Critical Issues in Public Art

Critical Issues in Public Art is a lecture series that examines conditions that apply to art in the public realm.

Critical Issues in Public Art season III

Critical Issues in Public Art season II

In season II of our lecture series we take a closer look at the North American tradition of “Public Practice”. In particular, we will examine how this tradition overlaps with, but is also distinct from, the Western European orientation. We will discuss the renewed interest in materiality, the tactile, and craft traditions in contemporary art practice. How does this tendency relate to the trend towards “social engagement” that was so characteristic of the art of the 1990s and 2000s? The use of relational and participation-based strategies, often referred to as “art as social practice”, has been viewed as the adequate critical response to the consumer-orientation of Western culture. The renewed interest in forms of art that are, if not exactly object-based, then at least concerned with materiality and craft traditions, seems to mark a new point of departure. Ever since Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev’s dOCUMENTA (13), numerous major exhibitions have claimed the critical potential of this new tendency. In the light of this new direction in contemporary art practice, the lecture series will examine the following questions: What is implied in the reintroduction of the concepts of materiality, the tactile object, and the idea of autonomous into the discourse of public art? What conditions apply to critical art practice in the public realm? What role should art play in our public space?


19/11 2014   Nato Thompson Sjefskurator Creative Time, New York City
04/12 2014   Apolonija Šušteršič Professor Art and Public Space, KhiO
05/02 2015   Oslo Pilot by curator Eva Gonzales-Sancho and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk
02/03 2015   Suzanne Lacy artist
March 2015   Jeremy Deller artist (postponed)
14/04 2015   Maria Lind Director Tensta Kunsthall
20/05 2015   Andrea Phillips Director for PhD-programme at The Art Department, Goldsmiths
18/06 2015   Mary Jane Jacob Professor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Critical Issues in Public Art season II is curated by
Trude Schjelderup Iversen and Nora C. Nerdrum, KORO

Critical Issues in Public Art sEASON I

The lecture series Critical Issues in Public Art is a part of Public Art Norway ’s focus on knowledge production in our field where we initiate and develop lectures, workshops and publications that discuss current issues. As a little national “giant” when it comes to commissioning public art works, we see there is an urgent need to rethink many of the strategies and policies in this production:

The question of representation, financial structures and artistic sensibility versus public frameworks. The recurring debates on art in the public sphere demonstrate the need to facilitate the discussions about possibilities and preconditions of art in public spaces. The debate is often raised to a principal level; lifted out of the realm of the self-referential field of art and into the political and public sphere.

It is in this context that we seek to establish a dialogue and reflection in the form of a lecture series that add resses those processes and questions raised by public art. We have invited actors within the norwegian and international field of art, who through their practise thematise and discuss questions tied to art in public spaces. As a means to reinforce the conversation, we have invited artists,

theoreticians, critics and curators to prepare questions and short contributions to each lecture. The series will focus on the following questions: What is Public Art today? Which publics are we talking about? How do we develop critical tools for the interpretation of art in public space? Do artists understand public art commissions different from other artistic practices? How do we ensure the artistic sensibility to current interests in public art? Why is this production financed the way it is?

Critical Issues in Public Art Season I was curated by Trude Schjelderup Iversen and Ruth Hege Halstensen, KORO.