“Not only a spatial construct.”

April 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm 1 comment

Jennifer Geigel Mikulay is an assistant professor of public art, visual culture, and museum studies. She’s also one of the key people behind Wikipedia Saves Public Art (WSPA), an online effort to document and generally raise awareness about public art. Based on the 20-year old Save Outdoor Sculpture! model, WSPA started as a class project and now supports the digital documentation of public art on a potentially global scale.

Public art’s importance outside of its physical presence has been acknowledged (and debated) since before Wikipedia existed. In Artforum‘s December 1988 issue, Patricia Phillips wrote an article called Out of Order: The Public Art Machine (PDF with intro) that insightfully defended the non-physical significance of public art. One of my favorite quotes from it, also included on Mikulay’s home page, is April 17’s daily design idea:

“Therefore, the public is not only a spatial construct. And thus a truly public art will derive its “publicness” not from its location, but from the nature of its engagment with the congested, cacophonous intersections of personal interests, collective values, social issues, political events, and wider cultural patterns that mark out our civic life.”


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Physical pixels. Celebrate with yellow.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Inevitable controversy? « Daily Design Idea  |  June 7, 2010 at 10:05 am

    […] 5, 2010 As public art becomes increasingly well documented (note, for example, the efforts of WSPA and Exit Through the Gift Shop), I have to wonder if its commission, perceived quality, and overall […]


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