistfully notes that today he cannot take on projects with budgets less than $100,000 because the commission and review process has become so time-consuming. Coming of age during the minimal art movement, Michael Davis was interested in using nontraditional art sites to create an open public theatre. He wanted to change the viewer's passive observation of art into an active interplay outside the commercial gallery system. Early on, he created a garden project at Pasadena's Art Center and curated outdoor exhibitions through the federal CETA program. Corporate curators and designers admired Davis's work and initiative, and he began accepting commissions. He fondly recalls a 1979 commission for Anaconda Copper's headquarters. With a budget of $100,000, the project was contracted by a CEO's handshake. Now his contracts run to twenty-five pages. Other artists work outside the commissioning system to challenge public experience and perception. As an educator and curator creating art in public places for over twenty years, Karen Atkinson harnesses her skills as an administrator, activist, and negotiator. She looks for opportunities to present temporary works where people congregate,
OPPOSITE PAGE: Michael Davis, Clianilelier Fall (two views), 2001, Kodak Theatre, Hollywood, Calif. Bronze, stainless steel, copper and temporal media. 107' x 7' x 6'. ABOVE: Mark di Suvero, Deetaraion, 1999-2001, Venice, Calif. Steel. 60' 6" high. BELOW: Carl Cheng, Natural Museum ot Modern Art (exterior view), 1979-80, Santa Monica Pier.
which is generally not inside government buildings. Her locally lauded works occur when the public feeds parking meters, views trailers in commercial movie theatres, or walks in Los Angeles communities. Atkinson, who cofounded Side Street Projects in Pasadena, motivates artists to create their own opportunities through her influential Get Your Shit Together (GYST) workshops. She stays involved in traditional art by serving on selection panels. Eco-artist Kathryn Miller is also an activist and educator. Drawing on her degrees in art and biology, Miller has completed ecological art installations in the United States and Australia, and guerilla plantings in Santa Barbara public areas. Her public art literally grows and changes public space. A recent project with the Whittier Landfill Authority combines a seating berm with fossil shells and native plants. This eco-art is simultaneously habitat restoration, a seating arena, and a teaching tool for National Park Service staff. Working closely with the NPS, Miller makes presentations to other park facilities in southern California. She has found this federal agency to be a supportive collaborator in her art and remediation work.
With studios in Petaluma, California, New York, and France, Mark di Suvero has an international presence and reputation. But it is not h u b r i s that deters him from applying for public art commissions; he thinks selection panels may consider him overexposed and loo old. Di Suvero's public art presence is both self-assigned and invitational. His sculptures are permanently sited at the Embarcadero in San Francisco and in Venice, California. Another work is on longterm loan to the Port of San Diego. Currently, Di Suvero is developing an interactive fountain for the state headquarters of CalPers. This public commission, he notes with pride, will be visually appealing and environmentally useful. GOOD TIMES AND BAD T h e s e California artists, creating art a r o u n d the globe over the last four decades, have participated in both good a n d bad projects. T h e y agree that a great w o r k of public art is helped by an open-ended project with good c o m m u n i c a t i o n and plenty of time to build partnerships. Can an artist make good art through committee? For permanent, commissioned work, the benefits of a savvy art consultant or program administrator with real power cannot be underestimated. The percent-for-art policy must be wholly understood and embraced by all team members. The best commissions arise from committees with at least one member knowledgeable about contemporary art and leaders with a healthy respect for the public's sophistication. Bad commissions are likely to arise in working with the wrong team or being assigned to a compromised or difficult site no one else will touch. Weak or inexperienced project management, lack of advocacy for art, and internal distrust of artists and percent-for-art policies thwart the artist's best efforts. In general, these are propitious times for contemporary art, in California as elsewhere. Thanks to creative art administrators, Lita A l b u q u e r q u e sees an expansion of artists' opportunities to create new work. With church, state, emirate, and corporate clients, Albuquerque acknowledges widespread percent-for-art ordinances as a stimulus. There have been striking changes in the acceptance of art over the last forty years, di Suvero observes. In negotiating placement of his work early on, he remembers distrustful politicians suspecting public-minded artists as c o m m u n i s t plotters. T h e s e politicos n o w clamor for art in their districts, offices, and open spaces. American democracy makes our public art the most fair and open process in the world, according to Cheng. However, once artists are selected, European and Asian projects treat them with greater respect, he says. In contrast to some U.S. commissions, foreign teams strive to s u p p o r t and enhance the artist's vision. According to Miller, some program managers expect to get an artist's ideas and efforts for free. For her planted works, she has had to deal with last-minute changes to a site and with compressed timelines that ignore the artist's process. Artists may w e l c o m e the e n t h u s i a s m of clients to extend ideas, but as business professionals they have to weigh a client's aversion to concomitant increases in scope and fees. Davis genially bemoans circumscribed art sites that limit the exploration necessary for creative work. He has seen artwork so completely integrated into a facility that the art, w h i c h is meant to engage, disappears. His e x p a n d e d palette includes landscape, hardscape, lighting, and ameni-
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ties as artistic elements. With few exceptions, he sees a growing fear of art as a stand-alone object. Atkinson notes that during her years of practice the art world has changed drastically. She advises realism in seeking public commissions and cautions artists to pursue only those projects that suit their style and ability. Through GYST, she warns artists to expect compromise and challenge in public commissions. But with the increase in public art programs, Atkinson finds it easier to raise funds for her artist-initiated projects. Di Suvero also works in art administration, negotiating public venues for his enormous sculptures in the United States and Europe. Successful precedents can convince site owners, he notes. Park Place, a New York initiative for outdoor art championed by Doris Freedman, was instrumental in the national renaissance of art parks and sculpture spaces. Freedman's extraordinary administration and artists' successful use of public sites bred confidence in artists' initiatives. Park Place's many descendants include the Public Art Fund, Socrates Sculpture Park, and an art park in Sonoma County. As Socrates' founder and largest funder, Di Suvero practices what he preaches: The important thing is to put the art out there, even if you have to fund it out of your own pocket.
For their part, administrators must improve selection panels by including well-qualified citizens able to speak about contemporary art issues. Architect-defined art opportunities should be discouraged; artists can best find the opportunity for their work. Project managers should respect the artistic process and allow sufficient time for research and development. Educate the contractor and client about the impact of site and policy shifts, and inform the artist as soon as they happen. And finally, advocate for the work, thinking, and presence of the artist throughout the process. Alchemy, the seemingly magical transmutation of base materials into gold, epitomizes the public art endeavor. For decades, California artists have mixed creativity, initiative, and uncompromising vision with public sites, public indifference and displeasure, and social and liability concerns. The glorious results, experienced over time and in space, make us the most visited state in the nation. It's enough to make Guam
artist of public places and a public art consultant. She currently maintains her practice in Los Angeles, California. OPPOSITE PAGE: Lita Albuquerque, Celestial Disk Fountain (two views), 2002. Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, Calif.
T A K E T W O A R T I S T S A N D C A L L IN T H E M O R N I N G
California art is alive and well; Golden State artists work in every facet of public experience. By re-viewing the process from the artist's perspective, art outcomes can be enhanced. Artists should keep an open palette, attend to the site's users and maintenance practices, and have honest and sincere communication with collaborators.
TOP: Kafhryn Miller, The SuMmsion Project (planting and after ten months), 1992. Isla Vista, Calif. Park revegatation project with compressed soil and seeds of native plants in thirty sculpted dwellings. Plants bloomed in one year and provided nectar for butterflies. ABOVE: Karen Atkinson, For the Time Being (parking meter detail), 1994-1998. Santa Monica, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Pasadena and Orange Counties, Calif. Visual artists and writers with HIV/AIDS were commissioned to write texts for audio tapes installed in over twenty meters, which played when viewers fed a meter.
Exploring the Depths with
Lance Fung JACK BECKER
With the encouragement of video/Fluxus artist Nam June Paik, Lance Fung left the Holly Solomon Gallery in 1996 to open his own gallery. Lance Fung Fine Art (19962004) became a leading contemporary gallery in New York, featuring pioneering artists from the Fluxus, minimal, and conceptual periods such as Paik, Sol LeWitt, and Robert Barry. Fung also hosted installations by Shigeko Kubota, Peter Hutchinson, and Robert Morris, and he curated major exhibitions for other institutions around the world. The Snow Show was his first nonmuseum exhibition (see review in PAR #31), featuring such notable artists as Yoko Ono, Diller + Scofidio, Do-Ho Suh, and Rachel Whitehead. Now curator at Albion Projects in London, the young maverick is embarking on new adventures, and PAR caught him between several of his international journeys. The Snow Show was your first public art project. What inspired you to begin working outside the gallery venue, and why did you include big-name, established artists as well as young, emerging artists? LANCE F U N G : The main inspiration for a nongallery venue was necessity. The Snow Show required an outdoor space and a lot of funding, neither of which my gallery had. I was hoping to partner with a major museum to ease the administrative issues; however, there were really no museums quite appropriate for hosting and organizing The Snow Show. While researching potential participants for over two years, I c was always in search of mixing disciplines and levels in careers. Similar to my gallery, I felt the dialogue between different generations and experiences was valuable. You are working on a follow-up to The Snow Show for the Winter Olympic games in Turin, Italy. How will that be different? FUNG The curatorial premise has shifted from monumental architecture to a focus on landscape and site. In other words, the works will be more horizontal in this show. Furthermore, a focus on ephemerality has created a different way of approaching the development of the six projects. The teams are less interested in maintenance issues but rather embracing the aging process. The various stages of the projects over the two-month exhibition time period will be valued until what finally remains is water.
PAR Tell us about your next public projectâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Sink. Who will be in it, where will it take place, how is it funded? FUNG: Sink will be an exhibition created by artists working with scientists focusing on environmental concerns. The works of art will be placed in the ocean. The island of Providencialis in Turks and Caicos is the perfect location because it has one of the world's most important coral reefs, has a great governmental policy for environmental protection, and is developing the most amazing resort named the Amanyara. The Amanyara will be the host of the exhibition; however, all visitors to the Caribbean are invited, and of course it is free of charge. Viewers will be able to experience some of the works by wading in the water, snorkeling, scuba diving, and riding glass-bottom boats and submarines. The sea is quite a powerful location and forces viewers to see the world differently and even how they fit within it. The funding will come from various sources such as corporate and private sponsors, with Amanyara and Albion Projects making large contributions to this not-for-profit exhibition. Sink is planned for December, 2006 to March, 2007. P A R As curator of Albion Projects in London, what exactly do you do? How do generate support for your projects? Are they all temporary installations or do they involve permanent commissions? FUNG My role is two-fold. I primarily curate exhibitions for outside-the-gallery walls such as The SnowS/iowand Sink. After conceiving an exhibition idea, Albion Projects then proposes the idea to various partners. Also, i n s t i t u t i o n s approach Albion Projects to curate exhibitions. The exhibitions that most interest me are temporary, but I am also now consulting several developers regarding permanent public art installations. This process is a bit different but equally exciting. I will from time to time curate group exhibitions at Albion Gallery and advise them of artists to consider working with. The first show I will curate for Albion will be this January with a concept of wall drawings. Friends Daniel Buren, Robert Barry, and Sol Le Witt are each creating new wall drawings for the exhibition. The experience should be interesting because the Norman Fosterdesigned gallery lends itself intrinsically to such an exhibition, and it will the first time that both Buren and Barry
have exhibited in London since the early 80s. Albion Gallery is also opening a new exhibition space adjacent to the current gallery so that we may introduce emerging artists to London. The first exhibition will be by Argentine artist Leandro Ehrlich, who was last seen in the 2003 Venice Biennale. PAR: Are there any similar programs elsewhere in the world? F U N G : None to my knowledge. I felt quite blessed to have a supportive organization that is more concerned about artistic expression than making money. Certainly the commercial gallery aspect is important to keep the entire operation afloat, so representing artists like James Turrell, Cai Guo Qiang, and Andy Goldsworthy is an honor. We simply have less of the attitude of selecting work based on its salability rather than its artistic merit. I would never have conceived of such a perfect job for me. The freedom, ability to work with amazing coworkers and artists, and bringing contemporary art to the general public in an academic fashion is truly exciting. PAR: You have worked with many major artists from throughout the world, both in the sales gallery and in noncommercial public space. Some, perhaps, are successful in both worlds. Can you name a few and talk about the challenges of creating for these two different venues? F U N G : It is true that working in a noncommercial environment is very different from the commercial gallery world; however, good art transcends these categories. The context for an artist's work is most important, along with educating the targeted visitor, whether it be a collector or a museum visitor. But at the end of the day my work is about a dialogue with an artist, a work of art, and an objective viewer. If I present the artwork in a clear and accessible way, my job is done. The real work begins when the work of art dialogues with the viewer separate from hype and rhetoric. I mean, how many catalogue essays do you actually read? I have good intentions to read all the books I obsessively acquire, but in the end I look at the pictures. That is what visual art is aboutâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;communication visually.
Also, we should bear in mind that many interesting artists were viewed as noncommercial. In fact, most of the artists I worked with were originally considered that way in the 70s and even 80s. Finally, the art market caught u p with the artists regarding what is valuable. Consider some artists who were finally recognized in the commercial sense, but not until the 80s: Gordon Matta-Clark, Sol Le Witt, Lawrence Weiner, Robert Barry, Daniel Buren, Nam June Paik. Also, different parts of the world react differently. Europe was faster in recognizing the value of these artists and began collecting their work ten years before most Americans. This is
not to say the art world did not recognize how talented and important the artists and their works were, but that they were much less commercial in the beginning of their careers. PAR: How do you measure the success of a public art exhibition or a particular installation? F U N G : For my projects I consider several things: Were the participants happy? Did they learn or experience anything from my exhibition? Did my peers find value in the exhibition? (This is different than if they liked the exhibition). Were new questions raised? Will my curatorial premise continue in different directions and take a life of its own following the close of my show? Did the exhibition trigger any curiosity from the mainstream public? Did I have f u n and learn something along the way? PAR: Are you open to artists submitting work samples to you or proposals for projects? If so, h o w should they do so? F U N G : In the past I was quite willing to see new work. Artists would call, mail, e-mail, or drop in with their work to my gallery. Now that I am focusing on curating only one large exhibition a year, I prefer to c o n d u c t my o w n research and enjoy the process of discovery. I understand it is helpful for artists to have a connection to the art world, but my exhibitions are so particular that the participant list is usually the first thing I develop and then continue to explore the theme in great depth afterwards.
OPPOSITE ABOVE: Lance Fung underwater. TOP: Garsten Holler and William &Tsien, Meeting Slides, 2003. Carved snow slides that converge in the center. ABOVE: Norman Foster and Juame Plensa, proposal for upcoming Snow Show in Turin, Italy.
CONFERENCE REPORT NO STONE U N T U R N E D P i t t s b u r g h , P e n n s y l v a i n a , A p r i l 11, 2005 CHARLES
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On Carnegie Mellon University's Pittsburgh campus, where Henry Hornbostel's Beaux Arts architecture of the early 1900s abuts William Falconer's Schenley Park of the 1890s, a new designed landscape by artist and alumnus Mel Bochner with landscape architect Michael Van Valkenberg has stimulated new discussions on art and design in the built environment. The Kraus Campo, supported financially by Carnegie Mellon alumnae Jill Kraus, blends Bochner's intellectualized conceptual inversions with Van Valkenburg's undulating topography in a compact rectangular plaza between the College of Fine Arts and the Tepper School of Business. Though irregular orange paths meander only within the confines of the Campo's variegated plantings, debate on the nature of landscapes and gardens extends beyond this plot, as a recent symposium, "No Stone Unturned: Artists + Gardens," demonstrated. Valerie Smith, senior curator and director of exhibitions at the Queens Museum, served as moderator and opening speaker at the April 11 event. She discussed earthworks and gardens from an art historical perspective, using exampies such as Isamu Noguchi's proposed Memorial to Mart of 1947. The unbuilt design, intended as a postapocalyptic memorial to be seen from space, foreshadowed pieces from later decades. While Smith noted that many designed landscapes are "about participation and movement in space, and this idea of observing nature, of distancing and contemplation," she also pointed out interest in "the dark side of gardens," as seen in certain works by Ian Hamilton Finley. For Julie Bargmann, founder of D.I.R.T. studio and director of the landscape architecture program at the University of Virginia, the dark side of gardens (or landscapes) comes from industrial hazards. Bargmann designs for postindustrial areas, often toxic ones, "where a garden doesn't actually come to mind." She asked, "If the primary role of a garden is to be transformative, what could be more transformative than [using] these thousands of superfund sites?" One project, in collaboration with artist Stacy Levy, is the
reformulation of an abandoned coal mine in Vintondale, Pennsylvania. Its treatment pools make the detoxification process visible amid large swaths of newly planted native species. Speaking of her meetings with clients at Ford's River Rouge Plant, Bargmann described her approach: "I wagged my finger at them and said, no sissy landscapes." Bargmann's mentor and now colleague, Michael Van Valkenburgh, might better have preceded his former student in the speaker order. He referred to her work as "the beginnings of the agenda of the next century," in agreement with a recent Newsweek article. Meanwhile, he focused on the recent history of his own designs, specifically with reference to Robert Smithson's 1973 essay, "Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape." "In a landscape," Van Valkenburgh said, echoing Smithson, "there is no distinction between what is seen and what is felt." He also emphasized his years encountering Smithson at Cornell, "when no stoner was unturned-on." Whether through presentations of his Allegheny Riverfront project in Pittsburgh or his design for the High Line competition in Manhattan, Van Valkenburgh emphasized "getting away from the plan and getting to landscape as one will see and feel it through the body." Artist Robert Irwin, the first after-lunch speaker, commented similarly on "phenomenology—the idea of participating directly." Acknowledged gratefully by other symposium speakers as an important ongoing influence in their art, Irwin seemed eager to combine Olympian pronouncements on historical movements with amusing anecdotes about how to irritate famous architects. "I find it ridiculous that people talk about postmodernism when we don't even know what the result of modernism is yet," he complained. His account of his garden design at the Getty Center was an indictment of Richard Meier's universal geometry, in con-
CONFERENCE REPORT trast to his own approach, where he said "I had to scratch my ass...a little bit, to walk the site a hundred times." Sculptor Meg Webster described herself as a minimal artist working with natural materials. She spoke about her developing thinking, from projects that stimulate the senses experientially in nature to larger scale works that emphasize careful use of resources. Her Pool at PSl in Long Island City immerses the viewer in an environment of stones, water, and fish. Upcoming projects address declining energy resources and involve visions on the scale of communities. She imagines "land development that is both a farm and a self-sustaining community." In such a context, gardens have renewed utility and meaning "as a teaching place and as real food production. Food is beautiful to grow and easy." Carnegie Mellon's own Bob Bingham, a professor and practicing artist, recounted his own shifting sensibilities from a solo artist "with a sense of humor in my work," to a more collaborative and engaged activist. His Pantheozone of 1989 was a "glorified greenhouse" with refrigerators and a tongue-in-cheek hole in the roof. The more recent Nine Mile Run project has involved community engagement and artistic collaboration to reclaim a sprawling watershed site that, though praised by Olmsted as a potential park, had been used for decades as an industrial dump. By writing grants, working with neighbors, and organizing ongoing exhibitions, Bingham and a collaborating team have helped restore the stream and create sites around it for further artistic engagement and ecological remediation. Mel Bochner, the last speaker, might best have gone first. He is widely considered the founder of conceptual art for his 1966 solo show in New York, and his work with Van Valkenburgh was the genesis of this s y m p o s i u m . "I k n e w absolutely nothing about h o w to design a garden" was less a confession than a promise of a pure investigation. His approach is to question, reverse, or otherwise subvert conventions or disciplinary framing devices. The resultsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a stylized French curve as bench paved with random numbers and a quotation on the wall from Wittgenstein inscribed in reverseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;do indeed reject artifice, narrative, beauty, and other pillars of Western art. If a more recent generation seems more communally active and environmentally engaged, then they achieve such in a context w h e r e Bochner's rigor and critical approach maintain artistic currency. A panel discussion at the one-day session's end proved anticlimactic as speakers criticized the architectural profession, with some justification, but without finding an effective framework to challenge the potentially fruitful topics of historical philosophy, social engineering, or the relevance of pure experience in a political world. Nonetheless, this symposium proved that even if plants are still maturing in the Kraus Campo, that spot is fertile ground for future dis-
CHARLES ROSENBLUM is a Pittsburgh-based critic of visual arts and the built environment. Carnegie Mellon University and writes an column for Pittsburgh City Paper.
historian and He teaches at award-winning
OPPOSITE PAGE ABOVE: Michael Van Valkenberg, Julie Bargmann, and Robert Irwin. OPPOSITE PAGE BELOW: Mel Bochner and Michael Van Valkenberg, Krm C a m 2005, Carnegie Mellon University-Pittsburgh, Penn,
THE LAY OF THE (TEXAS) LAND Austin, Texas, June 8-10, 2005 NICHOLE ALWELL
The environment plays a critical role in public art. Climate conditions, weather patterns, and surrounding landscapes affect public artworks on a daily basis. But beyond protecting public art from the elements, more and more public artists are recognizing the opportunity to respond directly to the built and natural environments in their work. At this year's Public Art Network (PAN) preconference, The Lay of the Land: Public Art, Politics a n d the Environment, participants were invited to explore the connections between land art and public art, a n d to examine public art within a variety of social and political contexts. As part of the a n n u a l A m e r i c a n s for the Arts C o n f e r e n c e (AFTA, w w w . a m e r i c a n s f o r t h e a r t s . o r g / p a n ) , the PAN preconference brought together leaders in the related fields of public art, environmental art, architecture, and landscape architecture for panels and workshops, including a keynote a d d r e s s by Agnes Denes, a p i o n e e r of ecological art (see article on page 42). The environmental angle of the preconference was a fitting choice for its venue: Austin, Texas. Nationally recognized as a leader in environmental initiatives and sustainable building programs a n d h o m e to the i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y renowned Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems (www.cmpbs.org), Austin has a reputation for being "green." Its reputation for being a public art destination is far less celebrated. Many conference participants expressed disappointment during their bus and walking tours and were reminded of one of the preconference's limitations: As a subgroup of AFTA, PAN holds its annual gathering in the city chosen by the m a i n conference p l a n n e r s , regardless of whether the destination qualifies as a public art mecca. Still, Austin's p u b l i c art programs are gaining ground. Begun in 1985, the Art in Public Places program (AIPP, www.cityofaustin.org/aipp) established that 1 percent of eligible construction funds be used to commission or purchase art for public sites. This allocation was raised to 2 percent in 2002. In the past twenty years, AIPP alone has placed over 100 works of public art within Austin, many of t h e m relating both to the nature of the site and nature itself. The preconference's "Art and Sustainability" bus tour brought visitors to the East Austin Police Station and Forensics Lab, where AIPP commissioned the public art collaborative Legge Lewis Legge (R. Murray Legge, Deborah Eve Lewis, and Andrea Legge) to create Elevated Prairie, a labyrinth of steel planters in the s h a p e of a fingerprint (Andrea's fingerprint, to be exact). Filled with indigenous coastal prairie grasses and wildflowers, the s c u l p t u r e changes with the seasons. A new public art agency, Austin Green Art, seeks to " p r o m o t e a discussion about e n v i r o n m e n t a l l y sensitive issues a n d provide a p u b l i c f o r u m for that dialogue" (www.austingreenart.org) through a series of ongoing outdoor sculpture exhibitions. Started in 2004, the nonprofit's first major project, a citywide exhibition of environmentally t h e m e d public art called Green Wave, o p e n e d on June 10 with tours running through September 10. This year's preconference participants were a m o n g the first to v i e w the
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large-scale works during bus tours and at the closing reception at the Austin Museum of Art-Laguna Gloria. Public artists and art agencies in Austin are building on their "green" reputation by creating environmentally themed projects, and it may be what puts their city on the public art map. As this year's preconference revealed, public art can do more t h a n raise awareness for e n v i r o n m e n t a l issues; it can h e l p s h a p e s u s t a i n a b l e p r a c t i c e . P u b l i c art projects can embrace sustainability standards by using recycled materials from building sites, choosing site-appropriate vegetation, and in the case of Elevated Prairie, integrating effective rainwater management and minimizing the mainten a n c e r e q u i r e d for t h e site owner. F u r t h e r m o r e , p l a n n e r s often see a connection between the use of ecological art and attaining a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating. Sustainable projects cut costs, serve the environment, and add meaningful artworks to the community.
The PAN preconference provides an opportunity to expand our notions of what public art is and recognize significant innovations in the field. By recognizing the growth of environmental and sustainable art in Austin, PAN is doing its job to support and encourage such innovation.
NICHOLE ALWELL, program associate at FORECAST Public Artworks, is Public Art Review's design and production manger. ABOVE: Legge Lewis Legge Collaborative, [lei/ilei Prairie, 2004, East Austin Police Station. BELOW: Virginia Fleck, Laguna Byre (and detail), 2005, Austin Museum of Art Laguna Gloria. Mandala of 10,000 inflated shopping bags calling attention to pollution in the North Pacific subtropical gyre, where ocean currents pull plastic bags and other debris into a cesspool roughly the size of Texas. Sited on the water's edge of laguna Gloria.
P U B L I C A R T BY T H E B O O K
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Barbara Goldstein, editor Seattle, Wash.: University of Washington Press, 2005 327 pages, $50 (paperback)
Reviewed by Dianne Cripe At long last, public art professionals, c o m m u n i t y activists who want to start a program, and artists interested in entering this competitive realm have an authoritative reference. Barbara Goldstein, public art director at the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, has assembled essays by experienced public art professionals from across the country to address broad-picture topics ranging from planning a program and funding it, to complex legal questions involving copyrights and the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. Public Art by the Book is an outgrowth of three conferences sponsored by the Seattle Arts Commission, now the Mayors Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, held in 1998, 1999, and 2001. Each conference, titled "Public Art 101," was a response to numerous requests for information from cities and organizations eager to set up their own public art programs. Each chapter summarizes an aspect of public art administration, illustrating it with examples of best practices by city and c o u n t y p u b l i c art programs. Goldstein i n c l u d e s h e l p f u l at-a-glance fact sheets from Broward County, Florida; Charlotte; Phoenix; Houston; San Diego; and other cities in order to compare budgets, commissioning agencies, and key points. Any region can adopt the funding strategies of the West Coast cities outlined in the book, though the author makes it clear that each city program has its own needs and identity. For cities just starting a program, the book gives ordinances and policies verbatimâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;all the better to facilitate interaction with city officials. Private, not-for-profit funding m o d e l s from New York City and P h i l a d e l p h i a stress the importance of collaboration and experimentation. Author Penny Balkin Bach profiles several projects and artists from New York's Creative Time and Philadelphia's Fairmont Park Art Association, noted programs that make the most of public/private partnerships. Public Art by the Book greatly benefits from the expertise a n d diversity of its contributors. Consider the essay by Helen Lessick regarding the role of the artist-initiated project. "The artist starts the fires, not knowing where they will spread," she states, urging others to join artists in reinvigorating the field through policies that support experimental and new media projects. Building c o m m u n i t y engagement, and therefore increasing public art support, is the focus of an essay written by past Public Art Network Manager Renee Piechocki. While millions of people e n c o u n t e r public art on a daily basis, "developing materials that provide information and context creates a more m e a n i n g f u l relationship b e t w e e n public art and the public at large," writes Piechocki. After the ceremonial ribbon cutting, she advises arts professionals to c o n t i n u e to involve diverse a u d i e n c e s . Piechocki discusses and gives examples of signage, press releases, web-
sites, tours, and a host of printed materials. Since m a n y p u b l i c art programs lack p e r s o n n e l devoted exclusively to the care and maintenance of the artwork, the essays regarding record keeping, m a i n t e n a n c e , and conservation are particularly useful. Policies and guidelines for taking care of artwork as soon as it is installed, as well as deaccessioning work that is dangerous to the public or no longer fits the site, are outlined. The author includes Portland's Regional Arts a n d Culture Council's extensive Conservation Record for two- and t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l artworks and prints. An entire section has been devoted to decoding the murky verbiage of such legal issues as copyrights and the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. VARA delineates artists' rights with respect to their work and forces commissioning agencies to proactively consider changes to the site as well as changes to the artwork itself. A former city attorney for Seattle, Gordon Davidson, translates VARA into laymen's language and presents several hypothetical scenarios of how it applies. One of the most h e l p f u l chapters is titled "Resources," a directory of organizations devoted to professional advocacy, research, networks, products and materials, conservation and preservation, study programs for public art, and artist opportunities. It includes an index to the more than 300 public art programs in the United States. Deft editing by Goldstein of more t h a n t w e n t y authors' essays will make Public Art by the Book an accessible resource for civic leaders and arts professionals alike for years to come. DIANNE CRIPE is director of public art at Arizona University in Tempe and has served as chair of the Arts Commission.
I N F U S I O N : 2 0 YEARS OF
CITY A R T : N E W Y O R K S
PUBLIC ART I N
P E R C E N T FOR A R T
Greg Esser, editor Phoenix, Ariz.: Office of Arts and Culture, 2005 92 pages, $25 (paperback)
Marvin Heiferman, editor New York: Merrell, 2005 240 pages, $50 (paperback)
Reviewed by Robert Silberman Public art is no longer the new kid on the art world block. That is clear from these two publications, each marking the twentieth anniversary of a major program. Public art has become standard operating procedure for many city and state governments, and now is entering academia, where programs popping u p as "civic engagement" become a trendy concept, and art departments and schools struggle to come u p with something newer than "new media." These two volumes take different approaches. Infusion is divided into essays on a variety of topics, leading to a
concluding section that lays out revised plans for the public art program in Phoenix. On occasion, a strategic agenda becomes visible, as in this statement advertising all-purpose mediatorial services: "The Public Art program is in a unique position to build connections between different city departments, between different neighborhoods, and between the city and community members." The assertive stance is not new. The 1982 Public Art Works: The Arizona Model m a p p e d out the entire planning process and conceptual framework (originally guided by William Morrish and Catherine Brown, now by Morrish and Jessica Cusick) and presented several projects to that point, including the one that remains the most famous: the solid waste management facility designed by Linnea Glatt and Michael Singer. In her introduction, director Deborah Whitehurst wrote that in Phoenix, public art "is a change agent," not just an instrument of beautification to salvage badly designed public buildings and spaces. The new book begins with chapters emphasizing water, an appropriate subject for Phoenix. The canals carry with them a whiff of nostalgia, as elements of the past rediscovered, yet they are also presented as a central element for the future, a potential "turquoise necklace...the city's big idea and cultural landmark, the marvel that tourists come to visit and that defines neighborhood communities in Phoenix," creating "an urban oasis of trails." The impressive WaterWorks at Arizona Falls, by artists Lajos H6der and Mags Harries and landscape architect Steve Martino, is built around a twenty-one-foot drop in one canal at the site of a defunct electrical generator. It offers hope that the grandiose rhetoric might be turned into reality. The volume tiptoes around matters of race, class, crime, pollution, and sprawl. There are, however, frequent hints of the seriousness of the problems, as in a Utopian essay by Tad Savinar on light rail as a change agent (!) that might build a sense of community in Phoenix, a freeway town where some of the most notable public art projects have been highway bridges. Erika Doss begins her discussion of controversy in public art with the Phoenix project that caused the biggest
brouhaha, the so-called "Squaw Peak Pots," also by Harries and Heder: giant pot forms arrayed next to a highway. Doss notes the project's happy resolution and somehow manages to suggest that controversy in public art is as American as... the Washington Monument, which provides the final, fullpage illustration. The idea seems to be that if another controversy arises, everyone should just remember that the Monument, the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial, and the Phoenix project also generated controversy at first yet eventually proved popular. Don't worry, be happy: Controversy is just another word for democracy. The most unusual essay addresses what might seem a dry-as-the-desert topic: maintenance. The text all but screams, "Hey, legislators, read this and remember us at budget time!" Beyond graffiti and vandalism, however, are less predictable and more challenging problems. A bridge, once brilliant red but now faded by the sun, cannot be easily or inexpensively restored because the original paint is no longer available and neither are the light fixtures. Important works by Nam Jun Paik and Jim Campbell need updated technology to control their now "old media" (i.e., video) systems. Infusion is always intellectually engaging. Yet I wish it offered more context, more detail, and a design with just as many strong elements but fewer self-consciously bold ones that defy simple utility. Vertical captionsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;now there's a concept. City Art is much more straightforward. After a pro forma preface by the mayor, introductory texts by Adam Gopnik and Eleanor Heartney, and a diverse set of interviews, City Art moves borough by borough. It functions as both an illustrated catalogue and a guidebook, though it is a bit large to carry around, falling somewhere between a standard guidebook and a coffee table art book. The New York program, with about 200 completed projects and dozens more underway, has a different feel to it: Most of the works are in or around buildings. None is associated with a freeway, although Siah Armajani designed a lighthouse and pedestrian bridge adjacent to a ferry terminal. The rhetoric is also different. That is partly because New York has its history, its neighborhoods, its landmarks; it is not a Sun Belt
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BOOK REVIEW boomtown in search of an identity and a sense of community. And, yes, it is the center of the art world. Not all the artists surveyed are New Yorkers or famous, but there are works by major figures such as Dennis Adams, Scott Burton, and Faith Ringgold. Among the most striking projects are a free-form sculpture in a courthouse atrium by Ursula Von Rydingsvaard; Mnemonics, the wellknown Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones time capsule project for Stuyvesant High School; fencing with ship silhouettes by Donna Dennis for a Tribeca schoolyard; a fantastical Totally Kid Carousel by Milo Mottola; and a ceremonial costume by Harries and H6der that is a patchwork of flags, worn by a school principal each year on International Day. Then there is the one project that can make the Phoenix waste management project seem small-scale, the Staten Island Fresh Kills Landfill project, under the artistic purview of Mierle Laderman Ukeles. It is no surprise that maps are a common motif in the New York projects or that the Langston Hughes poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" appears in four different works. But it is surprising to learn that one—the lobby floor by Houston Conwill, Estella Conwill Majozo, and Joseph DePace at the Schomburg Center in Harlem—has the ashes of the poet right beneath the final line, "My soul has grown deep like the rivers." I'm ready to make a pilgrimage there, and to many other sites in City Arts. What impresses in both these volumes is what always impresses in the best public art: the dedication of all those involved, the determination that gets the projects through the bureaucratic swamps, and the delight that arises when skill and imagination really do produce works that contribute to the experience of the public, define that as you will. ROBERT SILBERMAN is a member of the Department of Art History at the University of Minnesota. He is a regular contributor to The Burlington Magazine and American Craft, and wrote two of the essays in You Are Here: Exploring Art in the Suburbs, published in 2005 by The McKnight Foundation.
On Tht ROJU Aqtln....
CREATIVE ^ NSPORTATION DESIGN
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O N T H E R O A D A G A I N : CREATIVE TRANSPORTATION DESIGN
Dian Magie, editor Hendersonville, N.C.: The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, 2005 80 pages, $37 (spiral bound)
Reviewed by Dianne Cripe For more than a decade, the concept of "context-sensitive highway design"—a holistic albeit bureaucratic-sounding trend that considers the environmental, scenic, historic, community, and preservation impact on road projects—has gained wide acceptance nationwide. What role do streets and roads play in enhancing communities and natural environments? How can artists add value to transportation design projects, and how should they be compensated for their role on design teams? Who pays for road enhancements and whose responsibility is it to implement these projects?
On the Road Again: Creative Transportation Design —a spiral-bound collection of essays by artists, engineers, planners, architects, and other transportation professionals— provides solid policies and outlines solutions to the various "road blocks" of funding, education, and advocacy. Civic leaders and project managers at all levels— local, state, and federal—have discovered that creative design can greatly benefit a community by establishing local identity, assisting in wayfinding, and attracting and maintaining mass transit ridership. The investment is small. In Tucson, Arizona, the cost of large ceramic tile murals on an interstate underpass equaled the cost of one inch of highway construction. Acknowledging strong public support, the Federal Highway Administration now considers road enhancements a top priority. From 1992 to 2003, TVansportation Enhancement Activities funded $5 billion in projects as diverse as public art, historic preservation, landscaping, and scenic beautification. For the uninitiated in governmental bureaucratic jargon, this book defines terms such as "eligible funds" for public art, then illustrates them with the precisely crafted Broward County Percent for Art ordinance. A thorough description of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act of 1991, which proclaimed that federal funds could be used for either highway or transit investments, is followed by successful models of public art for light and heavy rail. From the BART in San Francisco, to the Hiawatha Line in Minneapolis, to New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, creative design adds a human element to built environments and connects people to place. Several essayists stress the importance of early artist involvement and vocal community support. In Tacoma, design team artists were hired for that city's light rail plan before the engineering and architectural design team. By talking to neighborhood groups, arts activists, town historians, and elected officials, the artists gained a thorough grasp of several distinct downtown districts and incorporated concepts that specifically reflected the adjacent community. On the Road Again introduces each section with large color photographs, but all others are low-resolution black and white, and cropped so tightly that their context within the site is difficult to "read." Conversely, the accompanying CD of images illustrates an amazing breadth of projects nationwide, in such categories as bridges, street amenities, parking, landscaping, mass transit, and roadway improvements. As an advocacy tool, the CD can inspire and engage leaders in promoting projects for their own communities. Innovative transportation design goes beyond providing eye candy for bored commuters. Working as part of a team, artists can promote civic dialogue and define community. Norie Sato articulately summarizes the artist's role: "With their creative engineer counterparts, artists help to create a more human transit environment, roadway or highway without much added cost, and help the transit project integrate better into its community. Neither artist nor engineer can accomplish this alone, so it is a balance of mutual need and benefit."
DIANNE CRIPE is director of public art at Arizona State University in Tempe and has served as chair of the Tempe Arts Commission.
NEWS FROM THE HOME FRONT T H I S PAST S U M M E R S A W A FLURRY OF PUBLIC ART ACTIVITY I N THE T W I N CITIES, T H A N K S I N PART TO THE W A L K E R ART CENTER, I N T E R M E D I A ARTS, OUR O W N F O R E C A S T PUBLIC A R T W O R K S , A N D SEVERAL I N D E P E N D E N T ARTISTS. THEIR PROJECTS R U N THE G A M U T F R O M ETHEREAL E N V I R O N M E N T S TO O U T R A G E O U S ART CARS, M O N U M E N T A L M O S A I C S A N D M U R A L S TO C O N T E M P O R A R Y C O M M E M O R A T I V E SCULPTURE. HERE ARE OUR PICKS FOR T H I S ISSUE.
The Walker Art Center opened its newly expanded facility, with plans to expand its fabulous Minneapolis Sculpture Garden during the next two years. In the meantime, the latest addition to their outdoor collection is Californiabased artist James Turrell's Sky Pesher (pictured above), a twenty-three-foot square underground chamber with room for thirty people to view the changing sky through a precisely framed eleven-foot square opening. This beautiful and meditative addition to his series of skyspaces is Turrell's first permanent work in the state. Sculptor Christopher Tully, known for his huge, whimsical animals in area libraries, installed his largest work to date at the new Brookdale Library (down the hall from a wondrous new glass chandelier by Philadelphiabased artist Ray King). Right now he's busy completing an enormous interactive wall relief at the Richardson Nature Center in Bloomington (pictured below right). Three of the four walls are completed, featuring wetlands, woodlands, and prairies. "Given all the research involved," says Tully, "I had to become a naturalist." More than 2,000 animals and
plants are depicted in clay, using hundreds of epoxy-soaked clay tiles that are later regrouted and made to look seamless. The tiles are painted with acrylics and then covered with a floor finish for durability. The tactile mural, surrounded by hanging bird sculptures "flying" overhead, features moving parts and hidden objects designed to help school groups learn about the natural environment. The eleventh annual ArtCar Parade took place on July 23, in spite of ominous predictions of a 105Â° heat index. Instead, it rained prior to the parade and then the day turned out quite cool. So were the art cars, including a family-created Pinata Car (two runners alongside would occasionally whack the car and kids inside would throw candy into the street). Returning this year was Erika Nelson's van, the World's Largest Museum of the World's Smallest Version of the World's Largest Things, and the Couchmobile, Morgan L'Argent's J motorized furniture. Parade founder Jan Elftmann led the | way with her Cork Truck, covered in 10,000 corks (no, it J doesn't float). A special feature of this year's parade was s Norbert Marklin's photo billboard, strategically located on ÂŁ
NEWS FROM THE HOME FRONT
the parade route, featuring montaged images of last year's parade with the same billboard in the photo, continuing ad i n f i n i t u m . Mark Safford and Willy B o w m a n ' s Turtle Car (pictured above) is featured in the foreground. Minneapolis artist Angela Carlson completed her m o n u m e n t a l mosaic on a sixty-five-foot-tall c h i m n e y in St. Paul (pictured above right). The twenty-nine year-old Carlson was searching for a site on University Avenue near the State Capitol in response to FORECAST'S annual Public Art Affairs grant program. She discovered the chimney outside the Lao Market and asked owner Somaly Vong if she would okay the project. Vong, who had been contemplating the removal of the chimney, given its age and appearance, was elated at the prospect of having it transformed into a work of art. Carlson's chimney is now the tallest mural in town.
s 2 2 I I 1 % | ~ f | i 1 | s | | | i I f | | I
The West Side of St. Paul is home to a public art haven called District del Sol. Thanks to a three-year grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, FORECAST and several other partner organizations have been programming art activities at La Placita, a small plaza adjacent to the recently r e n a m e d Cesar Chavez Street. To f u r t h e r honor Chavez, FORECAST commissioned wood sculptor Curtis Ingvoldstad to create a Chavez sculpture (pictured right). Starting with a giant maple tree trunk donated by an area resident, Ingvoldstad worked on-site all summer. The Chavez sculpture was dedicated September 14 at a ceremony attended by Mayor Randy Kelly and the Mexican Consul, Nathan Wolf. One curiosity: during the final weeks of carving, the artist struck a nail that had been buried within the tree, having been hammered into the trunk some thirty-five years ago. The nail just happened to be stuck in the center of Chavez's palm, where the artist left it as a symbol of Chavez's martyrdom and sacrifice on behalf of farm workers. Coming up this winter is the start of FORECAST'S Spontaneous Storefronts series, utilizing an enormous set of w i n d o w s in the heart of d o w n t o w n Minneapolis. The first installation, done by the team of Richard Bonk and Michael Wong, features rear-lit digital murals, meditative mandalas, and a large motorized figure. And finally, FORECAST'S big event this November is the ART for PUBLIC ART sale and silent auction, which will benefit a w o r t h y n o n p r o f i t (publisher of Public Art Review) and be a great party as well. If you can't make it, don't despair; several works by well-known national artists will be available online via www.ForecastArt.org beginning December 1. Let the bidding begin!
O n September 11, 2005, a bronze sculpture by STEVE TOBIN was installed near G r o u n d Zero in New York City. The work is a re-creation o f the s t u m p and roots o f a seventy-year-old sycamore tree at St. Paul's Chapel. The tree
became a well-known symbol o f the Sept e m b e r 11 disaster w h e n it helped shield the church f r o m d a m a g e caused by the collapsing towers o f the World Trade Center. Tobin's sculptureâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;18 feet high, 25 feet wide, and w e i g h i n g 8 , 0 0 0 p o u n d s â&#x20AC;&#x201D; s i t s at the head o f Wall Street on Broadway, in a courtyard o f Trinity Church. Tobin arranged t o borrow the surviving s t u m p and roots, w h i c h he transported t o his studio outside Q u a k e r t o w n , Penn., and used as a model. He paid for the RESCUE PUBLIC MURALS!, f o r m e d in
entire project himself, at a cost o f $330,000
2004, is a group o f muralists, art historians,
and nearly 2 0 , 0 0 0 hours o f labor.
conservators, and arts administrators whose
goal is t o preserve c o m m u n i t y murals throughout the country. The organization is sponsored A m i n i n g c o m p a n y operation near Newcastle,
by the nonprofit Heritage Preservation, which also f o u n d e d Save O u t d o o r Sculpture! RPMI's
England, has hired artist Charles Jencks t o
goals are t o inventory, assess, and preserve
create a half-mile-long sculpture along the A i
U.S. murals in concert with local c o m m u n i t i e s ;
m o t o r w a y in Gateshead. GODDESS OF THE
establish a website w i t h i n f o r m a t i o n useful t o
N O R T H will be m a d e o f m i n i n g debris
artists, conservators, agencies, and interested
fashioned into a reclining female figure. It is
individuals; assemble and publicize a highly
expected t o take three years t o c o m p l e t e
endangered murals list; and seek partnerships
and will j o i n Angel
w i t h organizations w i t h similar interests. of Respect for the Working
of the North,
Britain's largest sculpture, also located near
the A i highway.
(Cityarts Workshop and local youth, directed by Tomie Arai, New York City, 1977) is an example o f a public mural under threat. An icon o f the
In late July, Britain's covert artist BANSKY decorated Israel's West Bank security wall w i t h nine
early mural m o v e m e n t , the now faded, cracked,
satirical images that were painted on the Palestinian side o f the barrier. The 425-foot-long
peeled, and vandalized mural is also potentially
concrete wall was still being constructed w h e n Bansky struck. His s p o k e s w o m a n , Jo Brooks,
threatened by a recent change in building
said that Israeli security forces shot in the air and pointed their guns at Bansky. The controversial
ownership. For more information, contact T i m
wall is seen as violating international law but is defended by Israel as a necessary protection f r o m
Drescher (email@example.com) or Will
suicide bombers. Bansky has previously s m u g g l e d and h u n g his works into L o n d o n ' s Tate
Britain M u s e u m and N e w York City's M e t r o p o l i t a n M u s e u m and the M u s e u m o f M o d e r n Art.
The Los Angeles Cultural Affairs D e p a r t m e n t has j o i n e d the California D e p a r t m e n t o f Transportation (Caltrans) in an effort to restore and conserve LOS ANGELES FREEWAY MURALS. Caltrans contracted with the Cultural Affairs D e p a r t m e n t t o spend $1.7 m i l l i o n in administering the project. Three Los Angeles-based conservation firms are w o r k i n g w i t h artists t o restore murals t o their original state. O n e o f these is Nathan Z a k h e i m Associates ( N Z A ) , w h i c h uses a m o d i f i c a t i o n
o f the Italian " S t r a p p o " m e t h o d o f restoration that involves m u l t i p l e applicatons o f resin that penetrate the mural paint and stabilize it. A c c o r d i n g t o Nathan Zakheim, "Even highly oxidized or flaking murals can be restored in this way, whether they are to be removed and relocated or kept in their original location." He added that treated murals can last for hundreds o f years. " N Z A uses the same consolidating resin that was used in the consolidation o f Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel murals, and if a m u r a l is saturated w i t h this relatively inexpensive resin every ten or twenty years, it can last indefinitely. The application o f the resin 're-forms' the paint layer, m a k i n g it as fresh as if it were painted today each t i m e it is resaturated, even if that's several hundred
Some Los Angeles Freeway murals will be relocated after they have been restored. Works selected for the project's initial phase
Ruben Brucelyn's / Know Genna Boltuch-Avila's LA.
the Wall Who
(1992), Kids (1984),
A l o n z o Davis's Eye on 84 (1984) and Out
(1970s), Lars Hawkes's Drive
Willie H e r r o n ' s Struggles
of the World
Michelle Obregon's Underwater and John Wehrle's Galileo,
(1984), (1995), (1983),
pictured above, before and after restoration. [Photos Affairs
the City of Los Angeles
H e b d e n Bridge in Hardcastle Crags, UK, a n n o u n c e d that this was the last year o f t h e
years f r o m now."
include Judy Baca's Hitting
Organizers o f t h e SCULPTURE TRAIL at
annual event, w h i c h began in 1995. Situated o n a 400-acre site o w n e d by t h e N a t i o n a l Trust, the t w o - m i l e Sculpture Trail features t e m p o r a r y installations d u r i n g a four-week period each s u m m e r . This year's event, f r o m July 9 t o A u g u s t 7, included welded steel seed pods by Miles H a l p i n ; colorful cloth panels creating new views o f t h e s u r r o u n d i n g s by Claire M o r g a n ; a giant swath o f tiny m i r r o r s by David Halliwell; and caterpillars, c o c o o n s , and butterflies sewn f r o m sack c l o t h by Angela Sidwell. For m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , visit www.sculpturetrail.org. [Photo Sculpture
Trail at Hebden
On August 20, 2005, in Aspen, Colo., the ashes o f gonzo journalist HUNTER S. THOMPSON were blown into the sky from a
Brooklyn artist Kerry Skarbakka created con-
mocking those people who jumped from the
troversy at a June 14 performance photo shoot
burning World Trade Center. Skarbakka said
150-foot tower topped by a red fist with two
at the Museum o f Contemporary Art in
he has since received hate mail and threats to
thumbs, rising from the hilt of a dagger. The
Chicago. Those photographs were the begin-
his personal safety. "The falling images were
cannon was paid for by actor Johnny Depp,
ning o f a new series, LIFE GOES O n , which
designed to be metaphors of the precarious-
who played Thompson in the film Fear and
continues a theme that Skarbakka has been
ness of life," he said, "and to ask the questions
pursuing for several years. Influenced by the
o f what happens when we let go or what are
Lyle Lovett, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
events o f September 11, 2001, Skarbakka has
the consequences o f trying to hold on. The
were among the 250 invited guests who
had himself photographed while falling off
images are about anxiety and the inability to
attended the private event. Artist Ralph
trees, porches, bridges, train trestles, stair-
always successfully find balance." Skarbakka
Steadman, long-time friend and collaborator
ways, ladders, roofs, mountains, volcanoes,
now plans to create a show using the material
with Thompson, originally created this
water towers, fences, and billboards. Some
generated by the June 14 event, including
media reactions following the June 14 per-
e-mails, web logs, film documentation, and
recently produced an edition of 150 prints in
formance suggested that Skarbakka was
media accounts. [Photo
commemoration ofThompson. One hundred
Las Vegas. Sean Penn, Bill Murray,
art work in 1977 (above), and
percent of the proceeds from the sale of these original prints will go to fund the Hunter S.
Thompson Foundation; more information is available at ralphsteadman.com. Thompson committed suicide on February 20, 2005, at the age o f 67. No photographs of the monument were allowed at the memorial event. Beating Thompson to the punch was a Lutheran minister from Marine on St. Croix, Minn. Rev. Gordon Bergin, a fireworks enthusiast, who died in June at the age of 93. To honor his father's wishes, his son, Rev. Brian Bergin, arranged to have the elder Bergin's ashes shot into the sky during the
s u p p o r t e d by:
town's Fourth of July celebration. "We're celebrating his life," Brian Bergin said. "To torontcartscouncil foundation
In July, a nonprofit Canadian street arts
such a fee. Them.ca proposed a charge o f six
organization, THEM.CA, proposed that
dollars per square foot of billboard space per
Toronto billboard companies be assessed an
year. At that rate, the estimated 5,000
annual fee that would be used to commission
billboards in Toronto could generate $6
public art. According to a Pollara public
million for public art annually.
opinion poll, a majority o f Canadians support
have him go out in a blaze of glory, that would
RECENT PUBLICATIONS •
. cosncosri «.•
BIK V A N DER POL:
ART 21: ART IN THE TWENTY-FIRST
W I T H LOVE FROM THE KITCHEN
A D V D p r o d u c e d by COSACOSA art at large, a
Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol, editors
Interviews and essay by Susan Sollins
Philadelphia n o n p r o f i t arts organization, 2005
Marybeth Sollins, editor
4 0 minutes
Design by Irma B o o m Rotterdam: NAI Publishers, 2005
N e w York: Harry N. A b r a m s , 2003
Distributed in the U.S. by D.A.P./Distributed
216 pages, $45 (hardcover)
Art Publishers (www.artbook.com)
was a project in N o r t h
Philadelphia that took place f r o m June 2003
224 pages, $35 (paperback)
Art 21 is a n o n p r o f i t c o n t e m p o r a r y art organization that produces the PBS series Century,
t h r o u g h December 2 0 0 4 . It b r o u g h t together African and Latino youth for t w o projects:
This publication surveys the work o f Bik Van
Art in the Twenty-First
der Pol, the joint efforts o f Rotterdam artists
website (www.pbs.org/art21), creates educa-
Kenderton School, and a film c o n s i s t i n g o f
Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol, w h o have
tional materials, and does outreach p r o g r a m s .
seven g r o u p vignettes, dialogues and poetry,
been w o r k i n g together since 1994. The heart o f
This book was published in c o n n e c t i o n w i t h
and t w o songs. The film was released in July
the book is a collection o f essays by seven
the second PBS season (2003); another book
2005. Its writers and performers ranged in age
writers: Jean Attali, Wouter Davidts, Charles
is d u e o u t in December 2005 t o coincide w i t h
f r o m 11 t o 16 and had no prior t r a i n i n g in the
Esche, Mary Jane Jacob, Arno van Roosmalen,
the third PBS season, w h i c h premiered in
performative arts. They w o r k e d w i t h each
Sven Lutticken, and Jan Verwoert. Interspersed
September 2005. The PBS series has featured
other and w i t h elders in the c o m m u n i t y t o
a site-specific ceramic tile mosaic at the
t h r o u g h o u t are photographs o f specific instal-
fifty-five established and e m e r g i n g artists.
develop stories based on individual and
lations, loosely grouped under six headings:
This v o l u m e presents sixteen o f t h e m : Eleanor
c o m m u n i t y histories.
Site Specificity, Reactivations, Displacement,
A n t i n , Janine A n t o n i , Charles Atlas, Vija
Collaboration, Information, and Archive, as
Celmins, Walton Ford, Trenton Doyle Hancock,
well as interviews w i t h various artists.
T i m H a w k i n s o n , Elizabeth Murray, Gabriel
O r o z c o , Raymond Pettibon, Paul Pfeiffer, M a r t i n Puryear, Collier Schorr, Kiki S m i t h , D o - H o Suh, and Kara Walker. Their reflections and images o f their w o r k are grouped under four headings: Stories, Loss and Desire, H u m o r , and Time.
J u n o W o r k s can help.
of the Minds
by Doug Kornfeld
3636 Chestnut Place, Denver, CO 80216 Phone 303.291.0255 Fax 303.291.0424
Email JunoWorks@earthlink.net Web w w w . j u n o w o r k s . c o m
Line by Bernar Venet
H From May 2-31, 2005, CLTY G L O W and
futuristic skyscrapers—transformed into
PARADISE were on display in the U n i o n
demure, humanlike creatures—stood amidst
Square subway station in N e w York City. The
lush tropical vegetation. Paradise,
t w o series were created by Japanese artist
5, and 6 lines, depicted idyllic scenes o f
Chiho A o s h i m a . The installation was part o f
fairies, insects, animals, and plant life. The
Boy: The Arts of Japan's
ture, w h i c h was on view at Japan Society and t h r o u g h o u t N e w York City. City Clow,
near the N-R subway lines, was a m u l t i p a n e l
near the 4,
installation was jointly sponsored by Public Art Fund and the Japan Society. [Photo
by Tom Powel
graphic w o r k (digital print on vinyl) in which From May 3-28, 2005, W h i t e Box, a n o n p r o f i t arts organization in New York City, hosted MLSS LIBERTY a i 6 o o - s q u a r e - f o o t mosaic created specially for W h i t e Box's floor by 120 students f r o m Israel's Four Art Education Stations in O f a k i m , Ramie, Nazareth, and Rishon-leZion. The project, led by Israeli artist David Wakstein, used t h o u s a n d s o f pieces o f hand-cut Jerusalem stone. The mosaic was based on a British cartoon f r o m a 1940 Magazine.
The cartoon alluded t o America's
reluctance t o enter W o r l d War II and featured the Statue o f Liberty riding a t u r b u l e n t ocean. In May 2005, sixty years after the end o f W o r l d
design and financing o f the Holocaust memorial
The updated Miss Liberty brandished a sword
War II, Berlin's M E M O R I A L T o THE
lasted seventeen years; after t w o c o m p e t i t i o n s ,
w i t h the w o r d " c o n s c r i p t i o n " while trying t o
M U R D E R E D JEWS OF EUROPE was inaugu-
a design by New York-based architect Peter
keep course on a polygon-shaped pedestal
rated. The o p e n i n g was attended by G e r m a n
Eisenman was selected. His m e m o r i a l features
that simulated the Star o f David. Four Art
political elite and guests f r o m all over the world,
a grid pattern o f 2,711
w h o gathered in the center o f Germany's capital
heights. The u n d e r g r o u n d I n f o r m a t i o n Centre
f o r u m for Israeli youth, both Jewish and Arab,
O n the other side o f the site is Frank Gehry's
below the Field o f Stelae is accessible via ele-
to w o r k w i t h artists and tutors on jointly
Berlin Building next t o the new U.S Embassy,
vator or stairs.
still under construction. Discussion about the
[Text and photo
concrete stelae o f varying
Education Stations, established in 1997, is a
Greg Turk's LATITUDES A N D LEGENDS was recently c o m p l e t e d at Concourse E at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The p e r m a n e n t installation was comm i s s i o n e d by the city o f Atlanta D e p a r t m e n t
New York City's Whitney Art M u s e u m presented
o f Aviation Art Program. Latitudes,
a retrospective o f Robert Smithson's work f r o m
six-foot-long ceramic tile installation, f o r m s a
June 23 t h r o u g h October 23, 2005. Part o f t h e
narrow m a p o f the w o r l d between the 30th
exhibition was FLOATING ISLAND TO TRAVEL
and 35th parallels, roughly Georgia's north
A R O U N D M A N H A T T A N ISLAND, w h i c h was
and south borders. Representing approxi-
presented in collaboration w i t h Minetta Brook,
mately 330 miles north to south and 2 2 , 0 0 0
a New York-based arts organization that
miles east to west, Latitudes
showcases innovative public art projects.
depicts Atlanta at
either end o f the map, w i t h twenty-seven
countries in between, i n c l u d i n g Libya, Iran,
year S m i t h s o n created his best-known work,
Nepal, South Korea, and Mexico. Adjacent t o
never realized d u r i n g the artist's lifetime. It
representing eighteen major cities located
consisted o f a barge landscaped w i t h earth, rocks, and native trees and shrubs that cir-
c u m n a v i g a t e d M a n h a t t a n f r o m September 17-
derived f r o m m a p symbols.
25. Likely an h o m a g e t o Central Park,
at Utah's Great Salt Lake—was
along the same band. Across the concourse,
conceived in 1 9 7 0 — t h e same
this m a p is a collection o f ceramic tablets
consists o f sixty-four sculptures
offered a displacement o f the p a r k —
itself a h u m a n c r e a t i o n — f r o m its natural habitat. The trees used in Floating
donated to N e w York's Central Park Conservancy and were replanted t h r o u g h o u t the park. The Whitney exhibition featured m o r e than 150 o f S m i t h s o n ' s works f r o m 1955 t o 1973, the year the artist died, i n c l u d i n g paint-
Michele Oka Doner's LIFE FORMS consists o f
ings, photographs, sculptures, earthworks,
approximately 375 cast bronze elements set in
videos, and films.
terrazzo with mother-of-pearl, constituting the
In July 2005, SIGNS OF THE TIMES was c o m -
pleted in Emeryville, Calif. The project, w h i c h
began in 2 0 0 4 , was initiated by the Emeryville
by David New
a t r i u m floor o f the Genetics and Biomaterials Life Sciences Building on the Busch C a m p u s o f Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.
Public Art C o m m i t t e e and consists o f seven-
Exploring the disciplines studied in the Life
teen artistically enhanced traffic signal boxes
Sciences Building, the inserts are abstracted
t h r o u g h o u t the city. Seyed Alavi, a conceptual
and open t o m u l t i p l e interpretations. Oka
and interdisciplinary artist, worked w i t h eight
Doner, w h o was t h e subject o f Michele
sculpture students f r o m Emeryville School t o
design the images, w h i c h are imaginative
2003), has recently co-authored Miami
variations o f the well-known stick-figure
pedestrian used on signs.
Books, 2005). [Photos
Of An Eden
( H u d s o n Hills Press, Beach:
(Frierabend U n i q u e by Nick
Two public art projects were recently installed by the San Jos£ Valley Transportation Authority. In Milpitas, Calif., artists T. Ellen Sollod and Nina Zingale created t w o works, CABINET OF I N V E N T I O N A N D OBSOLESCENCE a n d A
PERSONAL CAMERA OBSCURA, for a light rail platform. Cabinet
comprises precipitously stacked bronze boxes w i t h three viewing chambers, a twist on the W u n d e r h a m m e r o f the seventeenth century. Viewers look t h r o u g h peepholes to see objects illuminated by natural light wells. A Camera
is a bronze and steel
apparatus designed for a single viewer. The
GAK (Gesellschaft fur Aktuelle Kunst) spon-
p o s t e r / d i s c u s s i o n hosted by atelier d'architec-
image changes as traffic comes and goes, the
sored A LUCKY STRIKE. ART TAKES PLACE,
ture autog£r£e, a Romanian-French network o f
train enters and leaves the station, and the
which ran f r o m September 9 t h r o u g h October
architects, artists, and theoreticians. The
seasons change. At the Cisco Way light rail
30, 2005, in Bremen, Germany. Participating
exhibition was curated by Gabriele Mackert
station in San Jos£, Sollod and Robert Teeple
artists were atelier d'architecture autog£r£e,
and Horst Griese. Artist Jeppe Hein contributed
also installed Vernacular
city.crime.control, Jeppe Hein, Lutz/Guggisberg,
uses light e m i t t i n g diode technology t o create
Aleksandra Mir, pureculture, Michael
architectural benches he has created for public
an animated network that covers the interior
Rakowitz, Werner Reiterer, Santiago Sierra,
spaces. The artist describes the benches as
ceiling perimeter o f t w o light rail station
and Sustersic/Schalk. GAK invited t h e m to
both constructive—they are functional places
share their i m p r e s s i o n s o f Bremen, w h i c h led
to s i t — a n d deconstructive—they interfere w i t h
part o f a series o f
t o several t e m p o r a r y works, a dramatic
people's m o v e m e n t t h r o u g h public space.
presentation, and a c o m b i n a t i o n w o r k s h o p /
Jenny Holzer's FOR PITTSBURGH was unveiled July 18, 2005, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. The installat i o n consists o f blue LEDs encased in 1500 clear tubes extending f r o m the Convention Center's r o o f on both sides o f a pedestrian walkway. The LEDs display text f r o m literary works that tell stories o f Pittsburgh: An American
by Annie Dillard, Out
W i d e m a n ' s Homewood [Photos
by T h o m a s Bell, and John Edgar
H o u s t o n sculptors Dan Havel and Dean Ruck
through the hallway connecting the t w o
created INVERSION, a sculptural alteration o f
buildings, finally exiting through a small hole
two buildings slated for demolition in a
into an adjacent courtyard. The opening was
Montrose, Texas neighborhood. Havel and
May 21, 2005, and the exhibit was on view until
Ruck peeled o f f the exterior o f the houses to
the buildings were demolished in early June.
create a vortex that starts at the west wall o f
one building and narrows as it progresses
was sponsored by Art League Houston. courtesy
a n # ^ K y A
Buy a door. Sell OpcniiikHtr. Close a door, a door. Ignore a door
ft?!?????? mmrtt ?????????? The Cambridge Arts Council presented O P E N ,
During this year's Chinese M i d - A u t u m n
a t e m p o r a r y exhibition by Paul Ramirez Jones,
Festival, six Chinese restaurants in Minnesota
f r o m A u g u s t 4 t o September 9, 2005. The
participated in a public art project by
artist created w h a t was the smallest public
conceptual artist Marcus Young. Ten thousand
New York City's Public Art Fund presented
park in Cambridge, Mass.â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Taylor S q u a r e â&#x20AC;&#x201D;
fortune cookies with fortunes written by Young
A C A N FOR ALL SEASONS by Alejandro Diaz
m e a s u r i n g only fifty-seven square feet and
were distributed to unsuspecting customers at
f r o m June 29 t o September 29, 2005. Diaz
having locked gates. Access t o the park was
the end o f meals and with carry-out orders. The
created four sculptural reproductions o f
achieved by special keys, 5 , 0 0 0 o f w h i c h were mailed t o C a m b r i d g e households and m a d e
FORECAST-sponsored work, titled BREAK,
Mexican brand-name canned goods (corn,
took place September 15-18 at restaurants in
chilies, chocolate, and t o m a t o e s ) , enlarged to
available at a local fire station. D u p l i c a t i o n o f
Minneapolis, St. Paul, Woodbury, Falcon
the size o f the o u t d o o r planters typically
the keys was encouraged t o increase access t o
Heights, and Walker. The enigmatic, koan-like
f o u n d on urban streets and sidewalks. These
the park for an expanding c o m m u n i t y .
texts, twenty-four in all, were designed to
were filled w i t h seasonal plants and placed
provoke thought, enrich dinner conversation,
along the m e d i a n o f the G r a n d Concourse in
and provide instruction in good living.
the Bronx, between 164th and 165th Streets.
MERSEY WAVE GATEWAY in Liverpool, England, was c o m p l e t e d in March 2005. It consists o f twelve thirty-meter-high fins. At night, slowly m o v i n g waves o f blue light on
A t e m p o r a r y o u t d o o r exhibition by Jerry Beck
m a d e o f recycled materials. The work
the surface o f the fins evoke the experience
was on display f r o m July 2 t o October 10,
addressed the effects o f military conflict on
o f the tidal Mersey River. Designed by
2005, at the Charleston Navy Yard in Boston,
everyday life and the c o m m o d i f i c a t i o n o f
Mass. THE SECRET ARK OF ICON PARK was a
violence in American society.
up t o a mile away f r o m its Speke Boulevard
sixty-foot-long, twenty-eight-foot-wide, eight-
foot-high, freestanding boat-like structure
Wave is visible f r o m
location. The sculpture, which took six m o n t h s t o build, is 100 feet high and 2 0 0 feet long. [Photo
C3 â&#x20AC;&#x201D;I CO
O n A u g u s t 28, 2005, the latest cycle in
FLOAT, a presentation o f site-specific,
T i m O t t o Roth's 1 0 0 DAYS - 1 0 0
temporary, and ephemeral performance
I M A C H I NATIONS was launched at Egypt's
and video works, took place on Saturdays
P A N D E M O N I U M , a site-specific installation
Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The last project cycle
and Sundays, A u g u s t 13-28, 2005, at Socrates
for Cell Block Seven o f the Eastern State
appeared f r o m January 29 to May 9 at the
Sculpture Park in New York City. Float
Penitentiary H i s t o r i c Site in Philadelphia,
"Top o f E u r o p e " â&#x20AC;&#x201D; t h e high-altitude station
biennial series launched in 2003. This year's
o p e n e d May 12, 2005, and will r e m a i n o n view
Jungfraujoch in Switzerland.
version included artworks and performances
for t w o years. The exhibit was created by
consists o f projections o f Internet-based
m u l t i m e d i a artists Janet Cardiff and George
images that appear simultaneously in
Sabrina Gschwandtner, Ryan Humphrey,
Bures Miller and organized by independent
different places and that change each day for
Akiko Ichikawa, Claudia Joskowicz, Trong G.
curator Julie Courtney. It uses existing ele-
100 days. Each Imagination
is generated by
by Soledad Arias, Kabir Carter, M o n i c a Goetz,
Nguyen, Michelle Rosenberg, vydavy
m e n t s in prison cells t o create a cacophony o f
s u p e r i m p o s i n g t w o wave patterns. Each day
sindikat, Chrysanne Stathacos, and Douglas
banging, clanking, and t a p p i n g s o u n d s that
half o f the Imachination
Weathersby. Rosenberg's Auricle
is changed. In Egypt,
m o v e up and d o w n the cell block corridor. The
the projections, eight meters in diameter, are
as an interactive, m o b i l e listening station
effect, in the artists' w o r d s , is "as if a multi-
visible f r o m the Cornich, a highway traversed
that enables its users t o acoustically
t u d e o f people or ghosts have inhabited the
by t h o u s a n d s o f Alexandrians daily.
cell block." Eastern State Penitentiary, t h e n
nearly 150 years old, closed in 1971. Cell Block Seven, a two-story w i n g c o m p l e t e d in 1836, had never before been open t o the public. [Photo
focus on whatever sounds the device is pointed towards. [Photo
Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter recently created LANDING, a sculpture suspended f r o m the sixty-foot ceiling at Pacific Market-
A series o f projects that will unfold over a
place in Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport. The artwork
two-year period, I N S l T E _ 0 5 consists o f four
I SEE W H A T YOU M E A N , by Lawrence Argent,
resembles three-dimensional pointillism,
c o m p o n e n t s — I n t e r v e n t i o n s , Scenarios,
is a forty-foot-high blue bear s t a n d i n g on its
where many small c o m p o n e n t sculptures
Conversations, and M u s e u m E x h i b i t i o n — t h a t
hind legs and appearing t o look inside the
coalesce into large c o m p o s i t e forms. The
explore the border zone o f San Diego-Tijuana.
Colorado Convention Center in d o w n t o w n
flying bird is c o m p o s e d o f hundreds o f b i r d s in
lnSite_05 will have a concentrated phase o f
Denver. Formed o f m o l d e d polymer concrete
flight, while the reflected image comprises
pubic presentation between A u g u s t 27 and
m o u n t e d on a steel framework, the bear
schools o f fish. These elements are cast in
N o v e m b e r 13, 2005. Scenarios, one o f the
consists o f 4 , 0 0 0 interlocking triangles.
pewter and painted with s h i m m e r i n g blues,
four c o m p o n e n t s , explores the c o n s t r u c t i o n o f
Argent, w h o teaches at the University o f
greens, and golds. Cast resin raindrops sparkle
the public sphere as a space o f live discourse
Denver, used c o m p u t e r renderings and 3-D
around the snow goose. A m b i e n t elements
by parodying c o m m o n ways o f labeling,
m o d e l i n g t o design the sculpture. It was
that illustrate the history, culture, and
c o n s u m i n g , d i s t r i b u t i n g , exhibiting, and
fabricated by Kreysler & Associates, American
landscape o f the Pacific Northwest s u r r o u n d
storing cultural i n f o r m a t i o n . Pictured above:
the reflected bird. Artwork development at
T h o m a s Classford and Jos£ Parral's La
Pacific Marketplace was managed for the Port
o f Seattle by 4Culture.
of by Alfredo
O n May 19, 2005, artist Brian Tolle and landscaper Diana Balmori created S K I D R o w s , a hybrid earthwork and performance piece c o m m i s s i o n e d by the Queens M u s e u m o f Art as part o f its exhibition Down The Artist's
w h i c h was
on view f r o m June 26 t h r o u g h O c t o b e r 9. E m p l o y i n g a m e t h o d o f f a r m i n g called direct sowing, Tolle and Balmori used a red 1991 Chevy Silverado pickup covered w i t h
A D A M , an international exhibition o f c o n t e m -
thirty c o m m i s s i o n e d projects designed t o
decals t o " d r a w " a flower garden o n a twoacre expanse o f the Queens Botanical
porary art, ran f r o m September 3 t h r o u g h
engage the situational context o f everyday life
October 16, 2005, t h r o u g h o u t the city o f
by reinterpreting the sociopolitical c o n d i t i o n s
Gardens. The garden's f o r m resulted f r o m the
A m s t e r d a m . Curated by T h o m a s Peutz and
tire tracks laid d o w n by the r a n d o m l y driven
Una Henry, the exhibition was organized and
produced by SMART Project Space
(www.smartprojectspace.net). It featured
truck, w i t h the seeds (red poppies and yellow tickweed) being planted in the tracks. [Photo
A photographic exhibition by Wendy Ewald
opened July 9, 2005, and continues in Margate,
England. TOWARDS A PROMISED LAND
consists o f fifteen photographs o f children, displayed as large banners along the Sea Wall between the Walpole Bay Hotel and The Lido. 3
Photographs o f the children's faces looking out
t o sea are juxtaposed w i t h images o f the backs
o f their heads facing inland. The twenty-two young people involved in the project recently
=• m m
arrived on the Isle o f T h a n e t f r o m places r
Their w o r d s are included on the photographs;
affected by war, poverty, or politcal upheaval.
TWILU SNUFF -OUT] I EVIL
one example is, "Anytime someone lives m
somewhere, that's the place that he should belong to." Further images will go up around the town in s u m m e r 2 0 0 6 as part o f The Exodus,
Artangel's major new c o m m i s s i o n .
This project was c o m m i s s i o n e d by Artangel, in collaboration w i t h Creative Partnerships, Kent, and supported by the Small Voice Foundation. [Photo
HABITAT, a landscape sculpture by Alice A d a m s , was recently c o m p l e t e d at the M o n t c l a i r State University Station o f N e w Jersey Transit. The sculpture f o r m s a fourteenfoot-deep basin and replaces an earlier pond. Its terraced walls recall local rock faces and quarries; they are f o r m e d by stone-filled, wirem e s h containers called gabions. Centered on the basin's w h i t e gravel floor is a six-foot-high bluestone-clad pyramid s u r r o u n d e d by three low m o u n d s , each clad w i t h a different size and color o f river stone. [Photo
From June 18 t h r o u g h October 2005, New
artworks that served as prizes at various g a m e
York's Coney Island sported artist-painted
booths. The Dreamland
signs, concession stands, storefronts, and
interior was designed by Steve Powers; the
murals, courtesy o f Creative T i m e and artist
sign was designed by Swoon.
Steve Powers. Seventeen artists, i n c l u d i n g
Powers, c o n t r i b u t e d t o THE D R E A M L A N D
ARTIST CLUB 2005. Other artists c o n t r i b u t e d
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Scott Parsons, Algorithmic
Peter Flanary, Wave, UW-Madison
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January 7, 2006 New Paltz; James Rondeau, The Frances and Thomas Dittmer Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art The artists for Lights On Tampa were selected through a Institute of Chicago; and Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for The New Yorker. national call to artists by the following jurors: Patricia Lights On Tampa is a public/private partnership and is Phillips, Chairman of the Department of Fine and a program of the City of Tampa, Public Art Program. Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Artists include: Erwin Redl, Wendy Babcox, Janet Echelman, Jorge Orta, and others.
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Curated by Robert Menifee, art critic, San Diego and Palm Springs gallerist. Additional information: Richard L.Twedt, Public Arts Manager Tel 760 776 6380
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Gordon Huether "Untitled" courtesy of the artist Barrett DeBusk "Happy Boy" courtesy of A Gallery Fine Art Esmoreit Koetsier "Balance" courtesy of the artist Clark Brooks "I Forget" courtesy of A Gallery Fine Art
"Five O'clock People" courtesy ofDenise Roberge Gallery Clark Brooks
"Weekend Warrior" courtesy of A Gallery Fine Art Virgil Villers "Ziplock" courtesy of the artist Jon Seeman "Rotating" courtesy of Tre' Contemporary
Peter Shire "Rocking Angel" courtesy of Art at El Paseo Square Chris Georgesco "Leaves I & 7" courtesy of New Space Gallery
13. Gallery 14.
Terence Carr "The Ferry M a n " courtesy of Hart Gallery Heriberto Juarez "Caballo con Jinete" courtesy of Art at El Paseo Square Gallery Roberto Lauro "Expanding Vision" courtesy ofEleonore Austerer Gallery William Ware "Over t h e T o p " courtesy of the artist
David Gerstein "Cow" courtesy of COD A Galleries Scott McMillin "Protector" courtesy of Imago Galleries Cecilia Stanford "Flying Fish" courtesy of the artist Bill Vielehr "3D Metal Drawings" courtesy of the artist
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Stephan Huber: Hessische Landesbank, Frankfurt, Germany; 1 0 9 0 sf mosaic mural
Robert W i l s o n : M T A - Stillwell Terminal Station, NY; 3 0 0 ft long glass block wall - detail
M e di u m Arch.: Central Law Library, Univ.Hamburg, Germany; glass facade, 2 1 , 6 0 0 sf
Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc Architectural Art Glass and Mosaic 5 Tudor City Place # 1 520, New York, NY 1001 7 Phone: 2 1 2 - 6 6 1 - 1 6 9 4 , firstname.lastname@example.org Assoc. Representative: Erica Behrens Phone: 7 1 8 - 3 9 9 - 1 8 1 7 , email@example.com www.mayer-of-munich.com
Ellen Driscoll: M T A - Grand Cenlral Terminal North, NY; 1 3 mosaic murals, detail