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FREE- Public Perception and Investment in US Public Art

Public Perception and Investment

 

The growth of public sculpture and installation has happened with private funding in the United States.  The Public Art Fund in NYC has been doing amazing projects along all parts of the island of Manhattan and the fringes of its boroughs.  The name would lead you to believe this is a publicly funded operation.  It is not!  The fall of the NEA lead to a major marriage between art and industry.  The CEO’s of the industries also became the leading collectors of Art News profiles.  Some of the biggest collectors and supporters have been: The Gap, Enron, Progressive Insurance, Citibank and plenty more.  Yes the work landed in the public through the private funding of non profit projects in the public realm.  The realization of many projects we have learned about have only been possible with large private investment.  Yes the government partially supports some of the projects, but it was the overwhelming support from the private sector that supported a much larger percentage.  It should also be noted that this same network of investors have been leaders on the boards of a great many museums in the US and abroad.

 

I find it funny that you blame the art press.  They are guided by their advertising dollars and that comes in from the private sector.  The main mission is to review current exhibitions in galleries, the related artists and concepts in the museums and the occasional profile on private collectors.  The direction for exposure and critique is best left to groups like The New York Times.  This is a solid network of informed journalists.  If there is a lack of exposed public sculptures in the press, I believe it is because there have been few realized in the past decades.  At this time there is a big paradigm shift and I will assure you that it will bring a great increase in exposure to brilliant public installations and sculptures.  

 

let’s talk about WOOD…

Martin Puryear. (American, born 1941). Untitled. 2001

I have not been able to shake the impression Martin Puryear’s survey show at MoMA, NYC had on me. I was educated in the 90’s art canon where youth and concept held vogue and the sculpted object and artists like Martin Puryear had many naysayers. I will set out in this essay to discuss the subjects of quality vs. quantity, craft, conceptualism, authorship and sustainability.

Martin Puryear’s work contains a confidence in form and finish while allowing its completed state to hold on to the organic. It becomes ‘timeless’ without diluting its core natural state of rough textures, shaped dimensional boards and muted colors from the landscape . There is no reason not to place it on the same museum floor as Brancusi’s ‘Bird in Space’ and the Futurist’s ‘Running Man’. Puryear looks to the object to sum up the whole of culture and ones placement in the built landscape.

We are in the 21st century, one might proclaim, and I feel this makes Puryear’s work stronger. Puryear is able to hold the chisel and be relevant in contemporary culture. He confronts the ‘Walmart’ attitude of this country with his quality over quantity. His chisel cuts through the current climate of art as Marcel DuChamp did with his early urinal as readymade.  Both utilitarian tools sculpt humanity into a manageable, viewable form that takes hold of history and the exhibition space.

 

Martin Puryear. (American, born 1941). Untitled. 2001