Exploring Our Collective Memory Through 7 Types of Public Art

Public art is an essential part of our public history, culture, and collective memory. It reflects and reveals our society, adding meaning and purpose to our cities. As artists respond to our times, they express their inner vision in the outside world and chronicle our public experience. Mexican artists created a national identity that included the people's struggle for freedom, inspiring American artists to tell stories about the public struggle for good, as seen in works such as Charles White's public mural, Five Great American Negroes (1939-1940).Arlene Raven, art historian, critic and art curator, points out that these works are often temporary and leave marks on the hearts and minds of all those affected by the process, rather than simply leaving monuments in the middle of them.

Public art is a generic term that includes any work of art purchased with public funds or that goes into the public domain (through donation, public exhibition, etc.). The process, guided by professional experience and public participation, must seek the most imaginative and productive affinity between the artist and the community. Most of the public art that has survived since Antiquity consists of various types of stone work, that is, funerary monuments, statues, and other religious or architectural sculptures. Public art is art in any medium whose form, function and meaning are created for the general public through a public process. The Public Utteraton Machines records people's opinions about other works of public art in New York, such as Split Rocker by Jeff Koon, and shows the answers on the Internet.

Therefore, as artist and critic Suzi Gablik states, it seems that participatory art aims to react against neoliberalism, advocating greater consideration for the community, communalism and the public interest rather than individualism and privatization. In addition, the public art discourse went from a national to a local level, in line with the site-specific tendency and the criticism of institutional exhibition spaces that arise in contemporary artistic practices. Possibly the most innovative form of public art of the 20th century is Land Art. This type of art is exemplified in monumental earthworks such as Spiral Jetty created in Utah (1970) by Robert Smithson or Christo and Jeanne-Claude's encirclement of eleven Florida islands with pink cloth (198). In response to growing ecological concerns, terrestrial artists chose to create site-specific works that not only highlighted the threat of these problems but also employed carefully selected sites and natural (often living) materials rather than simply installing artificial artificial materials (constructions) in public spaces. The main underlying trend that defines a work as street art or graffiti is its illegal and unauthorized creation in public space.

This term derived from the Italian word “graffio” which means “scratch” refers to illicit “street art” sprayed or painted on buildings in urban public areas by independent “street artists”. Phillips says that due to restrictions on where art can appear many public art projects are mainly focused on for-profit market objectives and on mere beautification rather than on a deeper questioning of urban citizenship and space. In the United States unlike works of art from galleries studios or museums which can be transferred or sold public art is legally protected by the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) which requires an official disengagement process for sale or withdrawal.

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