Art in the Eastside – 20:20 Billboards

Tom Pfannerstill Sculpture

Tom Pfannerstill, Heads Installation. Photo by George Robb.

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

Shape-Shifting: The Need for Sculpture

Laura Moore Sculpture

Laura Moore, One Man’s Junk (installation photo by Paul Cimoroni)

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

Into the Woods

Michigan Legacy Art Park Sculpture

Fallen Comrade, 2009. Artist: David Greenwood. Photo courtesy of the Michigan Legacy Art Park

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

barrangal dyara (skin & bones) – Jonathan Jones, the artist as historian

Jonathan Jones Sculpture

Aboriginal agriculture: Bruce Pascoe and Jonathan Jones during the first Symposium Spot Fire 1: Landscape and Language. Photo: Kaldor Public Art Projects

We are the result of our history, there is no doubt about it, but this very fact also raises many questions that don’t meet an easy answer. Should we forget the past to move forward? Or we’d rather keep it present so that it sways our actions? In this context, the idea of art as a way of historical memory has been inarguable during centuries until the irruption of Abstract art deprived critics and public of any reference to past events. At present, artists collaborate with researchers from other disciplines; historians, archaeologists, sociologists -just to mention humanist disciplines- and adopt the role of a project manager who coordinates and merges all this information as part of the final work. Continue reading

Pokemon Go Finds Public Art

Pokemon Go Sculpture

Left: the infographics of the central panel of “Desert Feud” mural by D. Ross “Scribe” located at Foxx Equipment in Kansas City, Missouri. In many cases, the information given to viewers about a Pokestop is missing, incorrect or incomplete. After some simple research more information about the artist was located. Center: View of the area in the Pokemon Go app including “Desert Feud” as a Pokestop. Right: Image of “Desert Feud” by D. Ross “Scribe” in Kansas City.

It’s estimated that Pokemon Go has already peaked in users but some estimates put daily users still around 20 million in the United States alone. At the time of writing this, less than a month has passed since Niantic Labs, Pokemon and Nintendo dropped a bomb on the world in the form of the smartphone app and game. Nintendo’s stock prices have skyrocketed along with news stories involving the app and its users with buzzwords like “augmented reality” – the combination of a virtual world with the physical. Pokemon trainers, the term for people searching for Pokemon to capture and evolve, are easily spotted walking with faces in their cell phones or gathered around physical locations important to the game. The app has already displayed its great potential in exposing millions of new users to public art throughout the country and a possibility for significant cultural mapping systems used by artists, museum and municipalities. Continue reading

Magical Rabbit Sculptures from Down Under Appear in Boston for a fortnight

Amanda Parer Sculpture

Intrude by Amanda Parer Photo courtesy Ness Vanderburgh.

Boston is experiencing a bold moment for public art due to many long term planning projects coming to fruition and a new political climate that favors the arts. One example is the recent installation by the Australian artist, Amanda Parer. Her five monumental inflatable rabbit sculptures titled “Intrude” appeared in late July at the newly minted outdoor space, called the Lawn on D. Located in South Boston, adjacent to the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, this ArtLAB is fast becoming a go to place for pop up cultural life in the heart of the city. Continue reading

Metropolises of LA County

Robert Irwin Sculpture

Robert Irwin – Miracle Mile. Photo by Ian Abbott, Creative Commons Licensed

Somewhere in the labyrinthine center of Los Angeles sits the sprawling facilities of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A gorgeous complex, it is a rare bit of public space in the busy streets and closely spaced neighborhoods. But the LACMA is not a respite from LA. On the contrary, the permanent sculptural works on display represent the metropolis precisely. Continue reading