“Public Art”

Creation of the Grand Paris Express endowment fund

On 17 May 2016, the Grand Paris Express endowment fund was born, a new body chaired by Remi Babinet (BETC) and co-founded by Xavier Lépine (La Française). The Grand Paris Express is a project to construct 200 km of metro lines and 68 new stations by 2030, making it an urban project that is “one of the most ambitious in Europe”. This project is accompanied by an artistic and cultural programme entrusted to Jérôme Sans (co-founder of the Palais de Tokyo) and José-Manuel Gonçalvès (director of the CENTQUATRE-Paris). The new endowment fund aims to gather private funds to support and develop the implementation of these artistic projects. The Grand Paris Express endowment fund was created by the Société du Grand Paris that manages this cultural project. According to Rémi Babinet, chairman of the new fund: “We’re getting the chance to experience an extraordinary adventure – the metamorphosis of our capital. A new scale, new routes, dynamics, projections, the future Grand Paris Express metro system will drive transformation never seen since the 19th century. It is primordial to make these stakes understood, to share them with inhabitants so that the project takes up its full social dimension. Thanks to creation, we’ll be able to collaborate, dialogue, shine – take part in bringing about a “post-ring road” culture and constructing the story of Grand...

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“Percent for Art”: Public art in New York

The Long Island City municipal council has recently passed a bill, signed by Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York, which will allow the city to reform its “Percent for Art” programme, currently unchanged since 1982. The bill came into being as a result of the controversial public sculpture, entitled Sunbather, by Israeli artist Ohad Meromi, which was due to go on display in Long Island City in 2016, but was met with a great deal of criticism from locals, who were informed neither of the plans for the project, nor its cost, a staggering $515,000. The aim of the recent bill is, therefore, to inform locals, via the website of the Department of Culture, of plans for public art installations in the city. In so doing, lawmakers hope to enable residents to provide feedback to the selection committee, which they will have the opportunity to do during two public meetings which will take place in the early stages of projects. Jimmy van Bramer, the New York municipal councillor responsible for spearheading the bill has said: “Ultimately, you build more support for the Percent for Art Program and more support for public art when you engage the community,” adding “People are asking, ‘Just include me in a meaningful way.’ ” Originally introduced by former mayor of New York Edward I. Koch in 1982, “Percent for Art” has since taken off in a number of other US cities. Today, the programme represents New York’s most important public art fund since the Great Depression. Organised by the New York Department of Culture, the programme has funded hundreds of in-situ projects in a variety of media, from paintings to sculptures, new media works to light installations, and mosaics to glass and textile works. Such works have appeared across the city, showcased in parks,...

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Alexandra Pirici to perform her Monument to Work in Göteborg

From 28 until 31 May 2015, the artist Alexandra Pirici is presenting her living sculpture Monument to Work, commissioned by the government agency Public Art Agency Sweden. This performance is to be given for the first time in Göteborg, a city distinguished by the importance of its past and its industrial heritage. Alexandra Pirici has drawn inspiration for the choreography of the performers in Monument to Work from the rhythmic sequence of movements that have marked the days of industrial workers from the 1970s to the present day. She is especially interested in the transition between industrial society and the post-industrial economy, as well as its effects on the human body as a tool. Her creative process is based in part on the numerous interviews she has conducted with industrial workers of different generations, concerning the movements they carried out over the course of their working lives. These interviews were organised in close collaboration with the workers’ union Verkstadsklubben at the ball bearing factory SKF, in Göteborg. Alexandra Pirici currently lives and works in Bucharest. Although her initial training was anchored in the practice of choreography, she developed into a truly interdisciplinary artist, involved in the fields of the visual arts, music, and film. She participated in the Romanian pavillion for the 55th Venice Biennale, with a project called An Immaterial Retrospective of the Venice Biennale, realised in collaboration with Manuel...

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New York residents have the right to reject unpopular public art

The residents of New York now have the right to complain about and block the installation of certain works of art in public spaces of the city, as a result of a new bill voted in by the municipal council, DNA Info has reported. “My bill aims to enhance the Percent for Art program [the law which requires that one percent of the budget for construction projects be spent on public art] by giving New Yorkers the ability to have a greater role in selecting public art projects that truly reflect the diversity of our city,” stated Jimmy Van Bramer, the councillor of Long Island City who introduced the bill. From now on, before being approved, works of art will be presented to the city’s residents for their approval. The bill was inspired by Israeli artist Ohan Meromi’s eight-foot-tall pink sculpture, that was to be constructed in Long Island City in 2016, and which was strongly criticised by the city’s residents. The bill has not yet been signed by the Mayor of New York, Bill de...

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Florentijn Hofman reveals his latest sculpture

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman has unveiled his latest sculpture for the Mid-Autumn (Moon) Festival in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan. Following on from his recent giant rubber duck and hippopotamus, the artist has chosen to create a white rabbit bearing the title of  Moon Rabbit. The rabbit is more than 25 metres tall and is made of wood, polystyrene and waterproof paper material. It was inspired by a Chinese folk story about a goddess who lived on the moon with a rabbit who made her an elixir of eternal youth. According to event organisers, “Hofman said he felt the rabbit might need to take a break after working on the moon for thousands of years.” The work has already overshadowed other pieces in the fair and drew 350,000 visitors on Monday alone. The rabbit will not travel as widely as the famous Rubber Duck, which visited 19 towns in 11 countries; Moon Rabbit will instead remain in Taiwan after the...

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