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WHAT I LEARNED IN VENICE | THUNDER BAY’S WATERFRONT | 6 LESSONS IN CITY MAKING

Issue 49 • Fall/Winter 2013 • publicartreview.org

TOWARD A

LIVABLE

PLANET Can public art change the world? Meet the artists who think so.

MAKING ART LAST Conversation with a master conservator A MODEST PROPOSAL U.S. Department of Arts and Culture $16.00 USD


OF MUNICH

FRANZ MAYER

GLAS S MOSAIC TIMELESS MODERN

Clifford Ross „Austin Wall“ 30‘ x 30‘ Stained Glass Wall, U.S. Federal Courthouse, Austin, TX, USA Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Art in Architecture Program US GSA Photo: Casey Dunn

Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc. | 1-347-907-2399 | info@mayer-of-munich.com | www.mayer-of-munich.com


art org

special projects artorg editions ArtOrg, P.O. Box 2, Northfield, MN 55057 USA w w w. a r t o r g . i n f o

The Great Human Race, ongoing Conceptual art with paper pulp and stone lithography The Rockford, Illinois artist Roland Poska advocates through signings of his Declarations of Interdependence, The Fishy Whale Diaries and other projects.

Artist Collaboration The Ziock Project, 2013 Ink and paint on fabric Relief prints from 45 Rockford artists cover inside walls of a large, scale model of that city’s Ziock Building. The art represents the energy and creativity that can exist within redeveloped and repurposed structures.

Photo, Tom Roster.

public art printing

Roland Poska


Issue 49 • Fall/Winter 2013 • Volume 25 • Number 1

FEATURES 26 Water Works Transforming watersheds and communities KEITH GOETZMAN

38 Trash to Treasure Renewable energy and art for Freshkills Park JOE HART

42 Home Makers Artists focus on housing and neighborhoods JEFF HUEBNER

50 The New City-Makers Six lessons for making better cities JOE HART

56 The Green Way Through An artfully designed highway bypass

llustration courtesy Thomas Kelly, Carrie Norman, and Sarah Jazmine-Fugate.

DANIEL JOST

TOWARD A LIVABLE FUTURE Every day public artists, often in collaboration with other design professionals, are helping to elevate quality of life by turning the places we share—cities, highways, parks, waterways, and neighborhoods—into meaningful, regenerative spaces. We hope the ideas in this issue’s feature articles—like the concept for NAWT Balloons on this page, which you can learn about in “Trash to Treasure” on page 38—inspire you to imagine and create a more livable future. —The Editors


“Crystal Light“ by Catherine Widgery - Salt Lake City Transfer Station - Arts in Transit - a partnership between Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City Corporation, Salt Lake Art Design Board and Salt Lake City Arts Council - Technique: Laser etching on two sides of laminated safety glass

Glass fabrication by:

PETERS STUDIOS Further Information:

www.peters-studios.com

Germany:

United States:

GLASMALEREI PETERS GmbH Am Hilligenbusch 23 - 25 D - 33098 Paderborn phone: 011 - 49 - 52 51 - 160 97 - 0 fax: 011 - 49 - 52 51 - 160 97 99

PETER KAUFMANN 3618 SE 69th Ave. Portland, OR 97206 phone: 503.781.7223 E-mail: p.kaufmann@glass-art-peters.com


MetalMatisse CULTURAL AFFAIRS

City of Norfolk, VA

Norfolk, Virgina

Artist: Electroland


Issue 49 • Fall/Winter 2013 • Volume 25 • Number 1

DEPARTMENTS 13 PUBLISHER’S NOTE Quality of Life

JACK BECKER

15 SHOP TALK News, views, and ideas

15 Utility Centric: A Calgary competition and residency

JON SPAYDE

16 Elevating Artists: An L.A. gallery’s public art program

JON SPAYDE

17 Lost Highway: Interpreting MAP-21 legislation

JOE HART

20 Things Fall Apart: Q&A with conservator Robert Lodge

JOE HART

23 SOAP BOX

U.S. Department of Arts and Culture ARLENE GOLDBARD ADAM HOROWITZ 15

61 ON LOCATION Reports from the field

61 A Waterfront Watershed: Development in Thunder Bay

JON SPAYDE

67 Bringing the Biennale Home: What I learned in Venice

MARILU KNODE

71 BOOKS Publications and reviews KAREN OLSON, KIRSTIN WIEGMANN, AMELIA FOSTER, AND LAUREN BEDOSKY 77 U.S. Recent Projects 82 International Recent Projects TOP: Photo by Sans façon. MIDDLE: Photo by David Whittaker. BOTTOM: Photo by Cristobal Palma, copyright Alfredo Jaar.

87 Forecast News 61

88 Last Page Standing in the Tides: Marco Casagrande’s Oystermen

On the cover Solar Loop is a concept for monumental sculpture that harvests solar power and doubles as an arena for performances. The design was submitted to the Land Art Generator Initiative’s 2012 competition calling for site-specific works for Freshkills Park, on the site of Fresh Kills Landfill, in New York. Solar Loop was designed by Gilberto Bonelli, Alessandro Balducci, Rocco Vanantines, Mario Emanuele Salini, and Pietro Bodria (Paolo Venturella / MenoMenoPiu Architects). See story on page 38.

71


ISSUE 49 • FALL/WINTER 2013 • VOLUME 25 • NUMBER 1

PUBLISHER Jack Becker

FORECAST BOARD OF DIRECTORS

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Karen Olson

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DESIGN

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Director of Artist Services

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Jack Mackie

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Director of Education + Community Engagement

Wang Dawei

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Information + Communications Coordinator

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Kinetic Ring detail EDITORIAL INQUIRIES editor@ForecastPublicArt.org ADVERTISING INQUIRIES ads@ForecastPublicArt.org SUBSCRIPTION / ORDER INQUIRIES info@ForecastPublicArt.org FORECAST PUBLIC ART

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FAX 651.641.1983 PublicArtReview.org ForecastPublicArt.org OUR MISSION Forecast Public Art is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that strengthens and advances the field of public art—locally, nationally, and internationally—by expanding participation, supporting artists, informing audiences, and assisting communities.

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Thank you to the following supporters, from December 1, 2012, to November 1, 2013:

MAJOR FUNDERS

FRIENDS OF FORECAST $135+

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ADVERTISERS IN THIS ISSUE

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Jerome Foundation

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Minnesota State Arts Board / Clean

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PLACEMAKERS $5,000+

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International Sculpture Center

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SUPPORTERS $1,035+

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Water, Land and Legacy Amendment

Administrators

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Weisman Art Museum

COMMUNITY BUILDERS $535+

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WESTAF

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HGA

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© 2013 Public Art Review (ISSN: 1040-211x) is published twice annually by Forecast Public Art. Annual individual subscription rates are $30 for USA, $36 for Canada/Mexico, and $42 for Overseas. Annual institutional subscription rates are $60 for USA, $72 for Canada/Mexico, and $84 for Overseas. Public Art Review is not responsible for unsolicited material. Opinions expressed and validity of information herein are the responsibility of the author, not Forecast, and Forecast disclaims any claims made by advertisers and for images reproduced by advertisers. Public Art Review is indexed by Art Index and ARTbibliographies Modern.


Public Art Software for Arts People by Arts People CaFÉ™: THE EASY, AFFORDABLE WAY TO MANAGE CALLS FOR ENTRY Designed especially for public art projects, artist fellowships, and juried visual art competitions, CaFÉ saves time and money and streamlines processes. POWERFUL FEATURES: • Reference Letter Manager enables organizations to accept formal letters of reference or recommendation from applicants through the CaFÉ system. • Online panelist scorecard allows panelists to conveniently review entries and provide scores anytime, anywhere. • Expanded dashboard functionality lets administrators view how many artists have applied to a call; the number of images, audio, and video files each artist has uploaded; and financial data for income breakdown. PLUS: • Administer multiple calls at the same time. • Add description parameters like call type, eligibility, city, and state. • Easily search, track, and review applications. • Extraordinary customer service— tech savvy U.S. artists form the core of our technology support staff.

To learn more about CaFÉ and to view a system demonstration, contact us today!

888.562.7232 or email us at cafe@westaf.org www.CallforEntry.org CaFÉ is a service of the Western States Arts Federation


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Quality of Life

Public artists and their collaborators are creating a more livable future artists working side by side with planners, designers, creators, educators, and policy makers—indeed all the caretakers of our built and natural environments —to lay foundations for future generations.

“Public art is visible evidence of our shared humanity.”

We’re very pleased to highlight some of the world’s talented, game-changing and inspiring artists in this issue, people whose voices, visions, practices and stories need to be shared more broadly—with elected officals, policy makers, leaders, connectors, and innovators seeking new ideas and solutions for creating a more livable world. Public art is visible evidence of our shared humanity, yet for too long the value of public art has been hiding in plain sight. If we work to raise awareness of and appreciation for its value, future generations will build on the foundations we lay today. JACK BECKER is the executive director of Forecast Public Art­, a non-

profit based in St. Paul, Minnesota, and publisher of Public Art Review.

Forecast Public Art: In This Issue Forecast Public Art is the publisher of Public Art Review

Forecast is proud that Jack Becker is the 2014 recipient of the Public Art Dialogue Award, given annually at the College Art Association conference.

In 2013, Forecast Public Art is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Learn more about the history of the organization and its focus on art in our everyday lives.

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PAGE

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For an update on Forecast’s consulting program, K–12 educational initiative, grants, and Twin Cities–based events, see Forecast News and visit ForecastPublicArt.org.

13 PUBLISHER’S NOTE

It seems like everywhere I go, nearly everyone I meet wants to “improve the quality of life” in their community. We now throw around terms like livability and standard of living as if everyone knows what we mean. How often do we actually stop to define these terms or take action on them in the public realm? Many communities—and public artists—do so every day. The city of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis, prides itself on innovation and community building. In 1993, the people of St. Louis Park developed an initiative called Children First. It’s essentially a partnership among their education, faith, city, health, and business communities that focuses on building the 40 “assets” or character-building attributes that kids need to become healthy, productive, and successful adults. By putting the focus on future generations, the community forces itself to continually consider what kind of world it needs to create, a consideration that transcends the here and now. This forward thinking extends to St. Louis Park’s public art program, which requires private developers to fund new work by local and national artists. The combination of this progressive approach to commissioning new work as part of community development efforts and Children First has helped establish a culture of caring for shared spaces, social engagement, and a healthier environment—a clear vision of quality of living. At Public Art Review, we value artists as connectors, mediators, enablers, and facilitators of change. We aim to illustrate ways that artists bring their intuition, vision, and holistic thinking to challenges faced by communities—and the world as a whole—often recognizing solutions before the rest of us are even aware of the problems. In this issue‘s cover story, we look at how artists are addressing notions of livability and improving standards of living through the lens of public art and public space development. We celebrate

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | FALL / WINTER 2013 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

BOTTOM LEFT: Logo courtesy College Art Association. MIDDLE: Photo by Forecast Public Art, courtesy Kao Lee. RIGHT: Photo by John Pocklington.

BY JACK BECKER


Photo: El Monte Station, Time Piece, Donald Lipski

Metro congratulates artist Donald Lipski for his public art contribution to our transit system. Measure R, approved by a two-thirds majority vote in California, commits a projected $40 billion to tra;c relief and transportation upgrades throughout Los Angeles County over the next 30 years. Artwork enhancements are a result of this bold funding initiative. To learn more, or to add your name to our email list for information about upcoming opportunities for artists, visit metro.net/art. facebook.com/metroartlosangeles

14-0160eb Š2013 lacmta

Metro has commissioned artists for a wide array of projects throughout Los Angeles County.


SHOP TALK News, views, and ideas

ENVIRONMENT

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | FALL / WINTER 2013 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

15 SHOP TALK

Utility Centric

A Calgary competition led to a residency and mentorship program

Photo by Sans façon.

BY JON SPAYDE

Call it a case of positive, even visionary “mission creep.” The city of Calgary, Alberta’s initial effort to use public art to inform its citizens about water issues has turned into Watershed+ (“Watershed Plus”), a multiyear, multiartist, multidisciplinary pilot project that explores the multiple connections between Calgarians and their water—and helps deepen the relationship between art and government. In 2007 the city’s Department of Utilities and Environmental Protection (UEP)—responsible for municipal water and air quality, garbage collection, and recycling—came up with a plan to use the department’s percent-for-art dollars to tell the story of how it works with the city’s watershed. The first part of the plan called for artistcreated signage and other visual elements at the various places where storm water runs off into the city’s rivers. The winner of the competition for lead artist on the project was Sans façon, a landscape-oriented collaboration, based in Scotland, between French architect Charles Blanc and British artist Tristan Surtees. “Through their very ambitious interpretation of the goals of that project,” says Heather Aitken, coordinator of the city’s Public Art Program, “Watershed Plus was born.” The duo led a Scottish–FrenchCanadian team in expanding the project into a cluster of elements. Bowmont Natural Environment Park, a large public wilderness area through which the Bow River flows, is being rehabbed, with

public input. A quirky and popular temporary project designed by Blanc and Surtees, three Fire Hydrant Drinking Fountains, debuted last year. (“It came as quite a surprise to people that fire hydrant water was drinkable,” says Aitken.) And an artist residency and a mentorship program for local artists were established and are continuing. “If Watershed Plus is successful,” says Aitken, “it will be an ongoing way of working at UEP, with artists embedded on a regular basis.” For embedded artist Tristan Surtees, however, the depth and quality of the relationships between the UEP and the artists have made the project a success already. He tells the story of a city official who approached him after major June floods inundated the city, saying, “We need the help of artists to recover from this.” “That gives you an idea of the attitude here,” says Surtees. “Absolutely remarkable cooperation and openness.” He and Blanc were so taken with Calgary, in fact, that they’ve made it their permanent base of operations. So far, the UEP has been too preoccupied with basic recovery efforts to bring artists into the mix, but no one will be surprised if future UEP–public artist efforts address flood issues as a part of their remarkable, evolving collaboration. JON SPAYDE is a frequent contributor to Public Art Review. Read his article on Thunder Bay’s waterfront development on page 61.


SHOP TALK ART WORLD

Elevating Artists

Why one gallery owner has a formal public art program

SHOP TALK

THIS PHOTO: Mark Moore, owner of the Mark Moore Gallery in Culver City, Calif. RIGHT, TOP TO BOTTOM: Artists Jason Salavon, Jeremy Fish, and Yaram Wolberger have all participated in the public art program through the Mark Moore Gallery.

connections, and act as a liaison between the entity commissioning the work and the artists, who aren’t always familiar with those things.” Currently, about 9 of the 30 Mark Moore Gallery artists have either begun or finished public works. “We only work on public projects with artists we represent,” says Moore. “It’s a huge investment of time, and it isn’t something I’d be interested in doing if it didn’t enhance the value of the artists in the gallery. Most of our artists are mid-career or emerging, and they want these pieces out in the public realm because they broaden their profile.” Still, Moore feels that the public component of the gallery is growing, and he can imagine a time when the Mark Moore Gallery is well enough known for public art that he would take on artists who work solely in that realm. “After all,” he says, “this is as integral a part of this gallery as our video art, our installation art, our photographically based art—or painting and drawing.” —Jon Spayde

Photos courtesy Mark Moore Gallery.

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | VOL. 25 | NO. 1 | ISSUE 49 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

16

The distinction between “gallery art” and public art usually goes more or less unquestioned, but one veteran gallery owner is blurring the line between the two by running an active public art program out of his art space in Culver City, California. Mark Moore moved his Mark Moore Gallery to the western Los Angeles community in 2011, after 17 years in Santa Monica and, before that, 10 years running the Works Gallery in Long Beach. “I got involved with artists doing work with light and space back then,” he says, “and I learned that public art was a tricky thing. My artists lost money on it.” The experience suggested to him that he could help public artists get a better deal while at the same time promoting work that promotes his gallery. In Culver City, he helps any of the artists he represents who express an interest in doing public work. “I act basically as the artists’ agent in trying to secure them commissions,” he says. “I walk them through the process, assist with their contracts, help them with their foundry and fabrication


MITCHELL KEARNEY

FUNDING

Lost Highway

Federal transportation legislation spells confusion for public artworks

PUBLIC

ART

CharloeMecklenburg, NC

JOANN SIEBURG-BAKER

One of the major funding mechanisms for public art in the United States appears to be under threat. In the past 20 years, federal transportation money has paid for hundreds of public artworks in virtually every city in the nation. But in the 2012 transportation bill “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,” or MAP-21, the federal government apparently told public art to hit the road —and state officials and public arts administrators are scrambling to figure out how to interpret the new law. It’s no easy task. “I spend more time on these issues than your normal human person,” says Narric Rome, the senior director of Federal Affairs at Americans for the Arts, “and I still struggle when it comes to the change.” On paper, the switch is simple: Under the old law, transportation enhancements called out public art as a spending category. MAP-21, a two-year bill, removes “public art” from the language of the bill. The impact is less clear. Rome says the effect of the bill is to essentially pass the buck to the state officials who administer federal transportation dollars. “For 20 years, the department said that public art was and should be an eligible use for funds,” he says. “Now they’re making the states make that decision.” Other funding categories faced a similar fate. The “enhancement” bucket includes a wide range of projects, including environmental programs, historic preservation, bike trails and more. “A whole number of them were given the same treatment,” says Rome, who is now in good company. Other advocates are also working to fix the language of the next transportation bill. In the meantime, Rome encourages local officials to communicate with state officials. The transportation department still considers public art an appropriate use of enhancement funds, he stresses. It’s up to arts administrators to remind the state officials who hold the purse strings that that’s the case. —Joe Hart

Photo by Zhang Kan.

Ed Carpenter, Ascendus / Cliff Garten, Levine Lanterns Living Lenses, Sight Unseen / Erwin Redl, Passing Through Light

CALLSTOARTISTS www.ArtsAndScience.org 704.333.2272


SHOP TALK

AWARDS

energies of artists with the needs and opportunities of communities. He has organized more than 70 exhibitions, 50 publications, and numerous special events. Becker, who was born in St. Louis, Missouri, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a focus on sculpture and intermedia. Chosen from nominations made by PAD members, the PAD Award winner accepts the award at the annual College PUBLIC ART REVIEW | VOL. 25 | NO. 1 | ISSUE 49 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

Art Association conference and makes a special presentation, open to the public. Awardees receive a three-year membership in PAD. The 2014 conference will be held in Chicago February 12–15.

SHOP TALK

TOP LEFT: Laurie Jo Reynolds. BOTTOM LEFT: Khaled Hourani. ABOVE RIGHT: The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Art in Public Places website. In recognition for innovative county government programs that modernize government and increase services to county residents, the Miami-Dade Though previously given to just one artist annually, the Leonore Annenberg

County Department of Cultural Affairs won a 2013 National Association

Prize for Art and Social Change went to two artists in 2013: Palestinian

of Counties Achievement Award for its interactive Art in Public Places

Khaled Hourani and American Laurie Jo Reynolds.

website, miamidadepublicart.org. The newly designed site extends the

A writer and curator as well as an artist, Hourani is director of the International

accessibility of more than 650 works of art from the Miami-Dade County

Academy of Art in Palestine. His 2011 work Picasso in Palestine, which became

public art collection. The site allows visitors online access to images, the

the basis of an award-winning film, brought Picasso’s painting Buste de Femme

ability to create virtual tours, and the capability of searching the collection

from the Netherlands to Palestine for an exhibition that examined the complicated

by medium, artist, or location. The site also provides direct services to art-

ways art enters a war zone and transcends geopolitical borders.

ists through listings of opportunities for artists, as well as tools, resources,

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Reynolds is a policy advocate, researcher, and

and news items. In addition, the custom-designed platform serves as a

artist. Due in part to her extraordinary efforts over the past eight years, Tamms

management system for the conservation and stewardship of the coun-

Correctional Center, the notorious super-max prison in southern Illinois designed

ty’s award-winning public art collection, including inventory and records-

for sensory deprivation, was closed in January 2013. In addition to relentless

keeping functions.

lobbying, the Tamms Year Ten grassroots legislative campaign that she helped launch featured cultural projects such as “Photo Requests from Solitary,”

The Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture conferred the 11th

which invited men in isolation to request a photograph of anything at all, real

Annual Visual Arts Award to Wu Mali and Bamboo Curtain Studio for Art

or imagined.

as Environment—A Cultural Action at the Plum Tree Creek. From March 2011

For their work provoking engagement with critical issues of our time and

through July 2012, the public art project sought to engender a sense of own-

advancing equity and justice, each artist received $15,000. The award was pre-

ership for the heavily polluted waterway that flows through a low-income,

sented at the 2013 Creative Time Summit, an annual conference on art and

semi-agricultural region of New Taipei City, Taiwan.

social change, held this past October at New York University.

Activities included treks around the creek, breakfast gatherings that promoted creative reflection on better land-care practices, exhibitions, and com-

In recognition for his longstanding contributions to the field of public art, Jack

munity theater. Mali, associate professor and chair of the Graduate Institute

Becker, publisher of Public Art Review, is the 2014 recipient of the PAD Award

of Interdisciplinary Art at National Kaohsiung Normal University in Taiwan,

from Public Art Dialogue. Founder and executive director of Forecast Public Art

curated the interdisciplinary project. The 2012 prize included a cash award

in St. Paul, Minnesota, Becker specializes in projects that connect the ideas and

of $1 million in New Taiwan dollars, which equals approximately $34,000 US.

TOP: Photograph by Mayumi Lake. Courtesy Laurie Jo Reynolds. BOTTOM LEFT: Photograph by Amro Hourani. Courtesy Khaled Hourani. RIGHT: Courtesy of Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

18


Pacific Design Center

Jackson

Light Field

Gruen Associates Los Angeles, CA

Donald Lipski Reno, NV

Robert Chambers Miami, FL

Alamo Lights

5 Beacons for the Lost Half-Mile

Water Sky Garden

Pi in the Sky

PSHIA Sky Train - Blue Stratus

Bill FitzGibbons San Antonio, TX

Reflect

Ivan Depena Miami, FL

Gallants

Tim Prentice Atlanta, GA

E+L+E+M+E+N+T+A+L

Ross Miller Boston, MA

Ben Davis San Francisco Bay, CA

Blueprint of Flight

Martin Donlin Dallas, TX

Dichroic Light Field

Nori Sato Ames, IA

James Carpenter New York, NY

Statue of Liberty

100 11th Ave + IAC

Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi New York, NY

Jean Nouvel + Frank Gehry New York, NY

Janet Echelman Richmond, BC

Mario Madayag + Michael Parekowhai with Paul Deeb Phoenix, AZ

Blue Lines

The Good Stuff Yvonne Bobo Memphis, TN

Ocotillo, Roundabout Howard Kalish El Paso, TX

Aluminum Yucca

Gordon Huether Albuquerque, NM

Moving Down the Line

Ralph Helmick Fort Worth, TX

Carol Deforest Memphis, TN

Any - Angled Light Bear Canyon Arroyo Bridge

Untitled (Glass Window)

Caloosahatchee Manuscripts (Lux)

Untitled

Linnaea Tillett Albuquerque, NM

Jim Sanborn Fort Myers, FL

art architecture + history in the public realm

Ed Carpenter Portland, OR

Kendall Buster Arlington, VA

Showing the Way: Tillie K. Fowler Memorial L. Brower Hatcher Jacksonville, FL

Coney Island Parachute Jump Leni Schwendinger New York, NY

Strange Attractor for Kansas City

Alice Aycock Kansas City, MO

SunFlowers, An Electric Garden

Mags Harries + Lajos Heder Austin, TX

The Traveling ManWaiting on a Train

Brad Oldham + Brandon Oldenburg Dallas, TX

Blur Building

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Yverdon Les Bains, Switzerland


SHOP TALK INTERVIEW

Things Fall Apart

Art conservator Robert Lodge discusses his work on public sculptures BY JOSEPH HART

SHOP TALK

Robert Lodge: The most common problem we see is in the process: It’s a basic lack of understanding that maintenance is required with a commission. That’s usually how we end up involved in these restoration contracts—it’s maintenance catch-up, or problems that come from a lack of maintenance. PAR: So you’re saying there should be a maintenance plan from the outset? RL: Yes, maintenance needs to be part of the funding of a commission. Not long ago, the federal government established a peer review process when commissioning an artwork, and there are various stages of review, including a technical review. About five years ago, they started placing conservators on those panels to address safety and maintenance issues. We’ve been able to influence the materials and construction. That’s going to correct a lot of the problems we face from the past. PAR: What are some of those problems? RL: It’s as diverse as the materials used. It could be deteriorating

glaze on tile, or corrosion on stainless steel, or fountains. Anything involving water takes sometimes weekly maintenance or they fail. Take the monumental abstract art of the 1970s and ’80s. These were often painted steel sculptures, and they are costly items to maintain because of the necessity to do repainting. Also because steel can’t take constant wet. We just removed a steel piece to the lab that was corroded through, with holes right through the metal. That artist didn’t recognize that steel can’t take standing water. Coatings are another major problem. There were many fabricators who did superb shopwork but fell short in the coatings. One commission, there was no review of process—they accepted the artist’s design and the sculpture was made from milled steel with paint on it. Well that’s simply not going to last long. Proper surface preparation involves abrasive blasting. In an aggressive urban environment, it’ll get scratched.

Photo courtesy McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory, Inc.

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What happens to public artworks after the ribbon-cutting ceremony is over, the press flashbulbs have dimmed, and the artists and their contractors have moved on to the next project? Of course, everyone hopes the piece becomes a beloved icon of the public it serves. Loved or loathed, however, public artworks suffer the same fate as every other element in the built environment: They begin to fall apart. Few professionals know this better than Robert Lodge. In 1997, Lodge and his colleagues at McKay Lodge Conservation Lab received their first contract with the General Services Administration to fix problems with the nation’s collection of public artworks—a collection that includes thousands of works in hundreds of locations, including courthouses and other federal properties all across the country. It’s work that’s kept his firm busy ever since. Lodge specializes in sculpture, and the GSA sculptures include a range of works—some of them as old as this country, some commissioned during the Great Depression, and others dating since the federal percent-for-art program, which began in the early 1970s. We wanted to hear about some of the issues that crop up after a public artwork has been on the ground for a decade or more. We reached Lodge at his office. Public Art Review: Are there any kind of general problems that you face, or is it really a case-by-case situation?


SHOP TALK

PAR: How does an artist get educated on those types of materials?

problems. There’s no way around it, because they are one-offs.

RL: Artists are working with fabricators, and the number and range of sophistication of fabricators is incredible. A lot of potential problems are stopped in the work between the artist and the fabricator because of the sophistication of these firms.

PAR: So how do you keep up with it?

RL: We’ve been engaged a number of times as a third party to review the artists’ materials. But conservators are diverse in their materials. Let’s say someone is fabricating something from stainless steel and other non-metal items. There are just too many specialists they would have to turn to. Fiber-reinforced polymers have their own set of problems. It’s a lot for a fabricator or artist using diverse materials to keep in touch with. If you think of an artwork as a product—well, product manufacturers have mastered the technology that goes into their product. They can afford to do that because of the scale. But the artwork is a one-off for the artist. There will always be unforeseen

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IN MEMORIAM

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PAR: Would it make sense to consult a conservator?

RL: We keep up with trade publications in corrosion, concrete repair. We read blogs, listservs on adhesives and metals. We really try to keep up with all the materials industries that we’re aware of. I don’t read art philosophy; I read about preventing corrosion in sewer pipes, for example, and translate that into situations I might encounter in a public artwork. It’s also very important for us to work with industry. For example, the colorful fiberglass sculptures of Luis Jiménez are all over the U.S. They’re essentially fiberglass and resins built into molds, painted with automobile paint, and clear coated. And they’re fading. We’re now working with PPG Industries because they found out we were trying to deal with this old color and ethically redo those surfaces. They got extremely interested and this month they are sending technical teams to train us, as though we were an auto shop, in using high-end coatings. They’re even installing a paintmixing machine.

The American sculptor Walter De Maria, who was at the vanguard of four major movements in twentieth-century art—minimalism, conceptual art, land art, and installation art—recently died at age 77. De Maria literally left his mark on the globe with permanent installations such as The Lightning Field (1977), a grid in western New Mexico of 400 stainless steel poles averaging 20½ feet in height, and The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977), a solid brass rod one kilometer long that was driven into the earth in Kassel, Germany, so that only its top is visible. The Dia Art Foundation, which finances and maintains those two works, also underwrites the display of two permanent indoor installations: The New York Earth Room (1977), a Soho loft filled with 22 inches of earth; and The Broken Kilometer (1979), also in Soho, which consists of 500 two-meter brass rods arranged in perfect rows. Repeated geometric shapes were a recurring motif in De Maria’s career, which spanned more than half a century and often explored principles of measuring and numbering. Born in Albany, California, in 1935, De Maria studied history and painting at the University of California–Berkeley, and participated in so-called “happenings” in San Francisco’s avant-garde scene. Moving to New York City in 1960, De Maria continued to participate in happenings and also exhibited minimalist wood sculptures. His first solo exhibition was at the Paula Johnson Gallery, whose owner later became better known as the art dealer Paula Cooper. Early in his career, De Maria also gained the admiration of another prominent art dealer, Heiner Friedrich, who became a major patron when he founded the Dia Art Foundation in New York. De Maria was also a percussionist who joined the musicians’ union at age 16 and later performed with a band called the Primitives, which would evolve into the Velvet Underground.

Photo by Anna Ghublikian.

Photo by Angelika Platen. © Copyright bpk, Berlin / Art Resource, NY.

Walter De Maria (1935–2013)


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Percent-for-art commissions may represent the official, professionalized face of public art, but beyond the plaza—in neighborhoods, back streets, and vacant lots; in suburban hinterlands, rural villages, and remote virtual realms—another kind of art has been taking shape, one that questions the very nature and experience of the commons. Driven by artists, curators, and nonprofit organizations, these independent projects treat public space as more than an outdoor gallery. Whether temporary or permanent, guerrilla or sanctioned, object or action, such works invite us to imagine alternative ways of seeing and being while opening up new possibilities for individual and collective consciousness. When we enter their domain, public space becomes a site of resistance, a stage on which to enact experimental scenarios, and a catalyst for action—a place of both art and life.

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SOAP BOX

Calling All Citizen Artists

Announcing the launch of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture BY ARLENE GOLDBARD and ADAM HOROWITZ

Illustration courtesy the artists.

4. Culture is the sum total of public, private, individual, and collective action. We must create a healthy arts ecology in which no sector dominates or controls cultural expression or access to cultural resources.

1. Culture is a human right. As expressed in the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community.” It is our sacred duty to remove impediments to the exercise of this right and to ensure that the means to exercise this right are available to all.

5. The work of artists is a powerful resource for community development, education, health care, protection of our commonwealth, and other democratic public purposes. Indeed, artists’ skills of observation, improvisation, innovation, resourcefulness, and creativity enhance all human activity. We advocate complete integration of arts-based learning in public and private education at all levels. We advocate public service employment for artists and other creative workers as a way to accomplish social good, address unemployment, and strengthen social fabric. We support artists who place their gifts at the service of community, equity, and social change. Meanwhile, anyone can step up as a Citizen Artist, calling on the indispensable tools of human aliveness—song, dance, story, ritual, the sharing of food around a central fire—to realign our social, economic, political, and environmental systems with justice and sustainability. In shared spaces of creation, exchange, and reflection we reinforce our belonging to a larger community, to our roots, and to the future we make. We widen our circle of care and enable our collective survival and thriving. Today, I invite you to join this new people-powered Department —to take a stand for cultural democracy by setting up your own Field Office and mobilizing other Citizen Artists in making creativity-based social change a community norm. Together, we launch the USDAC, based on the truth that culture is our most powerful and underused resource for social change. Together, we spark a movement dedicated to cultivating equity, empathy, and social transformation through creative cultural action. Join us in deploying the resilience, resourcefulness, and imagination of artists at their best. Cultural Agent, the USDAC wants you! Visit usdac.us to sign up.

2. Culture is created by everyone. The art, customs, creative expressions, and social fabric of every community and heritage contribute to the vibrancy and dynamism of our common culture. Our cultural institutions and policies should reflect this, rather than privileging favorites.

ARLENE GOLDBARD is a writer, speaker, consultant, and activist. You can read her blog, download talks and videos, and learn about her two recent books—The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & the Future and The Wave—at www.arlenegoldbard.com.

3. Cultural diversity is a social good and the wellspring of free expression. Its support and protection require equitable distribution of public resources, particularly to correct past injustices and balance an excess of commercialization.

ADAM HOROWITZ is a writer, performer, consultant, and instigator of arts and social change projects. He is currently co-executive director of Bowery Arts + Science, and an Artist Fellow at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics at NYU.

23 SOAP BOX

In this era of broken systems—health care, energy, education, economy—citizens must imagine and create better alternatives that are aligned with humane values and needs. To build this capacity for co-creation, it is imperative that we provide universal access to empowering creative experiences that build empathy and social imagination. We must encourage creative risk-taking. You have shown us the way. You’ve danced, sung, painted, performed, and celebrated. You’ve turned abandoned warehouses into thriving cultural centers, co-created public artworks that revitalize entire neighborhoods, built pop-up libraries and taken to the streets with border-defying cultural festivals. You’ve shown the power of community collaboration in making more just, sustainable, and joyful places to live. You’ve allowed us to glimpse a future that honors creative expression and cultural belonging. By making something beautiful out of very little, you have shown just how much we’ve been missing by failing to invest in our stories, our rituals, our capacity to collaborate, and our bursting creative souls. For too long, we’ve believed that everything that counts can be counted. We have ignored the vital role that arts and culture play in advancing equity, innovation, and democracy. For this, I offer an apology. And I also offer an invitation. Today, we start to close the gap. Today, it is my great pleasure and honor to announce the launch of the United States Department of Arts and Culture. This new Department will cultivate the public interest in art and culture and catalyze art and culture in the public interest. It holds the following truths to be self-evident:

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PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT— U.S. Secretary of Arts and Culture, October 5, 2013, Syracuse, N.Y.


SUPPORT 35 YEARS OF FORECASTING PUBLIC ART As one of the founders of Forecast Public Art, I’m proud when I look back at what we’ve done. Back in the late 1970s, Forecast began as a “gallery without walls,” organizing outdoor sculpture exhibitions, vacant storefront installations, and a wide variety of experimental projects around the Twin Cities. In 1989 we published the first issue of Public Art Review and began an annual grant program for emerging Minnesota artists exploring the public realm. Over the years we’ve funded and helped several hundred artists and published thousands of articles and essays about new work, critical issues, and the growing field of public art. Forecast’s efforts have helped fuel this growth—nationally and internationally—and nurtured new generations of artists working collaboratively in and with communities. Today we’re bringing teaching artists into classrooms to engage young people in co-creating art in their communities, and our growing online presence has offered useful resources to leaders in urban, suburban, and rural communities, as well as developing countries. If you believe Forecast’s 35 years as a leader in this complex and challenging field is a special occasion worth recognizing, and that Public Art Review is an essential resource for artists, developers, designers, city planners, and educators, I need you to stand with our supporters and make a special, personal gift to Forecast Public Art. There’s no doubt that our success over the past 35 years is the due to the generous and caring support of people who share our passion for public art—people who share our belief that public art is visible evidence of our common humanity. On behalf of all the people who do an incredible job here at Forecast and the dozens of individuals who make each issue of Public Art Review possible, I ask you to join our family of donors by making a tax-deductible gift today. If you do so before the end of 2013, your gift will be matched by a $35,000 challenge gift we received from a very kind and generous donor. Thank you for making a special gift in celebration of our 35 years of forecasting public art!

Jack Becker Publisher, Public Art Review Executive Director, Forecast Public Art forecastpublicart.org

Forecast’s Open Space/ Open Bar and Public Art Scrambler events offer informal opportunities for hundreds of artists, public art coordinators, architects, and developers to network, share ideas, and connect.

HIGHLIGHTS Forecast Public Art founded in 1978. Forecast collaborates with educators and teaching artists to create vibrant and memorable public art experiences for young people. During two years of programming, the program reached over 300 students.

Public Art Review is read in print by thousands of people each year, not including more than 3,000 who read Public Art Review online every month!


“The McKnight Foundation values the many paths of opportunity that Forecast has paved over thirty-five years for all its partners, especially artists, in moving forward the importance of public art in our communities.” —Vickie Benson, Arts Program Director, The McKnight Foundation

Rick Lowe

“Anyone interested in what’s going on in public art needs to have Public Art Review nearby. For years it’s been my source for keeping up with what’s happening in the field around the world.” —Rick Lowe, Artist

“Forecast has brought global attention to public art. They have offered a forum for a broad discussion from many different disciplines of how critically important public art is to the quality of life in our cities.” —Weiming Lu, President (retired), St. Paul Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation Candy Chang

“Public Art Review is THE magazine for lovers of art and public space. It inspires me, comforts me, and has helped me become part of a global community of people exploring so many ways our public spaces can help improve our lives.” —Candy Chang, Artist

Since 1989, 450 emerging and mid-career artists have received Forecast’s planning or project grants, funded by Jerome Foundation and The McKnight Foundation.

HIGHLIGHT CREDITS Previous Page: 1. Gordon Parks High School students working on Objects of Home billboard project, 2012. Photo by Forecast. 2. Photo of Public Art Scrambler by John Pocklington. 3. Connection, at the Indianapolis Airport, by Cameron McNall and Damon Seeley of Electroland. Featured on the cover of Public Art Review #41, 2008. Photo courtesy the artists. This Page: 1. Peloton, by grantee Janaki Ranpura, for the Northern Spark Festival. Photo by Bruce Silcox. 2012. 2. Mel Chin in New Orleans with his Safe House, launching the Fundred Dollar Bill Project, 2010. Featured in Public Art Review #40. Photo courtesy the artist. 3: Joel Sisson’s Green Chair Project featured 1,000 youth-made chairs on the Minnesota State Capitol lawn for one day. Facilitated by Forecast’s consulting program, 1995. Photo by Paul Shambroom. 4. Forecast Public Art Library. Photo by Forecast. 5. Echoing Voices billboard on University Avenue in St. Paul, Minn., by grantee Kao Lee Thao, 2009. Photo by Forecast.

Since 1995, Forecast’s consulting program has impacted communities across the U.S. and in several foreign countries. On average, Public Art Review features as many as 15 articles by or about internationally renowned thought-leaders and advocates of public art.

Over the past 35 years, Forecast has helped to bring forth more than 400 public art projects. In addition to its massive database of artists working in the public realm, Forecast’s resources include thousands of books, DVDs, slides, and CDs.


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Water Works


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Nine artist-driven projects that are transforming watersheds —and communities BY KEITH GOETZMAN


BRIGHTWATER TREATMENT PLANT KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON Artists: T. Ellen Sollod, Buster Simpson, Jann Rosen-Queralt

PREVIOUS PAGE: Water Molecule by Buster Simpson stands at the main entrance to Brightwater Treatment Plant. ABOVE: Jim Blashfield’s Circulator includes seven high-definition video screens, audio, LCD screens, galvanized and painted steel, and glass. BELOW: Collection and Transformation by T. Ellen Sollod is located at Brightwater’s Education & Community Center.

PREVIOUS PAGE: Photo by Jon Kamita. TOP: Photo by Elizabeth Stewart. BOTTOM: Photo by Benjamin Benschneider.

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Why did artists help design and decorate a new wastewater treatment plant in the Seattle area? Because it’s the law. A King County ordinance actually specifies that artists be involved early and often in community infrastructure projects. “The commitment of King County to engage artists early in the process is unique, I believe,” says artist T. Ellen Sollod, who was involved in the planning of the $1.8 billion Brightwater Treatment Plant since before its site was chosen. Sollod and fellow artists Buster Simpson and Jann Rosen-Queralt developed the art master plan for the project and served on the design team, commissioning artworks and acting as mentors and resources to other artists. The result is a water treatment facility that has elements of art, design, science, engineering, and ecology woven into it. Most of the acreage is open to the public, creating a sense of community ownership unusual, to say the least, for what we used to call a sewage plant. On the grounds is a salmon stream restoration, while inside are artworks such as one by Jane Tsong that “blesses” the water as it moves through the facility, and another by Sollod that references the beneficial microorganisms that clean water.


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WATERWASH ABC

TOP/BOTTOM: Photos by Lillian Ball.

BRONX, NEW YORK CITY Artist: Lillian Ball

TOP: The crew from Rocking the Boat, a local nonprofit, visiting Waterwash ABC in 2013. Youth from Rocking the Boat helped plant the banks of the Bronx River in 2011. BELOW: Waterwash ABC serves as a stormwater wetland park; runoff from a parking lot is filtered before returning to the river.

Lillian Ball’s project Waterwash ABC in the Bronx sets itself apart from a lot of public art. For one thing, it’s eminently functional, capturing polluted runoff from a large parking lot and diverting it to a wetland-grassland complex before returning it to the Bronx River. For another, it’s an artist-driven project, conceived and executed by Ball and her collaborators, rather than having the artist tacked on at the end of a grant-making process. “The paradigm is very different,” says Ball. The public can engage with the piece by strolling a handsome, decorative walkway to a viewing area perched above the catchment and the river. Ball enlisted the neighborhood’s help in creating the project, working with youth from local nonprofit Rocking the Boat as well as an excavator, a hydrologist, and scientists. Ball coined the term waterwash for a previous water-filtering project. The ABC comes from the name of the business located at the site, ABC Carpet, which contributed to the project mostly by allowing its parking lot to be cleaned up. Now that the construction is complete, Ball is keeping the community involved through a series of programs at the site, including concerts and dance performances. She revels in the ongoing feedback from the youth volunteers who helped with tasks including planting. “They post on Facebook,” says Ball, “saying things like, ‘Look how our babies are doing!’”


RIVERS RUN THROUGH US SANTA FE RIVER, NEW MEXICO Artists: Bobbe Besold, Valerie Martinez, Dominique Mazeaud

LEFT: Artists Bobbe Besold, Valerie Martinez, and Dominique Mazeaud at the Santa Fe River in La Bajada, New Mexico, at the end of the fourth day of their walk in May 2012. RIGHT, top to bottom: At Willow Wishes workshops—part of the Rivers Run Through Us project—participants created wishes for the river through story, visual art, and collaborative poetry. Each participant wrote their wishes on strips of blue fabric and tied them to willows, which were then planted along the Santa Fe River bed with the help of the WildEarth Guardians River team. Today these willows are thriving.

LEFT: Photo by Paul Resnick. RIGHT: Photos by Bobbe Besold.

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When Bobbe Besold and her fellow artists Valerie Martinez and Dominique Mazeaud teamed up for a community engagement project centered around the ecologically troubled Santa Fe River in New Mexico, they knew where to begin: at the beginning. Early in the process, they undertook a five-day walking pilgrimage along the 46-mile river, from its protected mountain headwaters in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, through its urban stretches, and to its mouth at the Rio Grande. The Santa Fe is so heavily tapped by the city of Santa Fe that it often runs dry in lower stretches, but during the artists’ hike it was flowing vigorously from spring snowmelt. Besold recalls the trio being joyously greeted by a group of local homeschooled children and their parents—and the same day being accused of trespassing (they weren’t) by residents of a private community. The two reactions embodied different relationships with the river, says Besold: one of collective stewardship and one of private ownership. The walk and the insights it produced helped lay the groundwork for a vibrant community engagement project. The artists created poetry and art installations, staged performances, gathered stories and testimonials. They helped schoolchildren make and launch paper boats with wildflower seeds in them and teamed with classes for other science and art projects. Besold credits the Santa Fe environmental group WildEarth Guardians as early supporters and donors in Rivers Run Through Us, a project of the arts nonprofit Littleglobe that was funded by grants and donations of many sizes. Besold considers it a success for raising “an awareness that we are connected through this living, physical being, the river.”


EMSCHERKUNST.2013 EMSCHER RIVER, RUHR, GERMANY Various artists

TOP/BOTTOM: Photos courtesy Roman Mensing/Emscherkunst.2013.

ABOVE: Tue Greenfort’s Clarification in the former wastewater plant “Little Emscher” in DuisburgFahrn. BELOW: Greenfort’s project includes water samples from around the world.

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The Emscher River in the Ruhr region of western Germany was nearly engineered out of existence, having been turned into an open sewer that was dammed, channelized, and polluted by industry. A multiyear, multibillion-dollar project aims to return the Emscher to a more natural state, and the associated Emscherkunst art and culture exhibition celebrates this restoration every three years with artworks and events. Emscherkunst.2013, which took place from June through early October, billed itself as “an art discovery event,” encouraging not just gallery strolling but active outdoor exploration along the river. Attendees could bring or rent a bicycle to tour the six participating cities along a 50-mile route, and even spend a night in one of 1,000 small tents designed by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. The images, patterns, and text on the tents “are meant to evoke entirely different feelings than those associated with the former industry- and capitalism-oriented history of the region,” Ai explained to curator Florian Matzner. “It was important to create a colorful and carefree ambiance and, most importantly, not to leave a permanent mark on the land.”

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LIVING WATERS OF LARIMER PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA Artist: Betsy Damon

TOP: Photo by Liz Lee. BOTTOM: © Matt Graham.

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Larimer is not a rich neighborhood—in fact, it’s one of the poorer parts of Pittsburgh, riddled with residential and commercial vacancies. But the community is rich in rainwater, thanks to its position on a plateau in the relatively rainy city. Under the auspices of a project called Living Waters of Larimer, the people of Larimer are working to reclaim this resource for their own economic and aesthetic benefit. “This model would take the rainwater out of the hands of the municipality and place it into the hands of the citizens,” says Betsy Damon, who’s working on the project with fellow environmental artist Bob Bingham, who teaches at Carnegie Mellon University. Rather than allowing the water to run off the plateau and disappear into the pipes and buried waterways of the Pittsburgh storm water system, Damon and Bingham aim to collect and divert it to wetland and irrigation demonstrations, to cisterns for use in gardens or businesses, perhaps to an aquaponics greenhouse or a water park. This “integrated rainwater catchment infrastructure” is another way to say “using every last drop.” The project just got a boost from a $250,000 Heinz Endowments grant, allowing Damon and Bingham, along with collaborators the Larimer Green Team and the Kingsley Association, to forge ahead. “Just having a community that would actually own their rainwater— it’s radical in the United States,” she says with a laugh. “You know, governments own the rainwater.”


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ABOVE: These site photos, part of Pittsburgh’s Living Larimer project in the Larimer neighborhood, are for projects by Lazae LaSpina, a local artist, and Azhar Leeton, for a permaculture art park and medicinal garden. OPPOSITE PAGE TOP: Betsy Damon is working with the local community center, the Kingsley Association, and the Larimer Green Team to have individuals from the community participate in the conceptualization, planning, and execution of Living Larimer. BOTTOM: Matt Graham of Landbased Systems mapped storm water flow and ideal areas for infrastructure projects in the Larimer neighborhood.

“Just having a community that would actually own their rainwater—it’s radical in the United States.”

Map by Lazae LaSpina.

—Betsy Damon


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TURN TO THE RIVER

Like many mid-American cities, Terre Haute, Indiana, was built on a river that it then turned its back on. For decades, development, industry, and pollution left the Wabash inaccessible and often ignored—until recently. The city termed 2013 “The Year of the River,” and the Terre Haute–based nonprofit Art Spaces Inc. launched its ongoing Turn to the River project. Both initiatives aim to reconnect residents with the Wabash River on the west side of downtown. “Everyone is talking about the river now,” says Mary Kramer, executive director of Art Spaces. Art Spaces helped foster the conversation by meeting with 34 stake-holding organizations, holding three public meetings, and issuing a public survey about ways to breathe new life into the riverfront and the adjacent downtown. They’re focusing initial efforts on a government plaza and a park near the river. This work on the east side of the river is complemented on the west by a recently reestablished 2,400-acre wetland called Wabashiki. Says Kramer, “It is unusual to have this at a city’s edge, so easily accessible and perhaps keeping us honest as we rethink the development along the river on the east side.” The work has been fueled by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the city’s Department of Redevelopment, and local colleges and universities. Art Spaces plans to release a draft plan in July 2014. “There are a lot of good reasons for us to get involved with the river,” says Kramer, “not the least of which is that there are many outstanding artists working in the public realm that are doing fabulous works and helping to solve problems for communities.”

ABOVE: Residents of Terre Haute, Ind., are studying ways to connect the downtown and the Wabash River through public art and design. Here, Jennifer Hale, principal of J3 Concepts, points out downtown features during a Turn to the River planning session. CENTER: Looking down on Terre Haute, a city of 60,000 people that became largely disconnected from the river during the last century. TOP: The area between downtown and the river that’s being studied through Turn to the River is outlined in red. The project, which received an Our Town grant, involves multiple artists.

TOP/CENTER: Photos by Brendan Kearns. BOTTOM: Photo courtesy Terre Haute Tribune-Star.

TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA Various artists


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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Schematic design for The Fargo Project. Runoff travels through a channel. A detention basin when empty, site of The Fargo Project. A basin when filled with water.

THE FARGO PROJECT

TOP: Photos by Jackie Brookner. BOTTOM LEFT: Photo by Nicole Crutchfield. BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by Loretta Cantieri.

FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA Artist: Jackie Brookner In recent decades, as Fargo, North Dakota, has been ravaged by floods, engineers built a series of broad storm water detention basins throughout the city. During heavy rain or runoff, the earthen basins offer insurance against catastrophe—but the rest of the time they sit empty, vast and featureless depressions that divide neighborhoods. Enter artist Jackie Brookner, who with Fargo city planner Nicole Crutchfield is working with technicians and residents to put the basins to additional use in the Fargo Project. Planned for the first 18-acre site are prairie restoration projects, community gardens, walking trails, play areas, an overlook, and a wetland that will hold and naturally filter water. The project is a natural fit for Brookner’s background in artworks

that remediate polluted urban waters, and for Crutchfield’s grounding in landscape architecture, natural resources, and city government. Fargo’s many diverse communities were included in the planning process. “We wanted to engage people, especially people who usually don’t have a voice,” says Brookner, noting that it would have been faster and easier to make a few token outreach efforts than to have the “honest and rich” community involvement they’ve chosen. Brookner acknowledges that it’s the most complex project she’s ever worked on. “It’s slow design, like slow food,” she says. “It’s not simple and straightforward, it’s messy and complicated. But the rewards are so enormous that it’s worth it.”

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PENINSULA, MEGA DUNES, AND BARRIER ISLANDS NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK Artist: Agnes Denes

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ABOVE: Agnes Denes’s plan includes forest and shrubs to stabilize the dune system and public art. BELOW: Possible positioning of barrier islands around the Rockaways and the New York Harbor.

Never one to shy away from big ideas, Denes has envisioned her most ambitious undertaking yet.

Illustrations courtesy Agnes Denes.

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Agnes Denes subtitled her best-known work, a wheat field grown in conferences in Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto, and London, about downtown Manhattan, “A Confrontation.” Her latest work-in-prog- global warming, climate change, and the ramifications and pitfalls of ress is also a confrontation—this time with the effects of climate geo-engineering,” says Denes. change. Ever ambitious, Denes wants to create a peninsula, barrier She’s already working with scientists on a “proto-dune” for islands, and what she terms “mega dunes” off the New York coast to one Rockaways neighborhood that will be stabilized by rock protect the shore from battering mega storms. and plantings of pines, sand grasses, and other vegetation. Never one to shy away from big ideas, Denes has envisioned her “It will become a coastal ecosystem,” she says, as well as a barrier most ambitious undertaking yet. The project, if realized, would cost to high water. millions if not billions and involve a host of expert collaborators Denes expects resistance but faces it with her characteristic resolve. including scientists, geologists, and oceanographers. Denes says it’s “The interference with a project of this magnitude is expected to be the culmination of a lifetime of experience. as strong as the ocean waves,” says Denes. “I am used to being on the “I actually began this work forty years ago speaking at global edge and going against the tide—well, here happens to be the ocean.”


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WATER TOWER

Photo by Brad J. Goldberg.

ADDISON, TEXAS Artist: Brad Goldberg Both air and water figure into the concept behind Brad Goldberg’s water tower design for the city of Addison, Texas. The water tank seems to have been sliced in half like an onion, and atop the flat surface stand eight spiral-shaped vertical-axis wind turbines. “I believe in trying to multitask in my work,” says Goldberg, who worked with a renewable energy consultant and the Freese and Nichols architecture and engineering firm on the project. “Since a water tower was going to be built that would stand 200 feet in the air, it seemed like a plausible idea to capture the wind and use it as a sculptural component.”

The water tank’s 1.5 million gallon capacity meets the town’s needs, while the 5-kilowatt turbines generate more power than the water facility uses, making it a “net zero” energy project. To observers out and around in Addison, the whirring blades add new interest to the skyline. “It can be seen from a pretty good distance, and to see all of the turbines spinning at the same time is very kinetic and beautiful,” Goldberg says. KEITH GOETZMAN is a Minnesota-based writer and editor who covers the arts and the environment.


Trash to Treasure Conceptual projects imagine a renewable future for the world’s biggest junkyard BY JOE HART PUBLIC ART REVIEW | VOL. 25 | NO. 1 | ISSUE 49 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

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he Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island was one of the more dubious pen-strokes of New York’s “master builder,” Robert Moses, in 1948. The idea: Take the garbage from New York City, dump it into an unbuildable wetland for a few years, and then develop the trash heap into residential or industrial zones. Fifty-three years later, the last barge schlepped its last load of trash. By then, Fresh Kills was not only earth’s biggest garbage dump, but also the largest man-made structure on the planet, surpassing in volume even the 5,500-mile Great Wall of China. Since its closure in 2001, however, Fresh Kills has made a startling transformation from junk heap to public park—a green canvas three times the size of Central Park. The trash has been sealed and contained; wildlife areas and wetlands restored; and trails and recreational spaces established. The park’s master plan, created by the New York City planning department in collaboration with other city and state departments, envisions a scope far grander than environmental restoration and outdoor recreation. Freshkills Park will serve as “a leading site for ecological research, renewable energy installations, sustainably designed educational and cultural facilities, and large public artworks,” according to planning department documents. A neatly overlapping incarnation of this vision took place in 2012 in the form of a competition sponsored by the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), a project of the Pittsburgh-based Society for Cultural Exchange. LAGI’s mission, in a nutshell, is to design and build public artworks that are also public utilities —works that generate power and feed it into the public utility grid. The initiative was created by the husband and wife team of Robert Ferry, an architect, and Elizabeth Monoian, an interdisciplinary artist and designer who is founder and director of the

Society for Cultural Exchange. For Freshkills Park, LAGI challenged the international art com munity to design site-specific pieces for the former landfill. Of the more than 200 entries, 65, including the competition shortlist and winners, are profiled in Regenerative Infrastructures: Freshkills Park, NYC, a book released by LAGI. (The rest can be viewed on LAGI’s website.) The following pages highlight a few of the innovative—and beautiful—conceptual art/energy projects. SCENE-SENSOR// CROSSING SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL FLOWS James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze—Atlanta, Ga. The project winning first place is Scene-Sensor, a huge “channel screen” mounted on a bridge spanning a Freshkills waterway. Sited where the winds are strongest, the structure catches and captures the energy of the prevailing winds. The work is composed of small panels of reflective metal mesh that open and shut depending on the wind. The energy comes from piezoelectric minerals that generate

TOP: Illustration courtesy James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze. BELOW: Photo by Joanna Totolici.

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electricity under pressure. (The same technology is put to use in the sparkers that light backyard gas barbeque grills.) For viewers—either watching from a distance or passing inside the structure—the shifting shiny patterns create a pixelated image of real-time wind conditions.

TOP: Illustration courtesy James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze. BOTTOM: Illustration courtesy Elcin Ertugrul, Kathrine Moya, Carlos Alegria, and Joaquin Boldrini.

OPPOSITE TOP: Scene–Sensor//Crossing Social and Ecological Flows by James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze. OPPOSITE BELOW: Land Art Generator Initiative founders Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry. RIGHT: Scene–Sensor interior. BELOW: Cloudfield by Elcin Ertugrul, Kathrine Moya, Carlos Alegria, and Joaquin Boldrini.

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SOLAR LOOP Gilberto Bonelli, Alessandro Balducci, Rocco Vanantines, Mario Emanuele Salini, Pietro Bodria (Paolo Venturella / MenoMenoPiu Architects)—Paris, France This clever and monumental sculpture is a photovoltaic collector designed to catch the optimal solar rays throughout the day. Essentially a huge solar panel built as a twisted loop, Solar Loop is a futuristic structure that catches the eye as much as the sun. The exterior is clad in a shiny skin that mirrors the landscape. The structure doubles as an arena for performances.

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(ROBO)ZOO: STIMULATING A MECHANICAL ECOLOGY Natalie Snyder, Dyani Robarge, Rizamay Sagenes, Lisa Tilder —Columbus, Ohio The whimsical (Robo)ZOO creates an artificial ecosystem of extinct Staten Island plants and animals that interact with one another and with visitors to the park. The plants generate electricity with photovoltaic technology; the animals consume the energy in order to power their mechanical jaunts across the parkland. The concept conjures the fanciful clockwork machinery of the past, as well as a kind of light-hearted postmodern Roboworld.

CLOUDFIELD Elcin Ertugrul, Kathrine Moya, Carlos Alegria, Joaquin Boldrini —New York City Cloudfield is a particularly beautiful natural solution for Freshkills. Made from woven bamboo and supported on stilts, the clouds hold a variety of natural vegetation, as well as solar panels. The structures provide shade, habitat for animals, and regenerative compost as they decay in autumn. Eventually, they biodegrade entirely, adding to the soil. Each “cloud” is shaped to perform a given function, such as rainwater collection or habitat.

ELECTRIC MEADOW Andrea Legge, R. Murray Legge AIA, Debora Eve Lewis (Legge Lewis Legge); Jaime A. Castro—New York City; Austin, Texas; Houston, Texas Many of the LAGI submissions created power-generating works that imitate natural processes. Electric Meadow is the most elegantly simple of these “biomimicking” designs. The piece consists of a network of tall iron rods designed to sway in the breeze like meadow grass. As the wind moves the sculpture, or birds perch on the rods, the resulting oscillation generates power through good old-fashioned copper-coil generators connected to the base of each rod. Of all the entries, this one is the most powerful in its reminder that energy solutions need not be complex.

NAWT BALLOONS Thomas Kelley, Carrie Norman, Sarah Jazmine Fugate—Chicago, New York City It’s increasingly likely that the wind farm is a transitional technology. It massive scale, fossil-fuel inputs, and centralized coordination are straight out of the industrial revolution. NAWT Balloons turn the windmill on its head—or more specifically, on its side—by floating on helium and twisting in place and instead of circling vertically. Normal Axis Wind Turbines eliminate much of the steel and concrete required for the more conventional horizontal axis wind turbines. Grouped together, NAWT Balloons cluster into dance-like aerial formations. JOSEPH HART

is senior editor of Public Art Review.

TOP: Illustration courtesy Thomas Kelly, Carrie Norman, and Sarah Jazmine-Fugate.

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TOP: Illustration courtesy Paolo Venturella / MenoMenoPiu Architects. CENTER/BOTTOM: Illustrations courtesy Natalie Snyder, Dyani Robarge, Rizamay Sagenes, and Lisa Tilder.

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OPPOSITE LEFT: NAWT Balloons by Thomas Kelley, Carrie Norman, and Sarah Jazmine-Fugate. TOP: Solar Loop by Gilberto Bonelli, Alessandro Balducci, Rocco Vanantines, Mario Emanuele Salini, and Pietro Bodria (Paolo Venturella / MenoMenoPiu Architects). CENTER AND BOTTOM: (Robo)ZOO: Stimulating a Mechanical Ecology by Natalie Snyder, Dyani Robarge, Rizamay Sagenes, and Lisa Tilder.


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HOME MAKERS BY JEFF HUEBNER

Artists are involved in a wide range of projects focused on housing and neighborhoods


OPPOSITE/RIGHT: Photos by Eric Hester.

HOUSING AS ACTION In recent years, increasing numbers of artists have developed housing or assisted in its development. Among them are public artists, cultural producers, and activists who identify themselves as artists, and their body of work is both physical and theoretical, pragmatic and utopian. It blurs the boundaries of everyday life and public art, and it can be made of sculpture, objects, and architecture, as well as ideas, action, and education. This work also addresses some of the more persistent and perplexing issues of our time—poverty and privilege, homelessness and affordable housing, power and resistance, notions of public and private space. Such projects can be hard to differentiate from the work of architects or landscape architects, writes design historian Victor Margolin in the 2005 catalog to Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art. (The show included works like Michael Rakowitz’s paraSITES, portable, fold-up, tent-like structures for the homeless that can be inflated with waste heat vented from buildings.) Yet, Margolin continues, “Artists who call attention to social or environmental problems sometimes garner more notice and public interest than the people who are engaged directly with such problems.” One example is sculptor, urban planner, and activist Theaster Gates, who’s renovated a series of buildings on Chicago’s South Side —several on his own block—and transformed them into spaces for artists, residencies, performances, and other communal and cultural activities. “I actually no longer use ‘art’ as a framing device,” he told

the New York Times’s Style magazine earlier this year. “I think I’m just kind of practicing things, practicing life, practicing creation. I’m making a café…and a café isn’t art necessarily. But if I were an entrepreneur, I would definitely do that differently.”

HOUSES AS PLACES OF RELATIONAL ART “Relational art” pioneer Rirkrit Tiravanija is the globetrotting Thai artist (currently in New York) best known for museum performances that involve preparing, serving, and sharing Thai food. But he’s also known for building architectural structures in spaces usually reserved for art viewing, transforming them into rooms for living, socializing, and performing. He’s said that his work is about bringing people together to participate in shared activities—to create a sense of community, however transient. In 1998, in an effort to reimagine that communalism on a vastly expanded, long-term scale, Tiravanija and fellow artist Kamin Lertchaiprasert helped acquire a 15-acre plot of land in northern Thailand. They called it The Land, which has been described by the Guggenheim Museum as an ongoing “collaborative artistic, architectural and environmental recovery project.” The Land Foundation was set up to manage it, though The Land isn’t technically owned by anyone. Over the years, Tiravanija has invited a dozen local and international architects and installation artists, including Tobias Rehberger, Philippe Parreno, and the Danish group SUPERFLEX—as well as local residents, activists, and students—to create housing structures, alternative energy systems, farms, and other projects, with the goal of developing an ecologically sustainable community. Anyone is invited to the cooperative space to help cultivate rice, pond-raised fish, and vegetables; food is donated to local villages. Some of the “houses” are made with renewable materials, like Markus Heinsdorff’s perpetually regrowing Living Dome, made of bamboo. The structures can be used for living as well as cooking, communing, instruction, discussion, and meditation. The Copenhagen-based N55 has taken the concept of “free” land even further. The noncommercial art and design collective is known for its experimental space-age modular home building systems, as

ABOVE/OPPOSITE: Rick Lowe bought row houses slated for demolition, then his art changed.

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ick Lowe, founder of Project Row Houses (PRH), was making billboard-sized political paintings in his Houston, Texas, studio in the 1980s when a visiting high school student challenged his work. As Lowe recounted to the New York Times in 2006, “If I was an artist, he said, why didn’t I come up with some kind of creative solution to issues instead of just telling people like him what they already knew. That was the defining moment that pushed me out of the studio.” In 1993, Lowe and other artists and community activists bought 22 shotgun-style houses slated for demolition on a two-block site in Houston’s Third Ward, among the city’s oldest—and poorest—African-American neighborhoods. With seed funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and other foundations, the activists transformed the row houses into a new form of socially engaged art. Since then, they have revitalized a blighted neighborhood—and preserved an historic one—with affordable housing for low-income residents, including artists and young mothers, and spaces for visiting artists, exhibitions, performances, and offices as well as a park and gardens. The group’s programs have involved local children, churches, schools, and community groups. More recently, PRH started a community development corporation to buy and renovate properties for mixed-income housing, artists’ spaces, and public uses to help slow gentrification in the adjacent Fourth Ward, another historically black neighborhood. PRH is among the earliest and best-known examples of creating community and housing through art. The project is not easy to categorize. Is it art? Development? Social do-gooding? The project’s public art director Ryan Dennis says PRH was doing “social practice” before anyone knew what it was or what to call it. “The important thing about Project Row Houses,” says Dennis, “is that we’re constantly trying to respond to the needs of the community.”

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ABOVE: Walking houses by the collaborative N55 harvest solar energy and rain and use a composting toilet system. TOP: Walking House (2009), a nomadic dwelling, can move 60 meters per hour. N55 Book that “people are encouraged to donate land they own to add up to a LAND, a global non-nation.”

HOUSES AS PLACES FOR FREE HOUSING Squatting—unauthorized occupation of an abandoned building —can be a political protest against (and practical solution to) policies that produce an abundance of vacant buildings but lack of affordable space. In the U.S., where the Occupy movement has refo-

LEFT/RIGHT: Photos by N55.

well as for making its manuals freely available on its website (n55. dk). In their project LAND, begun in 2000, property owners can register and title parcels of their land with N55, which then makes the “dis-used strips” available for free to anyone who wants to use them. There are at least 17 small plots of land throughout Europe and in the U.S., a single entity unified by the concept of open access. (Parcels are located via geographic coordinates and marked with steel “cairns.”) Calling the ownership of land “pernicious,” the group writes in its


HOUSES AS PLACES FOR COMMUNITY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, winner of the 2011 Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change, facilitates interactions among people in (and often about) public spaces. In the Blue House project, which ran from 2005 to 2009, she collaborated with architect Dennis Kaspori and artist Hervé Paraponaris to take a newly built three-story house in Amsterdam off the market for more than four years. They turned it

into an international center for community research, urban planning, and artistic and cultural activities, a place for exchange and dialogue about the surrounding planned neighborhood. The villa was part of IJburg, a new residential district begun in 1996 and still under construction on six artificial islands in an Amsterdam lake. When complete (any year now), the neighborhood will have 18,000 homes and 45,000 residents, with shops, schools, and restaurants; Block 35, the location of The Blue House, was one of the first finished sections. As van Heeswijk wrote in an essay about the project, the Netherlands’ tradition of centralized planning and large housing developments —“devised in the conference room and on the drawing board”—doesn’t allow residents to have input into the development of their living environments. Van Heeswijk invited artists, architects, designers, writers, and

ABOVE: The mobile Snail Shell Sytem 1 (2001) by N55 provides shelter that occupants can carry, roll, or row. N55 suggests tethering it to another vessel for water travel. The polyethylene unit can be hooked up to existing infrastructure for electricity. TOP: Snail Shell Sytem 2 (2001).

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cused attention on the practice, squatters include artists taking over and fixing buildings and activists occupying foreclosed homes. Many major European cities have squatting traditions dating to the 1960s; although it’s illegal in most countries, it’s legally protected in some places. (See, for example, Freetown Christiana, in Copenhagen.) More recently, according to the Squatting Europe Kollective, activists, anarchists, and anti-authoritarians of all kinds have created “social centers,” offering free shops, services, and culture. In 2004, the husband-and-wife team of Kim Kang and Kim Youn Hoan founded a collective called Oasis, a socially engaged squatting project. With a focus on artist spaces and access to urban space, the Kims, Seoul-based curators and artist-activists, have organized a series of “creative actions” at locations in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. These have included workshops on the history and mapping of squats, as well as actually occupying abandoned sites. While its actions didn’t always produce long-term results, Oasis’s initiatives educated and empowered community organizers and citizens to take control. Reached in Seoul, Kim Kang wrote that Oasis has folded into (the rent-paying) LAB39, a project space and focal point of the Mullae-dong “artist village” in the South Korean capital. The former foundry area is home to workers’ and artists’ squats, threatened with demolition.

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“an acceleration…of the process of developing a cultural history”

— Van Heeswijk

ABOVE: In the Blue House project (2005–2009), artists Jeanne Van Heeswijk and Hervé Paraponaris, along with architect Dennis Kaspori, repurposed a three-story house in Amsterdam into an international community center. It offered a space for dialogue about plans for the neighborhood, which will house 45,000 residents upon completion. The Blue House project included a cinema, which screened a documentary about the migration history of the community.


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scholars from around the world to work and sometimes live in the house for broken or continuous six-month periods. They engaged with IJburg residents and the public, devising ways to humanize the rigorously regulated zone. Discussions, debates, and design sessions fostered a participatory spirit among inhabitants. Many of the ideas generated were eventually implemented; these included a flower market, an outdoor theater, a children’s library and book exchange, community and youth centers, public gardens and landscaping, and boat and bike services. Van Heeswijk has called the project “an acceleration…of the process of developing a cultural history,” and indeed, a plaque now identifies the (now occupied) house as the first historical landmark in IJburg.

ABOVE: A book exchange library at The Blue House. TOP: The Blue House was kept off the real estate market for four years: 2005–2009. Many of the ideas generated there were instituted in the neighborhood.

And what are we to make of shelters, dwellings, domes, and homes— all manner of handmade human habitations and built environments— that blur the lines between public art and “organic” architecture? Designed and/or constructed by artists, builders, visionaries, or architects, these structures are unconventional yet functional and often combine aesthetics and ethics. The burgeoning design/build movement may be instructive. (In design/build, the same person or group provides both design and construction.) Examples include Rural Studio, an Auburn University program founded by the late Samuel Mockbee and based in largely black rural western Alabama; and Jersey Devil, a loose-knit group of renegade builders formed in the early 1970s. Their structures are rooted in socially responsible, if radical principles: They’ve built

PREVIOUS PAGES: Photo by Casper Rila. LEFT/TOP: Photos by Irene den Hartoog.

HOUSES AS WORKS OF COMMUNITY ART AND DESIGN


is a Chicago-based art writer and journalist who writes frequently on public art. He is co-author, with Olivia Gude, of Urban Art Chicago: A Guide to Community Murals, Mosaics, and Sculptures.

JEFF HUEBNER

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sui generis private homes, public buildings, and community amenities that are not only artful, and often sculptural, but also collaborative, eco-conscious, craft-oriented, site-sensitive, and, in some cases, downright funky. Jersey Devil’s founders—Steve Badanes, John Ringel, and Jim Adamson—attended architecture school but never got licensed. Fueled by countercultural ideals like those of the avant-garde utopian Ant Farm art/architecture group, they lived a nomadic existence for decades, sleeping on-site in tents and trailers as they built a number of whimsical structures across the country that challenged accepted notions of architecture. Badanes, who now leads students in the Neighborhood Design/ Build Studio at the University of Washington–Seattle, has given some thought to art/design divisions. (He’s married to the public artist Linda Beaumont, and their house has been a 15-year collaboration.) “We don’t consider design/build art,” he said. “If you do nice work, I guess it could go to the level of being art. But typically when it has a function—and many functional requirements—it becomes more design than art. The goal is to make it inspiring, and to make it beautiful.”

TOP/BOTTOM: Photos by Steve Badanes.

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ABOVE: Inspired by the Ant Farm art/architecture group, Jersey Devil built whimsical structures like Football House (1976) in Woodside, California. TOP: Jersey Devil’s Hoagie House in Northern Virginia (1987).


The New City-Makers

Six lessons public artists can teach us about how to make our cities better BY JOE HART

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THIS PAGE: Photo courtesy Service Center.

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omething strange is happening in our cities. Given the somber state of our economic, environmental, and social progress, one would expect cities to be in serious trouble. After all, a growing majority of the world’s population lives in them (84 percent in the United States, according to the last census), where they consume an ever-growing share of the world’s resources. It’s true that cities in the U.S. and abroad face a number of pressing problems. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is that in spite of these problems—or perhaps because of them—pockets of innovation and change are springing up like grass in the cracks of an abandoned parking lot. Take Indianapolis’s Service Center for Contemporary Culture and Community. Behind the big name is a simple but powerful idea: Turn a semi-abandoned Firestone tire outlet in a struggling shopping mall into a multi-use community center. It serves as an art gallery, workshop, meeting space, music venue, library, and community garden (complete with chickens) for the Lafayette Square neighborhood, a struggling and blighted—but ethnically diverse—first-ring suburb. “It’s an oasis among miles and miles of suburban pavement,” says Jim Walker, co-founder and executive director of Big Car, the organization behind the Service Center. “It’s a space for all these cultures from around the world who live in this neighborhood to celebrate their cultures.” It’s also temporary—the shopping mall agreed to the plan on the condition that if it found a good-paying tenant, it could dismantle the Service Center. Big Car describes itself as a “cultural organization,” and it began its life as an artist collective. This fact, too, is emblematic of some of the most interesting work going on in cities today: In many cases, the leaders of the kind of change-making efforts that are really making a difference are public artists.


ties, many owned by absentee investors from out of state. According to the rules, these vacant buildings must be boarded up by city contractors paid and trained to do the job. A Memphis project, 25 SQ public art initiative, however, paired citizen groups with public artists to tackle the work of boarding up abandoned houses. Local artists work with members of the com

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Artists have been involved in interventions and social practice on the scale of Big Car’s service center for decades or more. But it’s our view that the upsurge in such projects represents a fork in the road for the still-emerging field of public art. We’re not suggesting that bigbudget public art for new airports and hospitals is less valuable than the works of groups like Big Car. Nor do we expect large commissions to disappear. But when it comes to creative placemaking—and by that we mean innovative, relatively cheap, community-minded improvements in the fabric of the modern city—groups like Big Car lead the way. In putting this issue together, we at Public Art Review asked ourselves why and how such projects are coming together. Are there any kind of principles at work in innovative city-making? What common threads tie such works together? After more than a dozen interviews with practitioners, artists, and city planners and administrators, here are some tentative answers.

#1 Rule No. 1: Break the Rules

TOP/MIDDLE: Photos courtesy Service Center. BOTTOM: Photo by Christina Lanzl, UrbanArt Commission.

The last great attempt at city-making was New Urbanism, which bubbled up in the 1980s with a call for walkable, mixed-use urban development. While some New Urbanist principles (bike-friendly cities, for instance) have gained traction, the movement has bogged down, arguably because of its emphasis on central planning and revising codes—on inventing and enforcing new rules. The new city-makers, in contrast, are moving more tactically within the rules—or finding creative exceptions to the rules. In Memphis, for example, certain neighborhoods are plagued by abandoned proper-

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OPPOSITE PAGE: Inside the Service Center in Indianapolis, Ind. ABOVE: Service Center before (top) and after (middle) facelift by Big Car. BELOW: South Memphis residents paint panels that will be used to board up windows of abandoned homes in the area.


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munity to make murals on the boards, and contractors train everyday citizens on how to do the work. The project does more than prettify blighted property, says Dorian Spears, a project manager for the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, the city branch responsible for the program. 25 SQ empowers those with the biggest stake in the neighborhood—those who live there— to solve problems and take ownership. “Once people who live in the neighborhood know how to properly board and secure the home,” says Spears, “they won’t have to call in and say, ‘We need this done.’ They’ll call in and say, ‘We’ll take care of it.’” The success of 25 SQ points to another common thread among fruitful city-making projects—the willingness of city officials to try something new. “It’s the job of most city employees to say ‘no,’” says Stephen Zacks, the executive director of the Flint Public Art Project in Michigan. “There needs to be somebody there to say ‘yes.’”

#2 Use the power of the pop-up While there’s certainly value in permanent public art infrastructure projects—new parks, sculpture gardens, transit stops—the new citymakers are increasingly exploring transitory spaces that respond to ad hoc needs. In Flint, Michigan, for example, a large downtown parking lot has evolved into a public gathering space, home base for a classic car meetup, a 10k road race, an electronic music festival, and countless other events. “Given the fact that that parking lot was already being used as a de facto public space, I thought a pavilion could serve to bring attention to these events,” says Zacks. In collaboration with other local groups, including the Flint chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Zacks launched an international competition to design a temporary pavilion for the parking lot. Big Car’s Service Center in Indianapolis takes a similar approach, occupying the building until a retail tenant comes along. “Because we came in here temporarily, we can use a lighter, quicker, cheaper approach,” says Walker. “We’re not spending a lot of money to remodel it. We’re making do with what we have.” Interventions like these aren’t concerned with permanently altering the built environment but with cultivating a culture of engagement. In Flint, Zacks points out that the vibrancy of the parking lot serves as a counter-narrative to the gloomy perceptions typically associated with Flint. “It’s outside of the cultural narrative that people have about the city,” he says. By promoting the pavilion—the winning Flat Lot Pavilion design was by Two Islands—he’s helping to change that narrative. “Flint is a city that is incredibly active in terms of civic activity and cultural events—despite the economic woes.”

#3 Don’t follow the money —let it follow you Before the economic collapse, Wiard Sterk focused on large-scale public art projects linked to major urban developments, like the Cardiff Bay waterfront redevelopment in Wales—a £650 million project with a £1.5 million budget for public art. Today, “It’s a very different picture,” he says. “With the economic collapse, development also collapsed, and funding for public art fell away.” But he’s finding that municipalities are replacing cash with creativity. “Because there’s less money around, there’s less pressure to deliver against a budget. People are thinking more freely and creatively.”

For example, he’s recently started working with a housing authority in the cash-strapped city of Newport, South Wales, with a focus on the original neighborhood around the port. “It’s very interesting historically, but also in quite a dilapidated state,” says Sterk. Perhaps the greatest asset in the neighborhood is its extremely diverse cultural makeup. And that’s where Sterk is focusing his work. “We’re looking at projects that will bring that diversity to the fore—temporary market places, places to grow garden produce.” Sterk stresses that the emphasis in Newport is not on “imposed civic art,” but on building and supporting the culture that already exists in the neighborhood. That’s a budgetary reality—the city doesn’t have the cash to invest in large-scale civic artworks. But it’s also the right way to do public art, according to Sterk. “It’s not quick in and quick out; it’s long-term planning,” he explains. “On the whole, clients are much more willing to look at the process of creative practice rather than just the outcome. The outcome is a bonus.”

#4 It’s the journey, not the destination Sterk is not alone in arguing that process is at least as important as any given outcome—or, more specifically, that the best outcomes emerge from the right process. Take the work of Lindsay Kinkade, a graphic designer and urban planner who currently works in Phoenix, Arizona. During the summer of 2013, Kinkade set up shop in a gallery in downtown Phoenix and invited the community—special guests from area universities, city employees, urban planners, artists, and passersby who stumbled on the events—into the gallery to help “map our assets, projects, organizations, and leaders.” This pop-up design studio was called Design Territory at Combine Studios. Kinkade certainly has an outcome in mind: a more “user-friendly” city. But in rapidly expanding Phoenix, she understands that achieving that outcome requires a delicate and inclusive process. “I want to be careful I don’t duplicate the work of other people invested in


and whole neighborhoods, while here we are spending all this time and effort going into a little post. But there are more than 7,000 stop signs in the city. That’s where the potential is.” Young says that the stop-sign project is a direct result from his unique, collaborative position with the Public Works Department. It’s one thing to commission a mural on the side of a building or a sculpture for a public park. But traffic signs are a vital piece of the city’s safety infrastructure. Because he is deeply sensitive to the goals of city engineering, Young was able to work with Elias on a design that safely re-imagines a standard and pervasive element of city infrastructure.

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the future of Phoenix,” she says. “Instead, I want to build on it and support it.” In addition to welcoming a wide variety of voices into her mapping project, Kinkade sees the planning culture of the city as another “process” that she can influence. “City hall is a planning culture; there’s no design culture and there’s very little conversation about the user experience,” she says. “It’s really good at making sure the water lines go out to the edge of town and at keeping everything orderly. But it’s not known as a hub of innovation. By bringing in a maker culture and temporary public art culture, we can enhance that capacity.”

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ABOVE: Photo by Lindsay Kinkade, Design RePublic Studio. RIGHT: Photo by Andy King.

#5 Work with others Like Kinkade, virtually all the artists interviewed for this story are working in close collaboration with a wide range of other kinds of professionals—many of them in highly disparate fields. One of the more interesting examples is Marcus Young, one of two artists embedded in St. Paul’s Public Works Department. Young’s salary is paid by Public Art Saint Paul, a nonprofit arts organization. But his office in the Public Works Department means that for the past seven years he’s worked alongside street workers, engineers, and city maintenance workers. “There’s something unique about being a cubicle away from all those people doing the daily work of citymaking,” he says. “My ideas as an artist come from an understanding of what they’re trying to accomplish. I’m here to figure out, ‘how can I play in the sandbox with you guys?’” Young’s latest project as St. Paul’s “City Artist in Residence” is a reinvention of the stop-sign post. “It’s really a defining element in the residential streetscape, yet it’s been overlooked. We said, ‘Let’s make something of it.’” With funding from St. Paul’s percent-for-art public art ordinance, Young brought on a local metal artist, Lisa Elias, to create a new design for the posts. Key to the project’s success is the fact that its implementation will unfold over years to come. “On the one hand, it’s such a minuscule gesture in the grand scheme of things. People are redesigning plazas

ABOVE: Marco Perez and two of his photography students, Davion (left) and Desmonte (right), making maps at Lindsay Kinkade’s Design Territory at Combine Studios in Phoenix, Ariz. RIGHT: Prototype of new stop-sign posts in St. Paul, Minn..


#6 Proceed from the community

JOE HART is the senior editor of Public Art Review and a professional writer, editor, and musician based in Viroqua, Wisconsin.

“With our work, we’re always trying to open a space for people to connect.” —Shanai Matteson

TOP: Attendees talking at Give & Take CRAFT in Minneapolis, Minn. CENTER: One person’s nametag at the Give & Take CRAFT event. BOTTOM: Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson of Works Progress at Give & Take YOUTH event with Kulture Klub Collaborative at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis.

TOP/CENTER: Photos by Zoe Prinds-Flash. BOTTOM: Photo by Ryan Siemers.

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As important as cross-disciplinary collaboration is working with the communities that make up the city. “With our work, we’re always trying to open a space for people to connect,” explains Shanai Matteson, co-director of the Minnesota-based design and public art studio Works Progress. “We’re not making a judgment about what is the right kind of knowledge or creativity, or the right thing to do.” In other words, one role of the public artist in city-making is to facilitate creativity in the communities where they work. “It falls under the banner of enabling rather than dictating,” says Matteson. “As artists, we can create platforms that enable or encourage people to be creative where creativity already exists. It’s an approach that acknowledges what everyday people already know, and one that assumes or acknowledges that those people already want to have better communities—and they are probably the best ones to determine solutions.” Many of the Works Progress projects are designed to facilitate this idea sharing. Give & Take, for example, is a series of games and activities designed to help participants share knowledge and skills. Matteson and her colleagues have used Give & Take at community neighborhood meetings, nonprofit organizations, design and planning charrettes, and a variety of other groups, and they are developing a kit that anyone can use to put the principles into practice. “Basically Give & Take is a set of social, interactive games that get people talking to one another,” explains Matteson. “They’re sharing what they know and they’re learning from each other—and over time, it’s a way for informal creative networks to flourish.”


Positive Vibrations

How do you measure vibrancy? the vibrancy of any given community. The result is a list of ten “vibrancy indicators.” In choosing them, Cortright and his colleagues selected attributes (such as employment rates) that could be accurately measured in communities anywhere in the country. “The indicators don’t constitute a definition of vibrancy,” Cortright cautions. “They’re proxies. Vibrancy is elusive. It’s like pornography—you know it when you see it. The indicators are merely its shadows or footprints.” Be that as it may, ArtPlace has used the indicators to create a baseline snapshot of each community in which they’ve funded projects. By comparing analyses done before and after completion of each project, the organization hopes to quantify the value of its investments. Below are the ArtPlace Vibrancy Indicators, including the rationale for including each measure. More information can be obtained at www.artplaceamerica.org. —J.H.

mployment Rate: E Vibrant neighborhoods have a high fraction of their residents of working age who are employed.

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Don’t talk to Shanai Matteson about “vibrant” communities. It’s a loaded term, according to the artist and founder of Works Progress, a public art and design studio based in Minnesota. “The danger of the idea of vitality or vibrancy is when one person’s concept is the norm,” she explains. “So every neighborhood should have a Whole Foods and a brewery, bike trails and a lot of public art—well, I like to ride my bike and I have money to spend on beer. But another neighborhood, they might be coming from a different place with a different definition.” Yet as funders increase their pledges toward goals like “vibrant neighborhoods” or “livable communities,” there’s growing pressure to quantify the meaning of such terms. Arguably the leading effort in measuring vibrancy comes from ArtPlace, the grant-making nonprofit that has invested millions in placemaking projects. ArtPlace contracted with economist Joseph Cortright of Impresa, a consulting firm in Portland, Oregon, to identify a set of metrics that can measure

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Number of Creative Industry Jobs: Vibrant neighborhoods have higher than average concentrations of workers employed in businesses that involve information, media, arts and creative endeavors.

Cell Phone Activity: Vibrant neighborhoods have relatively high levels of activity on nights and weekends and are places people congregate away from home and outside of regular 9 to 5 business hours.

Walkability: Vibrant neighborhoods have many destinations within walking distance. Number of Mixed Use Blocks: Vibrant neighborhoods contain a mix of jobs and residences.

Number of Jobs in the Community: Vibrant neighborhoods have abundant local job opportunities.

ercentage of Independent P Businesses: Vibrant neighborhoods have more locally owned, independent businesses. opulation P Density: Vibrant neighborhoods contain a density of local population.

ercentage of Workers P in Creative Occupations: Vibrant neighborhoods have higher than average concentrations of residents who are employed in the arts, writing, performing and other similar occupations.

Number of Indicator Businesses: Vibrant areas have high concentrations of…businesses that represent destinations of choice for cultural, recreational, consumption, or social activity.


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A Green Way Through How a public artist made a new highway more palatable.

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By Daniel Jost


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ABOVE: Sandpoint, Idaho brought in artist Vicki Scuri in 2000 to help design a highway bypass site. She found the community wanted a green wall. It was completed in 2012. OPPOSITE: The mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) green wall.

LEFT AND RIGHT: Photos by Vicki Scuri.

U

.S. Highway 95 is the main north-south route through Idaho. Yet until recently, it slowed to 25 miles per hour in Sandpoint, a small city on the state’s panhandle. Big trucks, often dragging more than one trailer, struggled to make the tight turns through Sandpoint’s historic downtown. Crossing Fifth Avenue on foot was like playing a game of Frogger, and the whole area was filled with the smells of exhaust and manure from idling cattle trucks. As early as the 1950s, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) had proposed a bypass to ease Sandpoint’s congestion, but their plans were extremely controversial—to the point that people boycotted businesses that didn’t share their position. “People would literally say it was going to destroy downtown and kill the waterfront irreparably,” remembers Keith Kinnaird, who spent more than a decade covering the bypass for the Bonner County Daily Bee. Various routes were explored for the highway. But state officials had long favored an alignment that brought it along the east side of Sand Creek, on a narrow stretch of land that separates the creek and city from Lake Pend Oreille. This finger of land is connected to downtown by a single bridge and is home to the city’s public beach, a Best Western hotel, and an historic train terminal. A railroad embankment cut off downtown from Lake Pend Oreille long before the Sand Creek Byway was ever proposed, but over the

years, it had become camouflaged by a number of large poplars. To fit the bypass into the narrow space between the railroad and the creek, those trees would need to be removed—drastically changing the view from downtown. People worried the new view would be concrete columns. The most recent effort to construct a bypass began in 2000. ITD chose Dave Butzier, an engineer with Washington Group International (now URS), to lead the design team, which also included engineers and a scientist from CH2M Hill, landscape architects from Beck and Baird in Boise, local landscape architect Tom Runa, local firms Clearwater Engineering and Glahe & Associates, and Vicki Scuri, an artist from Seattle. The decision to bring in an artist was highly unusual for the State of Idaho. “I think it was Sean Hoisington’s idea,” says engineer Jim Roletto, who worked with Hoisington at ITD. “I think he’d been watching a TV program and saw some of Vicki Scuri’s work.” He adds, “[Our bosses at] ITD didn’t even know we had an artist for a while.” “They said, ‘We’re going to call you a site design specialist, as opposed to a public artist,’” Scuri remembers, “because that way they didn’t have to explain anything.” Scuri has done lots of work with concrete along highways, texturing


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it to catch the light. But large expanses of concrete didn’t seem appropriate for this site. One of the first things Scuri did when she joined the team was to meet one-on-one with people from the community. “They said, ‘We want it green,’” Scuri remembers. Scuri had been introduced to green walls—vertical structures with plants growing from them—by Bob Barnes, a landscape architect she collaborated with in Washington State, and she felt that such a structure would be perfect here. Scuri worked with Seattle-based architect Mark Spitzer on some concepts and presented them to ITD in the fall of 2001. These concepts also showed an artful underpass with stepped planters to link downtown to the city beach. When Scuri presented the green wall, the room went silent. “I think all of us said, ‘You want to do what?” Butzier remembers. While there had been some earlier discussion of making walls that felt greener

—perhaps by planting them with vines or building timber cribs—no one was familiar with a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) green wall. The idea eventually won support, and the green wall’s final design was a team effort, with Scuri involved through design development. Unlike some green walls, where each plant is in a small potlike unit that is then supported by the wall, the planting medium is continuous, which helps to keep the west-facing wall from drying out on a hot summer day. The wall has an exoskeleton of Trinity baskets, welded wire baskets manufactured by Hilfiker, that are filled with soil. The team felt it was important to create relief in the wall’s face, so the baskets are laid out in an irregular pattern that provides horizontal pockets for planting. To save money, the designers worked with the standard basket sizes available. Trinity baskets have rather large openings, so to keep the soil from

LEFT: Photo by Idaho Airships, Inc., courtesy URS.

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Over time the mat will biodegrade and be replaced by a living mat of grass roots.

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RIGHT: Photo by Vicki Scuri.

ABOVE: The narrow ribbon of land between Sand Creek and the highway is now home to City Beach. The park, which is sheltered from the highway by Vicki Scuri’s green wall, offers a good view of downtown across the water. OPPOSITE: U.S. Highway 95 now bypasses Sandpoint’s downtown. City Beach and the green wall are located just above the railroad bridge in the foreground, along the left side of Sand Creek, which empties into Lake Pend Oreille.

eroding away, they were lined with quarter-inch screen and a woven mat, which was initially impregnated with grass seed. Dan Baird, of Beck and Baird, says that over time the mat will biodegrade and be replaced by a living mat of grass roots. Other plants, such as climbing roses and honeysuckle, were inserted into the wall as plugs. Drip and conventional spray irrigation keep everything alive, and the slight slope of the wall’s face (a 6:1 batter) helps it to collect water. The final effect of the wall, which was completed in 2012, is quite stunning. The grass browns in the summer as some native grasses do, but the other plants provide contrasting greenery and colorful blossoms, so the wall is interesting year-round. Scuri acknowledges that for some people, the aesthetics of a green wall can be an acquired taste, “like whole wheat bread.” But “for me it’s still beautiful, even when it’s brown,” Scuri says. “It’s very furry; it gets the light.” When I visited the wall on a warm August evening, the new City Beach park next to it had drawn a number of bikers, fishermen, and

couples. Local residents Charlene LaPrade and Amanda Blossom walked along the wall and smelled the roses. LaPrade says she did not initially support the bypass project, but she’s very happy with how it turned out—particularly the green wall. “I love it,” LaPrade said. “It has a back-to-nature type feel.” “This little creek was never used and now, because of the path and the living wall, there’s people there all the time,” said Lisa Guscott, owner of Arlo’s Ristorante, which has a patio overlooking the creek. “Most of the people who were opposed to the bypass are not angry and upset now,” says former mayor Gretchen Hellar, who originally opposed it and refused to attend the byway’s dedication. “The fact that it was aesthetically acceptable defused some of the hostility.” is a freelance journalist and a contributing editor to Landscape Architecture Magazine. A native of western New York, he is currently living in Seattle.

DANIEL JOST


ON LOCATION Reports from the field

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A Waterfront Watershed

An ambitious new waterfront raises awareness of public art in Thunder Bay

Photo courtesy the City of Thunder Bay.

BY JON SPAYDE

Thunder Bay, Ontario, made its name as a manufacturing and lumbering city, and as the westernmost Canadian port on the Great Lakes. Proud of its ethnic heritage (in which Finns, Italians, Natives, and Métis—descendants of Native-white unions—are prominent), it’s faced the sort of economic decline afflicting bluecollar, heavily industrial communities throughout North America, and like many of those communities, it’s doing its best to recover via the “new economy”—education, medical services, and the creation of urban amenities. The most notable new amenity in Thunder Bay is Prince Arthur’s Landing at Marina Bay, an ambitious public/private sector project in which cutting-edge architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, and public art are fusing with retail, hotel, and condo development to turn a modest waterfront park and marina into a lively urban village linking the lake with downtown. Although public art has been integral to the plans for Prince Arthur’s Landing from the beginning, executing the project’s demanding art component was a major challenge for a city that had handled a total of three public art commissions in the preceding two decades.

After years of inconclusive discussions, waterfront redevelopment in Thunder Bay finally emerged as a priority in 2005, when a group of prominent local businessmen (dubbed the Ambassadors) took it upon themselves to commission mega developers Olympia & York to make recommendations. O&Y advised an expansion and enhancement of the city’s popular Marina Park and its three-pier marina. The city council approved the idea and, in 2007, chose Brook McIlroy, an urban-design firm with offices in Thunder Bay and Toronto, to devise a master plan for turning what principal Calvin Brook called a “passive park” into the site of an urban village. “There was lots of advocacy within the city government and the community for public art from the beginning,” says Brook. “Public art became a sort of thematic backbone for the project.” Basic planning had been completed when a major funding opportunity for the whole project appeared: the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, a joint provincial/federal pot of money that would pay for just under two-thirds of the project’s $44 million price tag. The catch, says Katherine Ball, Operations Coordinator for Prince Arthur’s Landing, was “that what we thought might be a five- to


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ABOVE: The Gathering Circle is an outdoor pavilion in Thunder Bay’s Spirit Garden on the waterfront. It was designed by architect Ryan Gorrie and Brook McIIroy, an architecture, urban design and planning firm. PREVIOUS PAGE: Embedded History by Steven Beites & Christian Joakim of Studio Kimiis consists of flowing concrete panels in a water-feature wall. It is situated to the left of the red brick Baggage Building Arts Centre (foreground) on Waterfront Plaza. Andy Davies’s sculpture Traveller’s Return looks like mirrored droplets. The work sits to the right of the gray building with wooden beams. Thunder Bay’s Waterfront Plaza also includes a splash pad/skate rink, water garden pavilion, and restaurant.


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ten-year project had to be substantially complete in a year and a half.” The truncated timeline meant that a municipal Recreation and Culture Division whose modest public art program had handled just three commissions since the program’s debut in the 1980s would have to scramble. After all, the master plan called for eight major works, integration between artworks and architectural elements, and serious outreach to the local arts community, including nearby Native reserves. The majority of the projects were conceived of and installed in just two years, says Leah Bayly, Supervisor for Cultural Services and Events in the Recreation and Culture Division. The hustle factor was a major issue, but an even bigger problem for Bayly and her colleagues was finding local artists, both on and off the reserves, to take part in the project. “With a project this broad in scope in a community of this modest size, it’s very important to show local involvement in the art-making,” she says. “But because there hadn’t been many opportunities here in the past, we didn’t have very many local artists who had public art experience, and thus the ability or the comfort level to take part in the competitions.” National artists were being commissioned for the major sculptural pieces, but where did that leave the locals? The public art program did its best to till the artistic ground; in 2010, for example, it partnered with local Lakehead University’s art department to offer a course in public art basics that ended in the transformation of a semi-derelict bank property downtown into a small art park. But the ultimate solution was to find ways that the work of local writers and of local gallery artists working in two dimensions could be incorporated into sculptures and architecture—and even into design concepts. Local poetry and prose found its way onto works, including “Round Dance,” a poem by local Métis poet Marilyn Dumont, which inspired a circular, raised viewing deck on one of the marina piers. For other smallish cities developing new public art programs, Bayly has a very down-to-earth and less-than-obvious piece of advice, related to her troubles attracting artists: make sure your municipal purchasing department and legal department under-

The work of local 2D and literary artists were incorporated into the waterfront. ABOVE: Mark Nisenholt’s computer-generated images became glass panels—Ulysses, Swimmers, and Paleogirls (pictured)—that were built into lantern structures. TOP: A viewing circle features “Round House” by local Métis poet Marilyn Dumont.

PREVIOUS PAGE AND TOP: Photos by David Whittaker. BOTTOM: Photo courtesy Brook McIlroy.

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TOP LEFT: Photo courtesy Brook McIlroy. TOP RIGHT: Photo courtesy spmb. BOTTOM: Photo by David Whittaker.

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ABOVE: Picnic docks provide places for rest, reflection and lunch along the water’s edge of Lake Superior. TOP LEFT: Text by Catherine Moodie Vickers was excerpted from Life in a Thundering Bay: Voices from Thunder Bay’s Past, edited by Tania L. Saj and Elle Andra-Warner, and engraved on a granite bench. It is one of many modern and historial literary selections by local and regional authors that has been integrated throughout Thunder Bay’s Marina Park. TOP RIGHT: Jiigew, Anishinabe for “by the water,” was designed by artists spmb (Eduardo Aquino & Karen Shanski) with Brook McIlroy Architects & Planners. It features scrolling LEDs that relay Anishinabe stories via morse code on two 22-meter tall beacons. Speakers project the stories, which alternate between the Anishinabe and English languages.


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JON SPAYDE is a frequent contributor to Public Art Review.

ABOVE: Embedded History by Studio Kimiis is part of a water-feature wall at the Baggage Building Arts Center. RIGHT: Andy Davies’ mirrored work Traveller’s Return reflects the site’s history as a crossroads.

LEFT: Photo by David Whittaker. RIGHT: Photo courtesy Brook McILroy.

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stand what you’re up to. When the Prince Arthur project’s first RFPs went out, artists attempting to respond online were handled like everyday city service providers: they had to pay a fee to access the project and were met with page after page of legalese and an intricate registration process. “Contractors are used to that,” says Bayly, “but artists are not. We got zero response from artists until we created materials that were concise and clear.” Prince Arthur’s Landing is now complete except for some final hotel and condo construction, and has met with widespread critical praise and public enthusiasm. The artworks—especially the more whimsical pieces like Naturally Inflated (balloon animals in stone, by Paul Slipper and Nadine Stefan)—are on their way to becoming local icons. “It’s made people more aware of the need for public art throughout the community,” says Ball, and Bayly adds that Thunder Bay government is also much more public art–conscious now. A new set of municipal guidelines for urban design and landscape calls for more public art in Thunder Bay, and “the acceptance of, and interest in, public art from other city departments is continuing to grow after the success of the waterfront installations,” Bayly says. “Images of the installations are showing up more and more often in communications materials, including the city’s website.” There’s even a movement under way to relocate the city’s cramped civic art gallery to the waterfront—a waterfront that, in Calvin Brook’s words, “is now an art destination.”


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Bringing the Biennale Home

What the director of an American sculpture park learned in Venice BY MARILU KNODE

My primary goal at Laumeier Sculpture Park is to use the whole we can connect to our fellow citizens on the other side of the globe, space and history of St. Louis as a platform for artistic research, creating a more sympathetic humanity as a result. Each version of using the rubric “archaeology of place” to guide our thematic shows. This notion has helped us commission work by artists from around the globe—Matts Leiderstam (Sweden), Ken Lum (Canada), Tea Mäkipää (Finland), Ahmet Ögüt (Turkey), Emily Speed (United Kingdom), and Kim Yasuda (United States), among others—to match the opportunities in our 105 acres in a near-suburb of St. Louis. We use our “cultural landscape” to explore how and why we live in the world the way that we do. Ultimately it is the performance of place and space that I am interested in, and this year’s Venice Biennale the Biennale raises questions about the rising demand to engage a was rich in this regard. broad and diverse public, the importance of cross-disciplinary Large-scale exhibitions like the Venice Biennale have allowed me artistic practice, and the future of artist education. to construct a global understanding of contemporary artistic prac- This year’s Biennale, organized by Italian curator Massimiliano tice. It was at Venice many years ago that I learned not to be over- Gioni, currently of the New Museum, New York, takes as its thesis whelmed by the volume of work in large biennials and fairs such “The Encyclopedic Palace,” a concept devised by the American as Documenta and Art Basel. I have learned to seek, instead, only a self-taught artist Marino Auriti for a museum to house all worldly handful of artists whose work would be served by being in my insti- knowledge. This meaningful thesis, conceived of by an artist once tution’s context and would engage our local audiences through their considered an “outsider,” let Gioni embrace artistic practice along mediation of the conflicting forces of our world. Artists show us how a social and cultural continuum rather than reinscribing catego-

Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki.

The wonderful performances I encountered in Venice transported me past my role as a professional and back into that of global citizen.


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ries enforced by the marketplace. “The Encyclopedic Palace” broke down the distinction between Gioni’s curated project and the national pavilions; between outsider artists and contemporary, highly educated artists; and between art forms. The wonderful performances I encountered in Venice transported me past my role as a professional and back into that of global citizen, which is one of the reasons why art is so fundamental to a civilized world. Each presentation wandered outside the traditional confines of mediaspecific practice, something at the heart of the Biennale. The works that made the most compelling case for the blurring of lines of Gioni’s thesis were the performances, which I came upon by surprise, each a generous gift, linking the audience together by filling the space between us. Tino Sehgal, who won this year’s Golden Lion for best artist, continued his dematerialized practice with, when I saw it, a trio of youths sitting on the floor. The two older

children made sinuous, languid movements to the abstract, rhythmic singing of a young boy. The music was vaguely Middle Eastern, which suggested a celebration in a faraway tent. The intimate, informal way the artists sat on the ground reinforced the sense of community these exhibitions bring their viewers. Of greatest interest to me, however, were Antti Laitinen’s Tree Reconstruction and Forest Square, parts of an exhibition titled Falling Trees by the curators Gruppo 111. Laitinen responded to the collapse of a large tree onto the Finnish Pavilion at the 2011 Biennale by dismantling, then rebuilding, a tree outside the Italian pavilion. Scottish ornithologist Alexander Wilson’s idea that nature and humans create each other came to mind while watching Laitinen reconstitute nature into an imperfectly cobbled-together representation of a tree, perhaps a commentary on our mistaken understanding of landscape in today’s world.

Photo by Alessandro Sala, courtesy the artist and the Centrale Fies.

ABOVE: Fe203, Ossido ferrico, a work by Francesca Grilli. PREVIOUS PAGE: Writer Marilu Knode (right), executive director of the Laumeier Sculpture Park, views an installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.


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Each version of the Biennale raises questions about the rising demand to engage a broad and diverse public, the importance of cross-disciplinary artistic practice, and the future of artist education.

TOP RIGHT: Photo by Eva Ohtonen. BOTTOM: Photo by Katy Diamond Hamer, originally published on eyes-towards-the-dove.com, 2013.

ABOVE: Czech artist Eva Kotátková’s Asylum installation at the 55th Venice Biennale. TOP LEFT: Tino Sehgal’s Untitled performance piece. TOP RIGHT: Antti Laitinen’s Tree Reconstruction.

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MARILU KNODE is executive director of Laumeier Sculpture Park in

St. Louis, Mo.

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As more arts organizations realize the urgency of supporting public art—art for the public, outside, where the public lives—Laumeier Sculpture Park’s 36-year history of public artistic practice gains renewed relevance. Laitinen’s work held resonance for me, and for Laumeier, as we continue to show how we are all connected by our landscapes. In fall 2013 we have invited self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar to shape three juniper trees and train our Master Gardeners to continue to clip them over the next decade as the trees grow. Laitinen and Fryar recognize that the rock upon which we live is the most vital connector between us. Their work, as well as the immediate, performative works of Francesca Grilli, Eva Kotatkova, Zhang Jianhua, and Ragner Kjartansson that I saw in Venice, all help me to find new meanings about our future by digging into our past reliance on the land that has shaped our community.


From

Living and Sustaining a Creative Life

PUBLIC ART IN SEATTLE

Celebrating 40 years of Activating Public Spaces

Essays by 40 Working Artists Edited by Sharon LoudEn With an Introduction by Carter Foster

“Anyone serious about a career as an artist must read this book.”—AdAm Sheffer, partner, Cheim and read Gallery

224 p., 40 color plates Paper $40.00

Christian French, Sightings, 2013 From Art Interruptions 2013, temporary artworks in public spaces that offered passers-by a moment of surprise, beauty, contemplation or humor. Photo by Juan Hernandez.

Distributed by the University of Chicago Press www.press.uchicago.edu

STARFISH SHUFFLE by Xavier Cortada Detail of Shoreline, one of eight 4’ x 8’ ceramic murals Port Everglades Cruise Ship Terminal 2, Hollywood, FL

&

P u bli c Art Design

w w w. b r o w a r d . o r g / a r t s

www.seattle.gov/arts


BOOKS Publications and reviews

Tour the Americas

Phaidon’s new book crosses continents and time BY KAREN OLSON

Art & Place: Site-specific Art of the Americas The Editors of Phaidon Press (Amanda Renshaw, lead editor) New York: Phaidon, 2013

TOP RIGHT: Photo copyright Charles Ross. BOTTOM: Photo by Cristobal Palma, copyright Alfredo Jaar.

is executive editor of Public Art Review.

Contemporary works in Art & Place include Geometry of Conscience (2010), a memorial by Alfredo Jaar in Santiago, Chile (below), and Charles Ross’s Star Axis (1976—) in Chico, New Mexico (top right).

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KAREN OLSON

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | FALL / WINTER 2013 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

From Canada to Argentina, Art & Place: Site-specific Art of the Americas takes us on a powerful tour of some of the most significant site-specific works of art of the past 10,000 years. Arranged from north to south, works by indigenous peoples from the Haida to the Inca are intermixed with contemporary pieces by artists including Matthew Barney, Patricia Johanson, and Jesús Rafael Soto. The resulting juxtapositions—as well as the connections you find as a reader—make the book a richly interesting geographical, temporal, cultural, and historical experience. Created by the editors of Phaidon Press, Art & Place is gorgeously photocentric. Short texts perfect for short attention spans offer insight into the sites, cultures, aesthetics, and the artists themselves. But with 800 large-format color images, this is the kind of book you can slowly page through for the photos alone. Afterwards, you feel that you’ve taken a journey not just through land and time, but through the human imagination.


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Common Dreams

Examining public art through the lens of the commons BY KIRSTIN WIEGMANN

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | VOL. 25 | NO. 1 | ISSUE 49 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

ARTISTS RECLAIM THE COMMONS: New Works / New Territories / New Publics Glen Harper and Twylene Moyer, eds. Washington, D.C. ISC Press, 2013

Edited by Glenn Harper and Twylene Moyer of Sculpture magazine, this compendium of essays contains a range of professional perspectives, including those of artist, curator, and critic. Twelve contributors explore the multifaceted ways art can exist in the public arena —and how public art can be a part of

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the “commons.”

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Rooted in the concept of grazing lands belonging to an entire community, the notion of the commons has evolved to include all our shared cultural and natural resources. The organization On the Commons describes the commons as “the essential form of wealth that we inherit or create together” and calls for an equitable sharing of such resources. In Artists Reclaim the Commons, writers explore a cross-section of works through the lens of our common culture. The essays move sequentially from foundational concepts, such as percent-for-art programs and campus public works, to more conceptual and avant-garde works and practices, including ephemeral and temporal works developed by independent artists. A defining chapter on socially engaged art by Patricia Phillips helps prepare the reader to investigate the more challenging and unusual works presented later on. Phillips gives a nod to Pablo Helguera’s pivotal handbook, Education for Socially Engaged Art, before highlighting projects—Rick Lowe’s Project Row Houses and Jon Ruben and Dawn Weleski’s Conflict Kitchen are two—that stretch conventional ideas of public art. Later chapters are devoted to international works, including an overview of Germany’s mind-bending event Documenta and another of public art in India, a country where the distinction between public and private is sometimes difficult to isolate. The essays are well written and the selected case studies relevant and timely; and the connection to the commons is responsive to the essential calls for justice, equity, and collaboration in our cities today. This book is a useful investigation for public art professionals—artists, administrators, curators, and others in the field—and can be a part of the essential conversation moving us towards a sustainable future.

is director of education and community engagement at Forecast Public Art.

KIRSTIN WIEGMANN

PEOPLE GIUSEPPE PENONE: The Hidden Life Within John Bentley Mays, Germano Celante, and Didier Semin. Matthew Teitelbaum, ed. London: Black Dog, 2013

The Italian sculptor’s most recent work is illustrated visually in full-page photographs (b/w and color), and theoretically in essays by artists and critics. Among the contributors is Penone’s friend and fellow artist within the Arte Povera movement of the 1960s and ’70s, Germano Celante. CHIHULY Dale Chihuly, Nathalie Bondil, Timothy Anglin Burgard, Gerald W. R. Ward, and Davira S. Taragin. Diane Charbonneau, ed. New York: DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2013

Chihuly has over 40 years’ experience shaping blown glass in a multitude of colors, shapes, and sizes. Produced in conjunction with an exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Chihuly showcases the full scope of the artist’s works—including twisting neon sculptures, hanging chandeliers, and monumental installations. JAMES TURRELL: A Retrospective Michael Govan and Christine Y. Kim New York: Prestel, 2013

Published in conjunction with a retrospective exhibition of Turrell’s work, this monograph contains essays, an artist interview, and specially commissioned photographs. Readers are enlightened with the inspirations spanning the artist’s career—including his experience with aviation, science, and psychology—and can explore an in-depth feature on Roden Crater, a sitespecific intervention on an extinct volcano near Flagstaff, Arizona. LOIS WEINBERGER Philippe van Cauteren, ed. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2013

A survey of the Austrian artist (born 1947), this volume includes beautiful fullpage images. Working since the 1970s, Weinberger—a self-described agricultural worker who uses plants as the origin of public art projects, drawings, and films— says that “the way a society deals with plants is a reflection of itself,” and that we need “to practice dealing with what is strange.”


MOUND CITY APRIL 11 - AUGUST 24, 2014 A TRIBE CALLED RED SAM DURANT JOE HARL GEOFFREY KRAWCZYK ROBIN MACHIRAN

APRIL 10 - 12, 2014 - St. Louis, Missouri Monument / Anti-Monument is an international conference that will explore the intersection of sculpture and the public realm. The conference key note speaker will be artist RAFAEL LOZANO-HEMMER. The conference is sponsored by Laumeier Sculpture Park, Regional Arts Commission, Kiku Obata & Company, Western States Arts Federation and an Anonymous donor. The key note speaker is sponsored by Nancy Reynolds and Dwyer Brown.

BEVERLY PEPPER ALISON SAAR MARIE WATT KIM YASUDA

Mound City, one of St. Louis’s nicknames, refers to the mounds made by the Mississippean peoples of this area 1,000 years ago. This community was the largest city outside of Mexico City, and a major influencer on other native nations on the continent. Artists in Mound City will explore traces of native cultures in our contemporary world, looking at issues ranging from disappearance and resurrection to the myths of American manifest destiny.

Laumeiersculpturepark 12580 ROTT ROAD, ST. LOUIS, MO 63127 314.615.5278

To register for the conference visit www.sculpturecitystl.com

www.laumeier.org

w w w . l a r s o n - c r a m e r. c o m


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Walking Tall

Artist Laura Anderson Barbata combines cross-cultural collaboration and stilt walking to make her artist statement BY AMELIA FOSTER

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | VOL. 25 | NO. 1 | ISSUE 49 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

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LAURA ANDERSON BARBATA: Transcommunality—Interventions and Collaborations in Stilt Dancing Communities Melissa Porter Madrid: Turner, 2013

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Mexican artist Laura Anderson Barbata’s practice, though often rather tall, is firmly rooted at the intersection of art and community, a site she regards as one of great power. Barbata began stilt walking as part of a varied artistic practice. After studying sculpture and printmaking, and creating works that blend graphite drawings, papermaking, and site-specific installation, she took a trip to the Venezuelan Amazon. There, she offered a skill trade with indigenous communities—papermaking for canoe making—thus beginning a decades-long relationship with the Yanomami, Ye’kuana, and Piaroa communities. Through her bookmaking collaboration with indigenous communities, she connected with local stilt dancers, seeding a new phase in her work. Since her first stilt dancing collaborations in the Amazon, Laura Anderson Barbata has gone on to work with stilt dancers in Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, the Amazon, and New York. The photos in this monograph linger primarily on her ongoing collaboration with the Brooklyn Jumbies, a group of stilt dancers focused on celebrating African and African-Caribbean culture. Their contribution to the Occupy protests, “Intervention: Wall Street,” included six of the Jumbies lumbering past the NYSE in oversized suits, while Barbata danced around in the street, doling out chocolate coins. The sudden delight and awe of witnessing stilt dancers juxtaposed with layers of cultural critique are characteristic of Barbata’s work. The book’s title, Transcommunality, a word not addressed in the text, is surprisingly at odds with the artist’s immediately accessible and marvelous work. No doubt there is a great deal of intellectual intent behind Barbata’s practice, but emphasized above all is her gratitude for her communal practice. In interview texts she speaks many times of the hope to “honor and elevate” those who participate in her projects—a metaphor particularly elegant and appropriate, as she literally raises people six feet into the air.

AMELIA FOSTER

lives in Minneapolis and works in the arts community.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Clifford Ross, essay by Paul Goldberger Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013

Through the Looking Glass follows a four-year collaborative project between multimedia artist Ross and fine arts manufacturer Franz Meyer (Munich). The project resulted in a twenty-eight-square-foot stained glass wall with hydraulic doors created specially for the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Austin, Texas. BEFORE I DIE Candy Chang New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013

Before I Die is Chang’s reflection on her project of the same name as it evolved beyond a neighborhood initiative to become an international phenomenon, popping up in places like Ireland, Argentina, Taiwan, and countless others. THE MASTABA, PROJECT FOR ABU DHABI, UAE Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Wolfgang Volz, Matthias Koddenberg, Jonathan William Henery Tegelen-Venlo, Netherlands: Taschen, 2012 (bilingual edition)

Begun in 1977, The Mastaba, Project for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates will be Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s only permanent large-scale work. When complete, it will be the biggest sculpture on the planet. CASS SCULPTURE FOUNDATION: 20 Years of Commissioning Large-scale Sculpture Claire Shea and Kate Pratt, eds. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2012

During the past 20 years, more than 400 large-scale sculptures have made an appearance on the Cass Sculpture Foundation’s 26 acres of woodland in West Sussex, U.K. This comprehensive survey includes artist biographies. SAN FRANCISCO: Arts for the City — Civic Art and Urban Change, 1932–2012 Susan Wels, commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission California: Heyday, 2013

The rich legacy of civic art in San Francisco has been condensed and illuminated in this book, which examines the relationship between art and the city’s cultural evolution over the past 80 years.


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Re-imagining Suburbia

A South African project gives voice to the diverse community of Yeoville BY LAUREN BEDOSKY

HOTEL YEOVILLE Terry Kurgan Johannesburg: Fourthwall Books, 2013

LAUREN BEDOSKY is a freelance writer based in Minneapolis/St. Paul. She is also an editorial intern at Public Art Review.

MISCELLANY THE CULTURE OF POSSIBILITY: Art, Artists & The Future

TOP RIGHT: Photo courtesy Terry Kurgan.

Arlene Goldbard Waterlight Press, 2013

As she buoys our sense of creative communal power, Goldbard reminds us that our laws, politics, and values evolve from our culture. She argues that we are part of a shifting vision where art and artists exist not on the edge, but as centrally important pieces of the community puzzle. Published simultaneously, Goldbard’s The Wave is a fictional companion book.

THINKING IS MAKING: Presence and Absence in Contemporary Sculpture Martin Herbert, Matilda Strang, and Fiona MacDonald (contributors). Michael Taylor, ed. London: Black Dog, 2013

Thinking is Making considers both the presence and absence of the sculptural object and its creator. Honoring 10 years of the British Mark Tanner Sculpture prize, the essays in this publication analyze the found and constructed art object and profile past winners.

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Yeoville: friends laughing together, individuals alternately serious and silly, and always set against a bright pink background that lends a cheerful atmosphere. The photos put a collective face onto the ideas and theories expressed by Kurgan and her collaborators. The community members all gained something from their involvement in the Hotel Yeoville project. Many found jobs, accommodations, customers, and/or employees through the Directory Booth, a free online classifieds and directory resource. Others joined discussion forums, checked the news from their home country, shared personal stories of love and tragedy, and/or just had fun taking photos with their friends. But no matter how people chose to interact with the project, they left behind the images and stories you see in this book, all working to rewrite popular depictions of South African immigrants.

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | FALL / WINTER 2013 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

When artist Terry Kurgan landed a commission in Yeoville, a suburb on the eastern edge of Johannesburg, South Africa, she was struck by the discrepancy between the popular image of Yeoville’s immigrants and the way she knew them to be. Popular media depicted them as abject, poor, and resourceless; Kurgan found them intelligent, creative, and resourceful. Determined to challenge this stereotype without perpetuating the unequal power relation between photographer and subject, Kurgan worked with researchers, designers, and community members to develop a safe space where people felt welcome to express themselves. The Hotel Yeoville project included a series of private booths at a public library, where people could take photographs, tell stories, make videos, map their travels across Africa, and more. The results are published on a community website and in this book, which includes images and texts generated by project participants, as well as essays by Kurgan and contributors. Each essay illuminates some aspect of the project, including its conception, installation, and development. Most compelling are the photos submitted by the people of


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SUSTAINABILITY TEACHING ARTIST HANDBOOK: Volume 1: Tools, Techniques, and Ideas to Help Any Artist Teach Nick Jaffe, Becca Barniskis, and Barbara Hackett Cox Chicago: Columbia College Chicago, 2013

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The inaugural volume in a new series aimed at transitioning working artists into successful educators, this book is designed to assist artists of any medium in conceptualizing, creating, and implementing classroom methods. COMMEMORATING AND FORGETTING: Challenges for the New South Africa Martin J. Murray Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013

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How should genocide and injustice be remembered through art, literature, and landscape? Murray explores this question as it relates to the realities of post-apartheid South Africa. In these pages, you will encounter real-life examples of the monuments, memorials, architecture, and art that serve to commemorate, distort, and/ or erase apartheid from collective memory. LIGHT SHOW Cliff Lauson, ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013

Published concurrently with an exhibition of the same name, Light Show surveys historical and contemporary artworks using illumination as material. Beginning with explanations of how we see and manipulate light, by curator and editor Lauson, art historian Anne Wagner, and science writer Philip Ball, the catalog hits its stride with a series of radiantly illustrated biographies on 22 artists, from David Batchelor to Cerith Wyn Evans.

ART PARKS: A Tour of America’s Sculpture Parks and Gardens Francesca Cigola New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2013

In both metropolitan and rural areas, sculpture parks and gardens are growing in popularity. The first comprehensive guide to North America’s outdoor sculpture parks provides thematic and regional chapters, with four regional maps to locate sites. Fifty-seven destinations are illustrated in detail, making this flexibly bound book appropriate for both backpacks and coffee tables.

DESIGN LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN [2]: Building Change from the Ground Up Architecture for Humanity, ed. New York: Abrams, May 2012

Compiled by nonprofit design services firm Architecture for Humanity, Design Like You Give a Damn [2] highlights more than 100 innovative architectural design projects in the U.S. and abroad that address a specific region’s needs. This handbook also features case studies and interviews. TAKING SUSTAINABLE CITIES SERIOUSLY: Economic Development, the Environment, and Quality of Life in American Cities Kent E. Portney Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, February 2013 (second edition); first edition 2002

In this information-packed second edition, Portney compares sustainability initiatives across small, medium, and large American cities, examines the various issues involved with management and implementation, and discusses new directions for cities to take in pursuit of sustainability.

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE: Architecture as Resource Muck Petzet and Florian Heilmeyer, eds. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2012

An alternative guide for architects, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle posits reinterpreting waste materials as precious resources. Via German-based project examples, the publication suggests valuing existing architecture for development. Topics include the overall energy lifecycle of buildings, as well as the cultural and social importance of preexisting architecture. Rather than building anew, the editors view regeneration and conversion as forward-looking. GREEN ARCHITECTURE NOW! Philip Jodidio Taschen, 2012

From Seoul to Berlin, from Los Angeles to Hanoi, sustainability is the hot ticket in architecture. Exploring the why, how and where, this publication tours the globe for locations where stylish structures designed with the planet in mind are both trendy and necessary. A worthwhile survey of a topic in everyone’s best interest: building a beautiful tomorrow.


U.S. PROJECTS Selected recent works

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | FALL / WINTER 2013 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

Can’t find anyone willing to join you for a quick game of tag in the park? Head to the River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where artist Dan Corson’s new interactive light-environment piece RAYS will play with you all night long. Composed of robotic lighting fixtures and motion-detecting radar, the work spans the park’s five-acre Great Lawn and illuminates it in different choreographed patterns every half hour after the sun sets. The radar will track visitors’ movements across the lawn and initiate a variety of games with them. One involves the robotic lights selecting a visitor on the field and following that person’s movements while other visitors try to figure out how to steal the spotlight from the selected person. Another game works like a cat-laser pointer: a small green light starts to dance around the field and visitors have to try to “catch” it. Inspired by Europe’s great baroque knot gardens, this piece also changes with the seasons— the lights take on different color palettes as the months pass. The piece sparks visitors to reimagine the possibilities for the public environment and encourages the return of creative play in public spaces. Photo copyright Dan Corson.

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After four years of preparation that included 100,000 participants in all 50 states and 30 countries, the social art project ONE MILLION BONES culminated in a three-day installation event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Led by artist-activist Naomi Natale, the project combined education, hands-on art-making, and public installation to raise awareness about genocide across the world. Participants were asked to hand-make representations of human bones, each one symbolizing lives lost in mass atrocities across the world. Natale had organized volunteers to lay down smaller collections of these bones throughout the years in various cities (including New Orleans), but the D.C. event was the biggest, and the final, installation. Natale’s aim was to evoke the image of a mass grave, challenging people to recognize the existence and severity of large-scale conflicts in places like Burma, Somalia, and South Sudan. These events are often opaque to many Westerners but, Natale’s multiyear project warns, we ignore them at their peril. Now that the main project is over she hopes to continue raising awareness by finding a permanent home for the installation. Photo by Teru Kuwayama.

Initially developed in 2012 for San Francisco’s Urban Prototyping Festival—an event that encourages artists to explore ways to improve cities through art, design, and technology—PULSE OF THE CITY has been adopted by the city of Boston as part of a health and fitness initiative. Designed by interactive artist George Zisiadis to encourage pedestrians to slow down and take a moment during their busy day to connect with their bodies, the installation is a series of solar-powered devices shaped like cartoon hearts with copper-plated handles, located at various points throughout the city. When passersby grip the handles of one of these hearts, the device translates their heartbeat into music using an algorithm. Unlike traditional heart monitors and charts, Pulse of the City generates an individualized melody that is unique to that person in that particular moment in time. Photos by Bunker Seyfert.


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PUBLIC ART REVIEW | VOL. 25 | NO. 1 | ISSUE 49 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

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A decade ago the historic J.M. Weatherwax High School in Aberdeen, Washington, built in 1909, burned to the ground. After the fire, city officials in this coastal town salvaged as many of the old sandstone construction blocks as they could, though they had no end goal in mind. The large blocks had been part of the original building’s elegant façade. They were stacked up and unused for years.

Now artist Adam Kuby has transformed the stones into an integrated earthwork that resembles a large, cresting wave. Sited along one of the town’s main thoroughfares, BREAKER incorporates all of the available sandstone from the old building in a 64-foot-long, scroll-shaped sculpture. Four largescale ornamental stones were strategically used to form the top of the wave. At night, LED lights illu-

minate the piece, highlighting subtle forms, shapes, and shadows. The piece is meant to honor the “ordinary people” who built the original structure—and to inspire future generations to similar feats of creativity and craftsmanship. The majestic work is a visual link between the city’s past and future. Photo by Darrell M. Westmoreland.

ORIT HAJ, a new site-specific artwork at Vasquez Rocks in Acton-Agua Dulce, California, pays tribute to the earliest inhabitants of the Santa Clarita Valley—the Tataviam tribe. Created by artistic duo Didier Hess, the piece is a solid earthen structure made of a mixture of soil and cement; it is designed to slowly erode over the course of the next 150 years. Artifacts, including a bronze sculpture, embedded

in the structure will slowly be revealed as the structure disappears, making the piece come alive in new ways for each generation that encounters it. Orit and haj mean “river” and “mountain,” respectively, in the Tataviam language—and the structure mimics the form of the nearby Vasquez Rocks. Echoing the shape of an earthen bench, the piece invites visitors to touch it and climb on it, letting

them physically connect with history and the traditional culture. Orit Haj was named one of the 50 best public art projects by the 2013 Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts. Photos copyright Los Angeles County Arts Commission.


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the ceiling, with the repeating pattern spiraling down the wall to the floor. Jen Stark’s vibrant DRIPPY (above) replicates hypnotically down the back and sides of an escalator. The notion of permanence is a shift for Primary Projects. Curators Books IIII Bischof, Typoe, and Cristina Gonzalez launched the Wynwood neighborhood’s curated street art movement during Art Basel Miami more than six years ago. This fall, Primary Projects will open a new space in Miami that will feature work by artists like Kenton Parker and Andrew Nigon, who also created pieces for the Fashion Outlets. Parker’s OUT OF LINE (below) wraps around a wall on the second floor between a women’s retail shop and a public restroom, making the atmosphere of waiting in line visible. Photos copyright Clayton Hauck.

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To enliven the Fashion Outlets of Chicago as it was being built, the developers of the multilevel outlet shopping center partnered with the newly founded Chicago-based collective The Arts Initiative, which brings art to public and private places. Primary Projects, the Miami-based curator of the project, selected 11 artists—including Cody Hudson, Bhakti Baxter, Bert Rodriguez, Austyn Weiner, Jim Drain, and arts collaborative FriendsWithYou—to install permanent works at the Fashion Outlets, which opened on August 1, 2013. The site-specific art is part of the structure in most cases, such as Daniel Arsham’s FALLING TIME (left), a clock that sinks into a rippling wall. Alvaro Ilizarbe painted his dizzying LANDSCAPE STUDY (upper left) directly on


U.S. PROJECTS

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | VOL. 25 | NO. 1 | ISSUE 49 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

If you approached a resident of York, Alabama, a couple years back and asked about the town’s biggest eyesore, you would likely have heard about the salmon-colored house on Main Street. You know the one, they’d say. The roof is caving in. One side of the house seems to be sliding down a hill. Demolishing the property would have been straightforward—a quick way to erase a patch of urban blight. Instead, local residents and the community organization Coleman Center for the Arts teamed up with artist Matthew Mazzotta to repurpose the building’s usable materials into OPEN HOUSE, a house-

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A traveling talk show recently made its way through Pittsburgh, during which organizers interviewed residents about their neighborhoods. This mobile talk show visited each of the city’s 90 neighborhoods in 20 days, filming residents as they shared their opinions and ideas about the state of their communities and how they would like to see them develop in the coming years. Now that the interviews are complete, artist Jon Rubin is developing an online presence for those conversations. Special events and feature presentations based on the interviews will also happen in upcoming months throughout the city. The project, dubbed TALKPGH, was an outgrowth of PLANPGH, Pittsburgh’s development plan for the next 25 years. The purpose of the project was to include the voices and opinions of one the most important stakeholders in any city’s development plan—its residents. Photos © 2013 City of Pittsburgh.

shaped structure that unfolds to reveal rows of public seating. The structure serves as a public venue for outdoor concerts and other special events, an amenity previously lacking in town. The project began as a conversation between curators, residents, and the artist, and today it still requires cooperation—it takes four people and half an hour to transform the structure into seating. The artist hopes the unique seating project will address the lack of public space in York in a way that recalls the past but offers a picture of hope for what is possible for the city in the future. Photos courtesy Open House.


PUBLIC ART REVIEW | FALL / WINTER 2013 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

To enliven a neglected public space under an I-35 overpass in San Antonio, Texas, Public Art San Antonio—a division of the city’s Department for Culture and Creative Development—commissioned Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock to create BALLROOM LUMINOSO. The work comprises a series of six color-changing chandeliers made of recycled bicycle parts and sculptural steel. Each chandelier contains a custom-designed LED light fixture that, when lit, casts bright colors and patterned shadows. O’Connell and Hancock, who specialize in creating playful, large-scale projects, designed the permanent installation with the aim of connecting the communities in surrounding neighborhoods and encouraging socialization. The work references the area’s agricultural, environmental, and Hispanic heritage. It won the 2013 SXSW Eco Award for Transformative Design. Photo by Lucas Conrad.

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CODAworx is a global online community that showcases design projects featuring commissioned artwork in interior and architectural spaces.

This past June, residents of Cleveland, Ohio, spent three days—using nothing but their own strength—to pull an eight-ton truck through the city. PULL! was the brainchild of performance artist William Pope.L, who designed the project as a testament to the power of shared labor. Hundreds of Clevelanders volunteered to pull the truck 25 miles, wending their way through residential neighborhoods as well as downtown. The show of strength brought to mind the communal effort it took to build Cleveland —and the teamwork it will take now and in the future to keep it thriving. Commissioned for the 25th anniversary of the Cleveland Performance Art Festival, the project aimed to open a citywide conversation about one of the most prominent aspects of most people’s lives—work—and to recruit them to talk, eat, and labor together to accomplish something that would be impossible to do alone. Photo by Paul Sobota, courtesy the artist.

Designed for use by artists, design professionals, and industry resources, CODAworx allows members to connect and collaborate, and earn recognition for these design + art collaborations.

www.codaworx.com Presented by

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PIPEHENGE II/12 by Gilbert Boro, welded, bolted aluminum and powder-coated. Commissioned for Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds, Old Lyme, CT.


INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONALPROJECTS PROJECTS Selected recent works

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Renowned British artist Wolfgang Buttress has created a large, stainless steel sculpture for the new science complex at Australian National University (ANU) in Acton. Unveiled this past May, UNA, which means “oneness” (and which is also ANU spelled backward), is meant to be a small-scale representation of the universe—quite literally. Buttress worked with ANU astronomer Daniel Bayliss to create 9,100 perforations in the orb that all accurately represent stars visible to the naked eye. Illuminated from the inside, the stars are visible on both an inner sphere (if one looks through the perforations in the outer sphere) and on the outer

sphere, where the star formations shine on the reflective surface. By taking the skills and disciplines taught in the university’s science complex and inscribing them to the sculpture, Buttress allows the work to act as a graceful form of public signage, announcing the function and purpose of the building. At the same time, the subject matter of the work evokes something more timeless—the greater universe, the bigger picture, the sublime—encouraging passersby to consider both their immediate destination and their broader place in the cosmos. Photos by Ben Wrigley.

Overpopulation isn’t just a human problem. Companion animals, who are bred (and discarded) at alarming rates across the globe, are crowding out shelters, running wild on city streets, or, tragically, being destroyed. The creation of artist Carlo Sampietro, POP DOGS is a mobile installation that calls attention to the problem of canine overpopulation around the world. Traveling to four cities—Shanghai, New York, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro (all of which have specific and unique challenges with animal overcrowding)—the project features a 14-foot popcorn popper that spits out tiny stuffed dogs at a rate that mimics the actual birthrate of dogs across the world. This cascade of toy pets serves as a largerthan-life reminder of the cycle of craving, consumption, and abandonment that happens regularly in the consumer marketplace, but which has particularly

tragic consequences when it happens with animals. The installation sparked a website, popdogs.org, where people can go to learn more and get involved. Pop Dogs is also at work on an app that will allow users to adopt and care for a virtual dog. The dog will need to be watered, fed, walked, and interacted with at least once an hour. It’s a way to encourage people to face their own strengths and weaknesses as responsible pet owners—and to prompt them to take seriously the decision to adopt an animal. Photo by Yasuko Yamamoto.

VISIT THE NEW PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG FOR MORE PROJECTS, PHOTOS, AND VIDEOS.


INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS

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The Olympic Green in Beijing, built for the 2008 summer games, has become one of the city’s top tourist destinations. The expanse features Herzog & De Meuron’s Bird’s Nest and will soon be home to Jean Nouvel’s National Art Museum of China, slated for completion in 2015. This past June, the area added another stunning public art installation: artists Jennifer Wen Ma and Zheng Jianwei’s interactive light display NATURE AND MAN IN RHAPSODY OF LIGHT AT THE WATER CUBE.

The work reimagines the cellular skin of the iconic Water Cube building by blending information from social media and the ancient text the I Ching to create an ever-changing light and color display that interprets the collective current state of mind of the nation. It works like this: Computers analyze and interpret the emotions expressed via emoticons on Chinese social media sites (such as Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) and correlate them with the passage for the day from the ancient text I Ching. An algorithm translates that data into a unique LED color display after dark. These nightly “pictures in light” are “painted” with color theory, light, composition, rhythm, and movement on the sides of the building. The project’s commissioners hope the work draws more visitors to the Olympic Green—and inspires them to reflect on citizens’ ever-changing emotional state. Photos by Wang Xin.

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Graffiti meets a child’s hand-held flipbook in a new public art installation in Copenhagen, Denmark. For IN/BETWEEN, Argentinian artist Hyuro created 87 large-scale aluminum panels, each one showing a segment of an animation about a deer, and installed them along a busy roadway in this bustling metropolitan city. As they cruise along the road, drivers experience the panels as a moving mural, seeing the deer run through a forest and emerge on the other side. Hyuro and an assistant painted the entire project by hand in two weeks. The project, which was sponsored by the artistic community ArtRebels, aimed to bring a sense of childlike wonder to drivers on an otherwise straight and unimaginative stretch of urban road—and to bring a bit of the natural world into the big city. The project was chosen for the site as part of a competition that drew submissions from artists all across the world. Photos by Hyuro.

Light is one of the key elements in “setting the mood”—turn it down for a romantic feel, up for a more formal atmosphere, keep it diffuse for coziness or direct and bright for a clinical vibe. Typically, we only get control of the illuminated environment when we’re indoors. When we’re outside or in public we rarely if ever have a say in how our lives are lit. The Greek-based artists’ collective Beforelight specializes in experimenting with light in public spaces. Their latest installation, UNDER A DIFFERENT LIGHT, invited volunteers to an abandoned shop on a small street in Athens where they repaired and waterproofed 150 donated lamps. The quirky, homey lamps were then hung above the quiet street to provide lighting for a big street party for the residents of Thessaloniki. The project aimed to help visitors experience public space in a new way, and to encourage new ways of thinking about artificial light in the public sphere. Photo by Nikos Libertas.


INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS

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A group of 16 influential land artists participated in South Africa’s second SITE-SPECIFIC INTERNATIONAL LAND ART BIENNALE this past August and September, creating works in and of the natural environment in Plettenberg Bay. The artists included Cornelia Konrads from Germany; Jeon Won-Gil from South Korea; and Janet Botes (upper left), Marcus Neustetter, Sam Nhlengethwa, Wilma Cruise (upper right), Gordon Froud (lower left), David Jones, Walter Oltmann, Angus Taylor, and Strijdon van de Merwe (lower right) from South Africa. All were chosen based on their artistic talent and ability to adapt and respond to outdoor working conditions. The artists were invited to interpret the surround-

ing landscape in ways that would get visitors talking about their relationship with nature and open them up to new perspectives on their local terrain. Visitors were able to watch the artists install the projects in late August and see the completed installations throughout September. The curators aimed to make the show accessible to all, no matter their level of artistic knowledge or visual literacy. They hoped that the integration of culture and nature in the earth-driven pieces inspired conversations about caring for the natural world and engaging viewers in “a form of communion with the land that changes one’s perceptions of given surroundings.” Photos by Jade Holing.


INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS

Recently, the interactive layered sculpture THE PRACTICE OF FREEDOM II by artist Adam Kalinowski called out to kids and adults alike to dive in, play, and create abstractly geographical forms in bright-colored sand. The reimagined sandbox was installed in a park in Poznan, Poland, through late September. The piece evolved—and eventually faded away due to entropy—as participants stacked and rearranged the swatches of sand and the accompanying forms. Kalinowski, who had previously installed similar pieces in Warsaw and London, hoped the artwork would be irresistible to park goers, who were drawn in by the vivid colors and swirling forms, and then wished to become “artists” themselves. His aim was to give people some muchneeded time in their busy lives to use their imagination in new ways. Photos by Jakub Wiitchem.

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The international banking crisis has hit Spain particularly hard: thousands of businesses have been shuttered, funding for education and health programs has been slashed, and 55 percent of Spaniards under age 25 are unemployed. In January artists Octavi Serra, Mateu Targa, Daniel Llugany, and Pau Garcia installed HANDS, a series of cast human hands in strategic locations, throughout the streets of Barcelona. The hands highlight the human impact of the financial crisis by appearing to do various activities related to money—begging for coins, holding up unsuspecting ATM users, and beckoning people to hand them a couple euros. The piece has resonated with Barcelona residents. Many people stop to pose with the hands or discuss them with other passersby. The disembodied hands are a pointed reminder of how seemingly small decisions made in boardrooms can affect millions of people’s daily lives. Photos by Pau Alekumsalaam (top) and Daniel Llugany (bottom).

PUBLIC ART REVIEW | FALL / WINTER 2013 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

A melting iceberg was installed over the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa this past June as part of the museum’s recent survey of indigenous art. Created by Greenlandic artist Inuk Silis Høegh, ILULIAQ is a sitespecific piece built from 56 panels, each one ranging from 4.6 to 6 meters wide and 18 to 21 meters tall. The installation took 10 days to complete, and together the panels form a towering iceberg over the Gallery’s Great Hall, where a window replacement project is under way. As the window remodeling project moves toward completion, the iceberg will “melt” away along with it, disappearing altogether this December. The panels, constructed of scrim mesh adorned with composite images from photographs taken by the artist’s father (renowned photographer Ivars Silis), are accompanied by a soundscape of crackling ice. The installation provokes viewers to think about their relationship with the natural world, to contemplate the ravages of climate change, and to recognize the fragility and beauty of polar ice caps. Photo © National Gallery of Canada.


FORECAST NEWS What we’re up to

FORECAST NEWS

EDUCATION

In 2013, Forecast Public Art celebrates 35 years of bringing public art into communities. Currently, Forecast is partnering with Hennepin County’s Multicultural Arts Committee to present Creative Care: Art + Healing in the Twin Cities (November 4, 2013–January 29, 2014) at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis. This is the first exhibition presenting the vibrant and diverse arts and healing community in the region. Forecast also recently worked with Courageous heARTS—an organization that encourages healing and transformation through art—to make work that’s more visible in the community. Forecast has been a longtime consultant to the city of St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis. Recently, the city commissioned artists Amy Bauer and Brian Bolden of In Plain Sight Studio to create a large glass art window for its remodeled city hall. It features a montage of multilayered views of the city’s historical and contemporary landmarks. Public art planning projects under way include work for communities throughout Minnesota, including Duluth, Lanesboro, Marshall, Hopkins, St. Paul, Eagan, and Brooklyn Park. Consultants at Forecast are constantly traveling the globe and the Midwest to consult and deliver workshops, trainings, and lectures—and they bring home up-to-date knowledge about the diverse world of public art. In the past 10 months alone, executive director Jack Becker has been to New Zealand, China, Australia, Miami, New York, Chicago, Providence, Pittsburgh, and Denver.

Forecast’s Public Art in the Schools program recently received support from the Minnesota State Arts Board to bring artists into Glacier Hills Elementary School in Eagan, Minn. Fourth graders will design and create sculptures focused on water stewardship and stories collected from the community. Teaching artists Anna Metcalfe and Carrie Christiensen will work with educators and Forecast to integrate public art into existing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) curriculum. The Public Art Scrambler, a regular gathering of regional public art administrators and coordinators, held a workshop with the founders of Works Progress, an artist-led public art and design studio [learn more on p. 54]. Participants were invited to make maps and diagrams that explored their own creative process and were invited to connect their work to the larger systems that drive our cities. The session was guided by the question: What kind of creative culture(s) are we making together? Using facilitation techniques like open space technology, Forecast’s Open Space/Open Bar brings together artists and community members from across sectors and disciplines to explore issues, concerns and questions. In October, participants explored the question: In this dynamic and expanding field of public art, how do you define and share the work that you do? In December, the focus question is: How can and will public art play a role in shaping the places we inhabit in the future?

ARTIST SERVICES Recent recipients of Forecast Public Art’s annual grant program spent the summer working on their projects. In August, they were invited to the Walker Art Center for a meeting with artist-in-residence Fritz Haeg and collaborating landscape designer Anna Bierbrauer to explore and discuss Haeg’s At Home in the City project. “Home is the first place where most people can effect immediate change,” says Haeg. Grantees also met with artist and educator Kinji Akagawa, an innovator in the public art field. Renowned for his concept of art as a process of inquiry, he shared his thoughts on the relationship between art and community. “Conversations like that enter into your bloodstream and manifest themselves in ways that you are not always aware of,” says artist and grant recipient Cecilia Schiller of her experiences this summer.

Regional public art administrators meet in Minneapolis at a recent Public Art Scrambler.

ABOUT FORECAST

Forecast Public Art grant recipients meet with Fritz Haeg and Anna Bierbrauer to discuss Haeg’s At Home in the City project in the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center.

Forecast Public Art, the publisher of Public Art Review, is based in St. Paul, Minnesota. A nonprofit arts organization, Forecast strengthens and advances the field of public art locally, nationally, and internationally by assisting communities, supporting artists, and providing resources that inform audiences and expand participation. Learn more at ForecastPublicArt.org.

Photos by John Pocklington.

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CONSULTING


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STANDING IN THE TIDES Sculptures provide homes for tiny ocean residents

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Photo by Wu Hsin-Ying.

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The island of Kinmen, Taiwan—where oyster cultivation is a long-standing tradition —was the final flashpoint of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. More recently, Finnish environmental artist and architect Marco Casagrande noticed that rusted steel anti-landing poles still standing in the waters around the island are covered in oysters—and that filled him with hope. “Even the war tectonics can be taken over by nature and transformed into life-providing systems,” he says. When creating Oystermen, part of the Floating Islands art festival project at the Shanghai Bienniale, Casagrande was further inspired by the long reflections of oyster farmers’ legs in the water. The permanent installation consists of four towering stainless steel sentinels, who stand six meters tall along an ocean road at low tide. When the tide rises, the trail connecting Greater Kinmen to a smaller island disappears under the ocean’s watery embrace, as does half of each sculpture. At high tide the Oystermen—whose conical hats are covered in solar panels that power LEDs underneath at night —appear to stand on the water’s surface. Over time, oysters will envelop their submerged legs, creating an artificial reef. —Jen Dolen


“E XH A LE,” BY MIKYOUN G KI M , F R A N KL I N ST R E E T, C H A P E L H I L L , N C

bewaRe: IMaGInatIons RUNNInG wILD There’s always something new to get into at the edge of the Triangle. A new art exhibit. A new cupcake shop. A new show to see. Whatever you’re into, you can be sure that visiting the Chapel Hill area will always give you a new perspective.

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Public Art Review issue 49 - 2013 (fall/winter)  

Toward a Livable Planet: can public art change the world? Meet the artists who think so. This print issue is SOLD OUT! Please enjoy the onli...

Public Art Review issue 49 - 2013 (fall/winter)  

Toward a Livable Planet: can public art change the world? Meet the artists who think so. This print issue is SOLD OUT! Please enjoy the onli...

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