Public Art: Agency and Activism - The Feminist Art Project
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Public Art: Agency and Activism





Phone Number

(617) 965 6274


Karen Frostig





Departing from traditional forms of sculpture, the public works artist embraces a participatory, site-specific conceptualization of public works that is aligned with contemporary movements, such as fluxus, earthworks andperformance art. Combining history with theory and practice, students will learn about the genre of the public works artist at the end of the 20th and the start of the 21st century.

Over the course of a semester, students will be introduced to a spectrum of post-studio artists, whose work representsa commitment to instrumentalism over autonomous practice, and whose work joins artistic agency with communityactivism. Students will gain an understanding of how the public works artist migrates from a position of detachment to a position of engagement, examining the fruitful intersection of the social, political and historic realms of art making.

Students will be asked to research a public works artist and project, as well as develop a project proposal of their owndesign in response to a perceived community issue or need. Throughout the course, students will be invited to think imaginatively and critically about the changing role of artists in contemporary culture.


* To examine historical and critical perspectives to understand artistic practice in the 21st century.

* To differentiate “plop art,” art that is purely decorative and self-referential, to public works that grow out of civic
dialog and a sense of place.

* To engage in interdisciplinary, action-based, qualitative research to cultivate new ideas and methods of
interventions aimed at enhancing concepts of community within the urban landscape.



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