Sunday 20 October, 12.15pm until 1.15pm, Garden Room Artistic Battles
From the Fourth Plinth’s ‘blue cock’ to Mark Wallinger’s ‘White Horse at Ebbsfleet’ and Art Everywhere’s plan to turn the UK’s public spaces into ‘the world’s largest art gallery’ there is no shortage of ambitious public art programmes. Yet while such projects seem to generate enthusiasm among local authorities and the arts world, sceptics believe they leave the intended audience – the public – feeling a mixture of bemusement, indifference and outright hostility. Is public art rarely more than a vanity project for those involved, reducing art to the same bracket as other civic amenities? Should genuinely public art be funded by voluntary subscription rather than tax-payers’ money? Or does state-funded public art provide a vital function in engaging those who rarely venture into galleries and enliven otherwise drab public spaces? Do such projects risk insulting the public by assuming that their indifference to art is because they’re too lazy to venture into a gallery or can only enjoy art that is directly aimed at them? Or do they affirm an important commitment to providing art for all?
director, civil liberties group, Manifesto Club; author, Officious: Rise of the Busybody State
freelance writer; visual arts editor, The Arts Desk
Dr Wendy Earle
impact development officer, Birkbeck, University of London; convenor, Academy of Ideas Arts and Society Forum
Project launched in shopping mall displays artists' most popular works on bus stops and tube stationsCaroline Davies, Guardian, 8 August 2013
The Art Everywhere plan to plaster art on UK billboards is more about public relations than public art.Wendy Earle, spiked, 11 June 2013
It's courted controversy in the past, but the ICA’s new show makes a stand for the Plinth’s cultural significance.Charlotte Simmonds, New Statesman, 7 December 2012
He has dressed in a bear suit, built a brick wall, and in his new show at the Baltic he has a bizarre self-portrait. The artist explains why to Hannah DuguidHannah Duguid, Independent, 9 June 2012
Public art is once again in the forefront of people's minds with the upcoming Olympics in London.Theodora Clarke, Huffington Post, 5 May 2012
The nation's roundabouts, malls, town squares and office developments are richly festooned with works of art. Here are our critic's favouritesRowan Moore, Guardian, 18 April 2012
In the last two decades, innovative forms of public art have created new dimensions to the urban landscape and played a role in the design or re-design of urban spaces.Jonathan Vickery, Public Art Online, 21 March 2012
Politicians and policy-makers take every opportunity to talk up the arts' importance to society...the arts are now not only good in themselves, but are valued for their contribution to the economy, urban regeneration and social inclusion.
Munira Mirza (ed.), Policy Exchange, 3 January 2007
After introducing and analysing the main assumptions that lie behind claims and criticisms regarding the social engagement of the arts in urban regeneration, this paper draws on empirical material collected in Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead (UK) to shed light on the main problems of integrating artworks, place-making and social policies within urban regeneration initiatives.Chiara Tornaghi, Newcastle University,