Direct Your Public Art Budget to Blank Walls

Employ artistic talent strategically
  • Jeff Speck


IT WOULD BE NICE to think that the era of “plop art” is behind us. For a few decades, starting in the mid-1960s, the inscrutable sculpture dropped on the plaza was the dominant form of public art. The rise of “1% for Art” programs nationally, while a wonderful trend, unfortunately reinforced this approach, since architects found it so much easier to exile the art to the landscape rather than to involve artists in the building design process. Notable exceptions could be found at the US General Service Administration, which in the past has done a great job of getting architects and artists to collaborate. But, in most places—acknowledging the success of a few Calders and Oldenburgs—these investments, speaking to a small audience of connoisseurs, did little to enliven the places around them.

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© Jeff Speck 2018

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  • Jeff Speck

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