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Public Art: Theory, Practice and Populism / Edition 1

Public Art: Theory, Practice and Populism / Edition 1

by Cher Krause Knight
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American public art is a living entity always in flux. It is not relegated only to physical objects, but is manifested through an accretion of meaningful experiences. Though the art world has often taken an elitist view of popular culture, public interest in art has grown. This dynamic has thrust public art into the center of academic and intellectual debate, especially in the last few decades.

This book takes a bold look at public art through a populist lens, offering a more inclusive guide to America's creative tastes and shared culture. It examines the history of public art – from FDR's New Deal to Christo's The Gates – and challenges preconceived notions of public art, expanding its definition to include sites such as Boston's Big Dig, Las Vegas' Treasure Island, and Disney World. In doing so, it offers a refreshing alternative to the traditional rhetoric and criticism surrounding public art.

Reframing populist sentiments, Public Art: Theory, Practice and Populism lobbies for a revolution in the way we think about, talk about, and appreciate public art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781405155588
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 05/06/2008
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.68(d)

About the Author

Cher Krause Knight is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston. She has published her work in Visual Resources, the Journal of American and Comparative Cultures, Analecta Husserliana: The Yearbook of Phenomenological Research, and American Art Review, as well as in the anthologies Reclaiming the Spiritual in Art: Contemporary Cross-Cultural Perspectives, and Blaze: Discourse on Art, Women and Feminism.

Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Acknowledgments     xiv
Introduction: A Short History of the United States' "Official" Public Art     1
Roosevelt's New Deal     3
General Services Administration's Art-in-Architecture Program     6
National Endowment for the Arts' Art-in-Public-Places Program     15
Conventional Wisdom: Populist Intentions within Established Paradigms     22
Art as Monument, Art as Memorial     23
Art as Amenity     28
Art in the Park, Art as the Park     33
Art as the Agora     37
Art as Pilgrimage     41
Culture to Go: From Art World to The World     48
What Museums Do for Us     52
My Museum     56
Education, Outreach, Programming     62
The Alternative Museum/Alternatives to Museums     70
Not Quite "Art," Not Quite "Public": Lessons from the Private Sector     79
The Art of Entertainment     84
This is Special, I am Special     87
Open Pocketbook, Open Agenda?     93
Embracing Spectacle     101
Super Viewer: Increasing Individual Agency on the Public Art Front     107
Power to the People     111
Claiming Space andPlace     115
Dig In     123
Conclusion: Art for All?     131
The Trouble with (Re)Development     132
Nonprofits and the Ephemeral Idyll     137
Back to School     142
Grieving Loss, Remembering Life     145
Two Tales in One City     150
Bibliography     158
Index     176

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Cher Knight situates public art in a continuum of visual experience that includes museums, earthworks and Las Vegas. Embracing spectacle and popular engagement, she expands existing parameters to make public art both more provocative and more truly public."
Dr. Harriet F. Senie, author of Contemporary Public Sculpture; The 'Tilted Arc' Controversy; and co-editor of Critical Issues in Public Art

"In this remarkable book, Cher Knight has done a splendid job of synthesizing current thinking on public art rightly concluding that in the modern world it is the public who awards value."
Dr. Sally Webster, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, Lehman College and the Graduate Center CUNY

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