Keep an eye out for our winter newsletter, which will feature stories on all of PAD’s activities at the upcoming 2022 CAA Conference. As in past years we will showcase the 2022 PAD Awardee, whom we will announce in the run-up to CAA. Abstracts of the presentations for the annual PAD session at CAA will also appear. For 2022 Leslie S. Markle and Tola C. Porter are chairing “Notions of Value in Public Art,” which promises to be thought-provoking and engaging:
A discourse regarding the value of public art may be framed by the Marxian terms use value and exchange value. Use value pertains to the human needs that public art fulfills such as inspiring individual curiosity and wonder, engendering civic engagement and community pride, and fostering a shared cultural heritage. Debates about whether public art’s value lies predominantly within the aesthetic realm or within the realm of social engagement bring other notions of use value to the assessment of public art. Exchange value, being monetarily based, defines public art by the dollar amount it would fetch on the market and contributes to claims of public art’s role in economic revitalization. When the focus on exchange value eclipses public art’s harder-to-define, yet more enriching use value, public audiences suffer. In 2018, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed to sell Kerry James Marshall’s public library mural, “Knowledge and Wonder,” enticed by the large profit the city could gain from the sale. He only withdrew the mural from auction after others mounted a public campaign that highlighted the long-term use value the mural sustains for everyday users of the library. We seek paper proposals that address the question of how public art connects to various notions of value as they pertain to larger political and social conditions in the United States and internationally. If public art is a sign of society’s investment in creating public value, in what ways can we work to define, explore, and recenter the human use value of public art?
In the meantime, revisit interviews with past PAD Awardees in our winter newsletter archive, which you may access via the drop-down menu at the top of this page. And remember that PAD members are invited to pitch pieces to the newsletter co-editors for our spring and fall issues to be published in May and October! For more information, hit “Contact” above and reach out.