Public Art: Theory, Practice and Populism

Public Art: Theory, Practice and Populism

by Cher Krause Knight

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This book takes a bold look at public art and its populist appeal, offering a more inclusive guide to America's creative tastes and shared culture. It examines the history of American public art – from FDR's New Deal to Christo's The Gates – and challenges preconceived notions of public art, expanding its definition to include a broader scope of works and concepts.
  • Expands the definition of public art to include sites such as Boston's Big Dig, Las Vegas' Treasure Island, and Disney World
  • Offers a refreshing alternative to the traditional rhetoric and criticism surrounding public art
  • Includes insightful analysis of the museum and its role in relation to public art

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781444360615
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 09/23/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Cher Krause Knight is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston. She has published her work in Visual Resources, the Journal of American and Comparative Cultures, Analecta Husserliana: The Yearbook of Phenomenological Research, and American Art Review, as well as in the anthologies Reclaiming the Spiritual in Art: Contemporary Cross-Cultural Perspectives, and Blaze: Discourse on Art, Women and Feminism.

Table of Contents




1. Introduction: A Short History of the United States’ “Official” Public Art.

Roosevelt’s New Deal.

General Services Administration’s Art-in Architecture Program.

National Endowment for the Arts’ Art-in-Public-Places Program.

2. Conventional Wisdom: Populist Intentions within Established Paradigms.

Art as Monument, Art as Memorial.

Art as Amenity.

Art in the Park, Art as the Park.

Art as the Agora.

Art as Pilgrimage.

3. Culture to Go: From Art World to The World.

What Museums Do for Us.

My Museum.

Education, Outreach, Programming.

The Alternative Museum/Alternatives to Museums.

4. Not Quite “Art,” Not Quite “Public”: Lessons from the Private Sector.

The Art of Entertainment.

This is Special, I am Special.

Open Pocketbook, Open Agenda?.

Embracing Spectacle.

5. Super Viewer: Increasing Individual Agency on the Public Art Front.

Power to the People.

Claiming Space and Place.

Dig In.

6. Conclusion: Art for All?.

The Trouble with (Re)Development.

Nonprofits and the Ephemeral Idyll.

Back to School.

Grieving Loss, Remembering Life.

Two Tales in One City.



What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Cher Knight situates public art in a continuum of visual experience that includes museums, earthworks and Las Vegas. Embracing spectacle and popular engagement, she expands existing parameters to make public art both more provocative and more truly public."
Dr. Harriet F. Senie, author of Contemporary Public Sculpture; The 'Tilted Arc' Controversy; and co-editor of Critical Issues in Public Art

"In this remarkable book, Cher Knight has done a splendid job of synthesizing current thinking on public art rightly concluding that in the modern world it is the public who awards value."
Dr. Sally Webster, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, Lehman College and the Graduate Center CUNY

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