Art in Public

Panel Discussion Wed 2 Apr 2003 8.00PM-10.00PM
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Public art enhances and interrupts quotidian experience of public space. Many of the most recent public art debates focus on a fitting monument at the World Trade Center site and on the World War II memorial on the National Mall. These debates raise questions as to the very definition of public art: 1) public art is that which is funded by the tax dollar or 2)public art is that which merely appears in public. What is the nature of the public(s) whom this art addresses? As citizens, we engage in these debates by asking who gets to decide what kind of art will be created and by whom. In turn we consider the social roles of public art. Can public art, in its making and in the looking, cut across ethnic, class, and gender separations and establish commonalities and conversations to establish a physical and metaphorical space for a civil society to flourish? Further, if the creation of space for civic conversation is a function of public art, we must ask how the decreased access to and increased surveillance of public space/public art both before and since September 11 affects the development of civic culture.

Leslie Prosterman
, Fellow of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics

Casey Nelson Blake
, Columbia University
Sanford Levinson, University of Texas
Charlotte Cohen, Per Cent for Art Program
Mierle Ukeles, public artist