May 27, 2009

In Praise of Public Art: An Introduction

By José Maria Sert, 1941

Recently, with the economic downturn and Shepard Fairy in the news because of his guerilla style art, my thoughts have been turned toward the last real depression. While happening a generation ago, there are still many things that came out of the Depression in which we can relish in today. A passion of mine (although by no means something I follow everyday) are great displays of public art. I am not speaking only of the art from the Great Depression and WPA projects that went on, but great demonstrations of it from the largest of corporations and great benefactors to wonderful public works like parks and bridges to beautiful items that adorn public locations.


Perhaps one should define what public art is, as there can be many interpretations of that idea. My personal definition is: Displays of art in places where the public at large can view them. This excludes in corporate collections (although there are some great ones) and museums. It can be painting, sculpture or designs that are viewed in the round, like a great play. This being said, public art can also be determined by the viewer. So my definition is not what my friends might be.

In the coming weeks I am going to address public art that is, mostly but not all, in New York City (The only reason for this is, this is where I am and will be in the coming weeks). As I travel I will also attempt to do posts from other areas in the US and around the world. I would also like to hear from you, as I am by no means an authority on such things.

Part 2: Rockefeller Center Sculpture and Art

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