DOES PUBLIC ART HAVE TO BE BAD ART?
The aim of this topical issue is to explore diverse perspectives and recurring problems in the area of public art. By public art we mean, among other things, civic and institutionally commissioned works that are placed in public places such as community squares and plazas, as well as works that claim to explain or commemorate the spaces in which they appear. Background controversies are familiar debates about the use or misuse of public funds, the alleged elitism of commissioning committees, and the difficulties of art’s relation to its own site(s). A case such as Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc might serve here as an example that gathers most of the relevant themes into one example. There is of course a great deal of discourse on the question of public art in general; the aim of our deliberately provocative question in the call for papers is to isolate the specifically controversial status of public art. This in turn highlights the status of public spaces, and thus offers an especially urgent version of the always vexed relation between art and politics.
Among the topics we seek to explore are:
- What makes public art public; the range of ‘publics’;
- The economics and politics of commissioning and installing civic art;
- Notions of philistinism and elitism in debates about public art;
- How art relates to place and space; questions of site and influence;
- Controversies concerning civic or cultural identity in public art; ideas of memory, identity, ethnicity, indigeneity, etc.;
- The very idea of public spaces as shared spaces.
Authors publishing their articles in the special issue will benefit from:
- transparent, comprehensive and fast peer review,
- efficient route to fast-track publication and full advantage of De Gruyter's e-technology,
- free language assistance for authors from non-English speaking regions,
- no publishing fees.