Forthcoming Special Issues:
Public Art and Sex(uality)
Submission Deadline: August 15, 2019
Guest Editor: Martin Zebracki
This is the first Public Art Dialogue issue to examine the unique relationship between art in the public realm, sexuality, and sex. Public art with sex(uality) aspects, such as the recent ‘queen’s vagina’ in Palace of Versailles gardens by Anish Kapoor and Paul McCarthy’s recurring inflatable ‘butt plug’, has met heated public resistance and social media hysteria. Public discourse and controversy about this category of public artwork often revolve around perceived (explicit) visual content, intentions of artists and commissioners, the ethics of commissioning and (lack of) public consultation and consent, and legitimacy informed by the timescale of the artwork (fleeting appearance vs. lasting legacy). Contributions are welcomed by scholars and professionals across all stages of career. Submissions may address multi-medial types of ‘sexualized’ public artworks in the past and present and particularly ask how they have drawn members of the public out of their comfort zone. Contributions may examine historic and contemporary contextualisations of engagement with public art and sexuality through off-and-online platforms of debate and contestation. How does public engagement challenge the powerful structures of the art world and the political sphere and give way to public agency; question sexual and especially heteropatriarchial normativities; and offer alternative readings of, and spaces for, sexual identity expressions and the radical ‘queerying’ thereof (i.e., queer citizenship)?
The Failure of Public Art
Submission Deadline: March 1, 2020
Co-Editors: Cameron Cartiere & Jennifer Wingate with guest co-editor Anthony Schrag
In honor of the 10th Anniversary of Public Art Dialogue journal, we dedicate this issue to reflections, observations and critical analysis on the failures—and perceived failures—of public and participatory art.
The history of public art is filled with controversial works, from Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc (1981-1989) and Antony Gormley’s The Angel of the North (1998), to innumerable commemorative works and historic monuments. What have we learned from projects that have not withstood the test of time, or perhaps, because of time, found their true relevance? Are monuments too often monumental failures, or are they opportunities to redefine our understanding of the ethics of representation? Public performance and participatory practices also have evolved under the umbrella of public art over the past several decades, but have our conceptions of participatory art gone unchallenged? If works are community-engaged, are they assumed to be ‘good’ because of their public nature? Art in the public realm also is hindered with the process of immediate evaluation: this often fiscally-mandated requirement to report results has propagated an overly positive emphasis on successes within public artworks and participatory projects. However, if we only celebrate our successes and continually deaccessioning our controversies, where is the learning? It is, in part, through failures that we are able to develop and grow as a field, but how can we do that if the failures are invisible? How can we develop deeper understandings of the practice if we are unable to see where it works, when it has transformed over time, and where it simply has failed?
Submissions may explore works within the full range of art in the public realm – sited sculptures, monuments and memorials, performative and participatory public projects, temporary and permanent works. Submissions might also address public art policies, commissioning trends, and historical re-evaluations.