Public Art Today: Beyond Murals, Monuments, and Memorials at Macalester
January 27, 2012
St. Paul, Minn. - The symposium on public art at Macalester, “Public Art Today: Beyond Murals, Monuments, and Memorials,” explores different facets and tensions of contemporary public art as practiced in the United States today. The panelists will discuss how public art engages with issues of societal change, policy making, and environmental concerns, as well as how intellectual debates within the field have affected both the production and reception of public art in recent years. The symposium brings together artists, arts administrators, educators, and students in a discussion of the central issues in public art as they are unfolding today and its importance for particular communities and constituencies.
The symposium begins at 5 p.m., Friday, February 3, 2012, in Olin-Rice, Smail Gallery, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, Minn. Call 651-696-6279 for more information.
Participants and their topics include:
Jack Becker, Executive Director, Forecast Public Art, St. Paul, and publisher, Public Art Review: “An Aerial View of Public Art: Trends and Critical Issues”
l The field of public art is rapidly expanding as more artists are exploring spheres outside of traditional venues. From street art to social practice, temporary to permanent, commissioned works to self-produced projects, public artists are redefining public art on their own terms. Becker presents an overview of trends and critical issues, exploring the world beyond traditional murals, monuments, and memorials.
Kay Kallos, Public Art Program Manager, Office of Cultural Affairs, City of Dallas, Texas: “Who is the Public in Public Art?”
l Issues of audience, authority, and entitlement have a significant impact on public art selection processes. Recent assessments of community participation in the selection process range from a call for more open public participation to ensure local support for artwork in public spaces to more curatorial oversight to promote artistic quality. An examination of these polarizing viewpoints will illuminate the volatile status of how members of the community participate in public art processes. Kallos has managed a public art collection of more than 300 works and the process for commissioning and donating new works since 2009.
Stan Sears & Andrea Myklebust, Stan Sears: professor of Art, Macalester College and sculptor with Myklebust+SEARS - Andrea Myklebust: sculptor with Myklebust+SEARS:
“Public Art From the Inside Out: Two Practitioners’ Perspectives”
l A vast range of public art is being created around the world by artists working in every conceivable medium. Much of the practice of public art in the United States and that of Stan Sears and Andrea Myklebust has focused on the creation of site-driven sculptural works intended for long-term installation in the civic spaces of neighborhoods and cities. This form of public art demands a collaborative approach on many levels—between artist and end-users, with design professionals, and among the artist and fabricators, engineers, and studio staff. Sears and Myklebust will discuss their site-driven projects within the context of current debates on public sculpture.
Levi Smith, faculty member in art history, museum education, and art theory and criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago: “Tino Sehgal at the Guggenheim: Relational Aesthetics and the Obduracy of Art”
l This analysis of the reception of Tino Sehgal’s installation of two interactive pieces, “The Kiss” and “This Progress,” at the Guggenheim Museum (Jan. 29–March 10, 2010), investigates the creative confrontation between contemporary avant-garde art theory and “common-sense practicality” in the varied experiences of art critics, the art-viewing public, and the Guggenheim itself. Smith has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for more than 25 years. His recent work explores the boundaries among contemporary public art, avant-garde art, mass media, and popular culture.
The moderator is Joanna Inglot, chair and associate professor, Department of Art and Art History, Macalester College
l Inglot specializes in contemporary art. Her book The Figurative Sculpture of Magdalena Abakanowicz: Bodies, Environments, and Myths (University of California Press at Berkeley, 2004) explored the work of this renowned sculptor, including her public art projects in the U.S. and around the world. Her second book, WARM: Feminist Art Collective in Minnesota (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), examines one of the largest feminist art groups in the U.S., which was active in the Twin Cities from 1970 to 1990. She is currently preparing a manuscript on the work of installation artist Harriet Bart, and a textbook From the Margins: Race, Class, and Gender in American Art.
Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,978 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at macalester.edu