Artist and architect Amanda Williams likely never expected her public art project Color(ed) Theory, for which she surreptitiously painted the exteriors of condemned houses in largely vacant Chicago neighborhoods, to garner significant attention. But in 2015, the Chicago Architectural Biennial highlighted the ongoing project, suddenly giving it a platform with international reach. In her first solo exhibition, Color(ed) Theory is featured alongside other recent multimedia works by Williams at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Continue reading
Struggling up the hillside in 100 degree temperatures, I peered through the dusty firs and pines, to see a small cluster of birch trees. If they appear out of place even within the variety of species represented in the Hoyt Arboretum in Portland, Oregon, that is because they are— these trees are part of a living sculpture called House for Summer created by artist Helen Lessick. Continue reading
Few cities do public art as well as Chicago. Place the point of a giant compass at the intersection of State and Madison, and a circle with a radius of about 1,000 yards will encompass works by Calder, Picasso, Dubuffet, Chagall, Miro, Richard Hunt, Jaume Plensa and Anish Kapoor. Through April 2018, a public installation of sculptures by artist Chakaia Booker fills the Boeing Gallery, a comfortably shaded outdoor promenade that runs the length of Chicago’s Millennium Park. These seven steel and rubber sculptures manage to remain lighthearted and invitingly interactive, though much of Chakaia Booker’s oeuvre is freighted with poignant allusions to race, class, and social mobility. Continue reading
Nature is inspiration to many artists. But while natural form has inspired generations of artists, today many are finding source material not purely within the plants and animals, the leaves and seeds, flowers and rocks that we think of immediately when we consider the definition of “nature.” More and more commonly, artists are drawn to the juxtaposition between the natural world and the human world. Continue reading
The billboard project does not have the conventional markers of public art. It’s not put out to tender, heavily funded or permanently sited; the images that temporarily dot the roads of East Belfast are not even made with this format or their location in mind. Instead, they are snapshots of artists’ practices, blown up and quietly slipped into the public sphere for a few weeks at a time. Continue reading
I want to talk a bit about context – specifically, what sculpture can do to our experiences and expectations of public and private spaces. It’s all about shape-shifting.
I’m drawn back to this because of an exhibition recently opened at the Maclaren Art Centre in the city of Barrie, Ontario, just north of Toronto. Laura Moore’s One Man’s Junk is a seemingly simple and understated installation: essentially a wooden shipping pallet carefully stacked with a number of carved limestone sculptures – 1:1 scale – of old cathode-ray tube computer monitors. The contextual part of this has to do with the work’s placement in a small, interior courtyard at the gallery that is shared with an adjacent café. There are plants in concrete containers, and a few tables and chairs. Moore’s work sits off to one side atop a concrete slab. Continue reading
This sculpture park took shape around 14,000 years ago, when a retreating glacier raked out the vistas and hills that now comprise the rugged terrain of the Legacy Art Park, a thirty-acre patch of earth not far from Michigan’s famous Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. But credit certainly also goes to the late David Barr, a visionary sculptor and poet, who had the tenacity to found an art park and educational center in which contemporary sculpture could unobtrusively integrate into nature. Continue reading