Other new forms of public art include “interactive” works of art which have become increasingly popular. My wife and I began giving foot washings and hugs to the public through a storefront we rented in the East 10th Street in New York City. That was, believe it or not, considered public art, and was included in the Whitney Biennial in New York. More and more nonprofit organizations and galleries are promoting performances as public art forms.
Performances as Public Art
I remember a piece where a woman was selected to create a work of public art for a plaza that would last for three weeks. In the plaza, she built a house the size of a small shed with a window and a ledge on which she could cool pies. On certain days of the week, she would bake pies and leave them out on the ledge. She wanted people to take them, to steal them, and that’s exactly what happened. It was like making a fairytale come to life. I used to go through a corporate lobby on a regular basis, and there were always new artworks on display. While some fit traditional mediums of sculpture or painting, there were interactive pieces as well. One that I liked was a row of very large wide-mouth bottles that contained soap bars in them, each embossed with a word like “greed” or “love.” The public was invited to take one, and it made me smile to see all the jars al- most empty every day.
Dance, Sculpture, and More
Interactive public art like the examples above keep growing and diversifying, and the term now includes dance performances and sculptures that you can interact with or climb on. But because works like this are hard to sell, they are often self-funded or funded by grant money. Still, they are a good way to get public recognition.
To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here. To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.