THE QUESTION IS HOW YOU CAN TAKE ART OUT OF THE WORLD


Back about five years ago, when I migrated from urban planning to a focus on art in public places (not that far a migration, it turns out), a friend told me about a New Yorker article dating from the early 1990’s -- a profile of the artist Robert Irwin. Its title: “In a desert of pure feeling.” There’s much to dig into, but I’ll stick with this one, absolutely critical, point: he’s quoted as saying “I always make that distinction between public art and art in public places – it’s a question of where you put the emphasis, where you locate the source. The question is how you can take art out into the world” [my italics].

From that point I’ve tried to unpack the label “public art” and deliberately shine some light on the public (who’s the