Cover image for Critical issues in public art : content, context, and controversy
Critical issues in public art : content, context, and controversy
Senie, Harriet F.
Publication Information:
Washington : Smithsonian Institution Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xvii, 314 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York : IconEditions, 1992. With rev. introd.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N8835 .C75 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In this groundbreaking anthology, twenty-two artists, architects, historians, critics, curators, and philosophers explore the role of public art in creating a national identity, contending that each work can only be understood by analyzing the context in which it is commissioned, built, and received. They emphasize the historical continuum between traditional works such as Mount Rushmore, the Washington Monument, and the New York Public Library lions, in addition to contemporary memorials such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Names Project AIDS Quilt. They discuss the influence of patronage on form and content, isolate the factors that precipitate controversy, and show how public art overtly and covertly conveys civic values and national culture.

Complete with an updated introduction, Critical Issues in Public Art shows how monuments, murals, memorials, and sculptures in public places are complex cultural achievements that must speak to increasingly diverse groups.

Author Notes

Harriet F. Senie is director of the museum studies program and a professor of art history at The City College, New York, and the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). She is the author of Contemporary Public Sculpture: Traditions, Transformation, and Controversy (1992).

Sally Webster is professor of art history at Lehman College, The Bronx, and at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of William Morris Hunt (1991).