What is the function of art in public places?
Art in public spaces is sometimes, but not always, civic in nature. There are countless and diverse reasons why people create art that is widely accessible to urban populations. Those reasons are often bound up with the specifics of the site and the identity of the population for which the work is made, as these two examples demonstrate.
Questions to Consider
- The Gates was set up in a public park. Verrocchio’s equestrian monument depicting Bartolomeo Colleoni was erected in a public square. How do you think each of these works responds to its particular environment? How might the environment have influenced a viewer’s experience of the work in twenty-first-century New York and fifteenth-century Venice, respectively?
- One of the works might be described as abstract or conceptual in nature. The other is figurative. How does the form of each further its intended meaning and purpose?
- The Gates is part of a centuries-long tradition of art in the public sphere to which the Equestrian Monument of Colleoni also belongs. How do you think that The Gates responds directly or indirectly to this tradition? Do you think this work could have been created in the fifteenth century? Why or why not?
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