On Public Art

"Landscape is an environment in which people act and to which they react."

Barrie B. Greenbie

The Denver Office of Cultural Affairs' Public Art Program installed the public artwork by Lawrence Argent entitled I See What You Mean, a 40-foot tall, blue bear, at the Colorado Convention Center.

The artist has described I See What You Mean as a stylized representation of native fauna. As the bear peeks inside the enormous facility at the conventioneers, displacement and wonder pique curiosity and question a greater relationship of art, technology and whimsy.

"My public artworks are part of a larger whole," stated Lawrence Argent. "I am an artist that utilizes assorted mediums and venues to engage the viewer in questioning the assumed and provide a vehicle by which stimulus opens a plethora of responses that defy verbal articulation."

"What gives art it’s vitality is simply and ineffably the capacity of individuals to interpret and transform the language to express new ideas or restate old ones in a compelling way."

Robert A.M. Stern

An example of environmentally-minded public art, in Arlington County in Virginia. In this stunning public-art installation in 2007, five-hundred twenty-two solar-powered LEDs on rods, each topped with a reused plastic bottle, light up the Rosslyn traffic island between North Lynn Street and Ft. Myer Drive in Arlington County - looking a bit like luminescent reeds. This temporary environmental public artwork, aptly named CO2LEDby artists Jack Sanders, Robert Gay and Butch Anthony, was designed with Arlington's environmental initiative FreshAIRE (Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions) in mind.

"This temporary project promotes sustainability, hails the availability of alternative energy sources and technologies and demonstrates the ease of recycling," says Jack Sanders. "We will reuse all the materials used in the project-everything."

The installation was on display to coincide with the opening of the second annual Planet Arlington World Music Festival.

"‘Art’ and ‘the public’ do not belong to different categories or stand for entirely different phenomena. Art is public by definition. Works of art are the result of actions aimed at the public. Metaphorically, the arena of art is a public space. People do not create art without a desire to communicate. All else is a private matter, a hobby, self-fulfillment."

Ludger Gerdes

The Symes Avenue redevelopment scheme in Bristol sought to provide for an integrated programme of public art.

At an early stage the Symes Avenue Steering Group agreed that consultation and integrative thinking regarding public art was needed prior to the submission of Morrisons' detailed planning application. Bristol's Architecture Centre was therefore commissioned to devise and manage a consultation process that would enable local people to consider the ways in which artists could enhance the redevelopment.

A report produced by the Architecture Centre, entitled 'Symespace' identified a number of opportunities for artists that local people wanted to see progressed. It also suggested that the Symespace Project Implementation Group (SPIG) be set up, and that a Project Manager be appointed to work with the group on sourcing and managing the involvement of artists.

Les Baker from Reckless Orchard (Project Manager) and Cleo Broda (artist) progressed the findings of the Symespace report and produced a Public Art Plan for the development which was approved by the city council. Working with SPIG, discussions took place on a proposed public art programme that would have two key elements:

a) Events/projects celebrating Symes Avenue's past/future (the creative backdrop to the development); and

b) Design and integration of artworks within the architecture and its surroundings.

"Public art contributes to the process of place making."

David Sucher

Downtown Stuttgart.

"Symbolism makes a good city as much as bricks and mortar, glass and steel, and shade trees. We are probably all instinctual ancestor worshipers, and we worship the idealization of the past, not its reality, which is mostly lost to us anyway."

Barrie B. Greenbie

Chelmsford is home to a number of notable public art works and Chelmsford Borough Council has an active public art steering group that pursues an ongoing programme of public art creation.

"Traditionally the purpose of public art was one of commemorating important personalities and/or events - literally, the narrating of history in the streets. It was believed that through exposure to art and the inculcation of national and local pride the masses would become more cultured and civic-minded."

Daniel Piercey

This house in Anyang Public Art Park, Korea, was designed by Finnish architect and artist, Sami Rintala and Landscape Architects, Eedo Space Architectural Design, of Seoul, Korea. Located in a Korean context, in a suburban town with 700,000 inhabitants, Anyang is a small satellite city in the Seoul metropolis. The city had decided to invite several international architects and artists to participate in the design of a new park. Element house, Anyang Public Art Park, relates to the concept of art and architecture parks in Japan, the largest of which is Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial area in Niigata.

"The park is situated in a river valley. The building itself is standing on top of a small forest hill, along an outdoor route leading to the mountains in the far end of the park. Main space is a larger steel cube. Four smaller wooden rooms are connected to this space in different floors. In each of these small rooms there is the presence of one nature element; in cellar, water, on courtyard, soil, in first floor, fire and in the attic, air.

On a practical level, the idea of the work is to offer a simple shelter where the hikers may rest, enjoy their lunch, have a view over the mountains or light a stick of incense. For this purpose Norwegian artist John Roger Holte has crafted a platform and storage for the incenses out of coloured concrete. This habit relates to the history of the valley as an important Buddhist retreat. There used to be many temples situated on the mountain area, only few of which are left today. However, I was told that there are even older shamanistic rituals left, and services available if needed.

Main building materials are steel and wood. Concrete has been used to cellar and foundation. Openings are covered with safety glass, floors with jade and marble gravel, different stone type and colour in each space.

Seoul is an immense urban area the fast growing of which is visible in the condition of the surroundings. Constant noise, packed motorways, endless rows of cloned blocks of flats and ever prevailing grey smog create a tough place for living things. I hope this small building in the edge of the city and the forest would offer some contrasting atmosphere. If someone ever, walking by in an everyday hurry, decides to stop and sit down and allows silence to take over, lets thoughts wander, this work has reached its goal."

Credits: Quotes taken from this web-page.

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