General definition :
The general definition of Public Art describes a piece of art that has been created to be exposed in a public area. It could be any type of art, or any technique, the only rule is that it has to be exposed in a public place.
The relationship between the content and the audience is very important because this piece of art become part of the environment the audience lives in. The audience is so part of the art itself because it changes depending of where the audience look at the piece of art, the different angles.
So the physical location needs to be chosen with care because it will definite what the art is saying and to whom.
Being exposed outside means that the piece of art is going to be at risk at the weather and its changing. That's why the choice of material became very important.
If we think about it, it is a concept that exist since ages because in the 16th century they were exposing sculpture outside to decorate the environment. But of course what we think about when we say Public Art has evolved with the time. This is not about academical sculpture anymore but more about contemporary art.
Public Art is an other dimension of the art. Exposing outside is not a naive act. It could be to use the characteristics of it (kinetic art), highlighted it (land art), delivering a message that could be seen by everybody (street art)...
LAND ART :
The land art is an artistic movement which is definite by the use of natural material and also natural physical location. The aim of it is to create art in the nature, with the nature and let this nature appropriate the work in destroying it with the time. This is a public ephemeral art.
Goldwothy, land artist :
The physical location and the shape of this art is very important because it definite the piece of art. For example in the third image the reflection is used to finish the work. All those installations are aimed at laying an emphasis on the characteristics of the environment. So the environment is used as a location to be highlighted.
Calligraffiti by El Seed :
The calligraffiti has been invented by El Seed himself. It is a mix of arabic calligraphy and classic graffiti. He wants his arabic culture to be accepted in the Occident, that's his message. He writes specific things in his graffiti, for example, in this orange one it is written (originally in french) : "The shape of a city changes faster than the heart of a human being" quoted from a poem of Victor Hugo.
The art of El Seed is part of the street art and so the public art and it is very personal.
REFERENT ARTIST :
Some artists are very famous almost for their public art.
Richard Serra :
Richard Serra is one of the preeminent American artists and sculptors of the post- period. Beginning in the late 1960s to the present, his work has played a major role in advancing the tradition of modern abstract sculpture in the aftermath of . His work draws new, widespread attention to sculpture's potential for experience by viewers in both physical and visual terms, no less often within a site-specific, if not highly public setting.
He had intended to demonstrate how sculpture and its materials could stand for themselves, or not be forced to serve as vehicles for articulating an artist's emotional and intellectual life. Serra took up that contemporary heritage, one suggesting that the human body itself no longer had a place in painting or sculpture, and returned to it something of the human body's stature. He explored how an art work might relate intimately to a specific setting; how it might take up a physical as well as a visual relationship to a viewer; and how it might create spaces (or environments) in which a viewer can experience universal qualities of weight, gravity, agility, and even a kind of meditative repose.
Serra's concern with the implicit relationship between his sculpture's conception and its intended site has led directly to a new international discourse (often a heated one) regarding the role and governance of art in public spaces such as municipal parks, corporate plazas, and memorial sites - where the work of art might virtuallyinterrupt viewers' daily routines in ways that are not necessarily universally welcomed among a given community. Serra's sculpture indeed suggests that art should be something "participatory" in modern society, that is, a gesture, or physical insertion into everyday life, not something confined to a cloistered museum space.
"I consider space to be a material. The articulation of space has come to take precedence over other concerns. I attempt to use sculptural form to make space distinct."
The shape of this sculpture is very simple but Serra has succeed to make it complicated because nothing hold it, those three pieces are "autonomous". The material is waterproof steel which proof that Serra pay attention to the physical location because he is aware that steel rust with the time.
Nancy Holt :
Nancy Holt (April 5, 1938 – February 8, 2014) was an American artist most known for her public sculpture, installation and land art.
Holt’s works of art often deal with issues of how people perceive time and space. The various monumental works she created blend with and complement their environment.
Holt’s works incorporate the passage of time and also function to keep time. For example, Annual Ring functions so that when sunlight falls through the hole in the dome and fits perfectly into a ring on the ground, it is solar noon on the summer solstice. At different times, the sun falls differently on the work and other holes in the dome align with celestial occurrences. Holt has said that she is concerned with making art that not only makes an impact visually, but is also functional and necessary in society, as seen in works like Sky Mound, which serves a dual function as a sculpture and park and it also generates alternative energy.
In her works, Holt created an intimate connection to nature and the stars, saying, "I feel that the need to look at the sky-at the moon and the stars-is very basic, and it is inside all of us. So when I say my work is an exteriorization of my own inner reality, I mean I am giving back to people through art what they already have in them."
Sun tunnel by Nancy Holt :
Sun Tunnels is an artwork by Nancy Holt, completed in 1976, consisting of four large concrete tubes, laid out in the desert in an open X configuration. The nine foot diameter, 18 foot-long tunnels are pierced by holes of varying size that correspond with the pattern of selected celestial constellations. There is a tunnel for Draco, Perseus, Columba and Capricorn. The tunnels line up with the rising and falling sun of the summer and winter solstices.
They are situated in The land which is in the Great Basin Desert in northwestern Utah, about four miles southeast of Lucan (pop. ten) and nine miles east of the Nevada border.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude :
Christo andJeanne-Claude were a married couple who created environmental works of art. Christo Yavachev is Bulgarian born and Jeanne-Claude was born in Morocco. Their works include the wrapping of the Reichtag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, the 24-mile (39 km)-long artwork called Running Fence in Somona and Marin counties in California, and The Gates in New York City's Central Park.
Le Pont-Neuf by Christo :
Reichtag by Christo :
The policy of this couple for the wrapped pieces of art is "hiding for better seeing". They packed monument that we forget to look at because they are part of the landscape since a long time. So they hide them in order to change the landscape and so we notice the difference and we will look at them after they've been "hide".
KINETIC ART :
The Kinetic Art is an art that focuses more on the concept of the movement than the physical appearance. Obviously because "kinetic" means movement.
The conception of a kinetic piece of art incorporates the movement in it. Could be the movement of the natural light or the one of the audience itself for example. Which means that the piece of art is changing which is the main characteristic of a kinetic piece of art.
In the definition of Kinetic Art it is not said that it has to be exposed outside but most of the time it is the case because the natural changing of the outside is a really interesting to work with when you're a kinetically artist.
Piotr Kowalski, Arche :
This arch is a Kinetic piece of art because the changing of the light changes the color of it, the reflection in the water finish the half-circle to a entire one. Which means that the location has been chosen with real care because the shape of a circle is the symbol of perfection. So thanks to the reflection, this piece of art change its meaning. Also, the audience can walk around it and so see it through different angles and so see it with different shapes which changes again the meaning of it.
This is part of what Public Art is because of it physical location.
Kinetic Art : Calder, Horizontal :
Horizontal has been made by Alexander Calder in 1974. It is located in front of the "centre George Pompidou" in Paris. Even if this location is ephemeral, it is not a coincidence. This place is very busy all the time. This piece of art is a mobile which is a study of the balance thanks to the colors and the shape of it because it is movable thanks to the force of the wind. So the shape of the little metallic pieces is very important because it definite the balance of it. Shape, colors and external effect (wind) are the three important things in this kinetic piece of art.
SREET ART :
Thinking about public art, it is not possible to skip the street art. Which has in his name the proof of being a public art with "street". The street art is more about provoking than the others public arts. Because people are acting on public walls without permission just to be heard. They think that if it is illegal, people will care about it and try to find the responsible and so the artist feels that someone pays attention to him, street art could be considered as an S.O.S.
There are several kind of street art : pixadoes (Mexico), Calligrafitty (El Seed)....but they all have a common point : they deliver a message.
Stencil by Banksy :
This graffiti is a parody of a very famous canvas of Vermeer, girl with a pearl hearing.
This has been made by the very famous street artist Banksy. This piece of art is using its physical location because Banksy has replaced the pearl hearing by the fire alarm which was already there.
The message delivered is not very clear for me, but it seems to be a warn.
Anyway, it shows how the street art is a Public art by using public location and what is interesting in.
Richard Serra "Sight Point (for Leo Castelli)" :
Annual Ring by Nancy Holt :
Sun tunnels by Nancy Holt :
Those tunnels are the perfect example to show how the public art is at the service of the audience because they have been used for the "Dogtown, Z-boys" movie as a skateboard ramp.