Sculpture and Cities

Sculpture and Cities

Vol 20 no 4, 2000


Focus on new art in public places around Australia, problems and possible solutions. Commissions that have been successes and failures. Sydney Olympic commissions. Also update on four artists, Frank Bauer, Victor Meertens, Asher Bilu, and Jim Paterson. Interviews with Peter Sellars on a radical Adelaide Festival, with Mark Fitz-Gerald on Viscopy the artists' copyright collection agency. Challenge to auction houses. Donald Brook on why art has no history. Reviews


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You are here » Artlink » Vol 20 no 4, 2000 » Vis.Arts.Online

Vis.Arts.Online

Ruth Fazakerley, vis.arts.online



Trying to find out what's happening in the world of public art and design, who's doing what to whom, always seems to bring up the same few publications or sources of information as a starting point. This is also true of searching the internet, where the same public art sites crop up as a repetitive cycle of links. In part, the popularity of these sites arises from a degree of longevity and an openness to dialogue, allowing an evolving complexity of information and networks.

It's hard to go past the Public Art Observatory, Barcelona (http://www.ub.es/escult/1.htm), the Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University (http://www.shu.ac.uk/services/lc/slidecol/pubart.shtml), and the more recent Public Art Online, from South West Arts UK (http://www.publicartonline.org.uk). Art-Public, Paris (http://www.art-public.com) and the Center for Contemporary Arts, Prague (formerly the Soros Center, http://www.fcca.cz/newsite), have recently had much appreciated site reconstructions, making repeat visits worthwhile at last. The ongoing maintenance and development of public art websites is becoming an increasingly important issue to address.

At the Australasian level, most websites are associated with a particular company, organisation, agency or funding body, and the majority of content deals with associated services and/or project documentation, rather than with the broad field of 'public art and design' itself as found in some international examples..

Public Art Agency
http://www.arts.qld.gov.au/publicartagency
Public Art Agency is a fee for service agency with the brief to implement the Queensland Government's 1999 Art Built-in Policy. The website provides a concise outline of the workings of the percent for art scheme (which directs 2% of eligible capital works building budgets towards the integration of art and design), access to comprehensive policy and guidelines, and FAQs for artists and project managers. PAA also manage a range of programs of assistance designed to encourage integrated art and design and provide opportunities and support for young artists. The website has not so far documented Agency activities and outcomes for specific projects, although a link is provided to Brisbane's Roma Street Parkland project (http://www.romastreetparkland.com), in which the PAA is playing a role in the provision of public art.

ArtSource
http://www.artsource.net.au
ArtSource, the Artists' Agency of Western Australia, is an offshoot of the Artists' Foundation of WA, and a designated 'Preferred Provider' of art and craft by the State Government. The website serves as an extended brochure and contact point for the agency, promoting its range of fee attracting services (advocacy and artist referral, project management, publications and slide kit sales). WA artists are charged an annual membership fee to register with the artists' database, which is in turn promoted to clients seeking to employ artists. Selected opportunities, such as State Government Percent for Art projects, are posted on the website. A useful primer of types of public art and suggestions for funding sources for WA public art projects also appear.

The Oblique Trust
http://www.oblique.org.nz
A New Zealand based charitable trust, this aims to initiate and coordinate public and non-institutional art projects, including site specific installation, print and audio publications, and web based projects. The website provides documentation of past projects (eg Otira: 30 local and international artists occupied the ghost town Otira for one month in early 1999, producing site-specific installation, video and performance works). The website also provides details of an ongoing project Kiosk, a permanent street location of temporary public art in Christchurch. Jointly curated with the Physics Room (http://www.physicsroom.org.nz), the project is also calling for proposals.

Platform Artists Group Inc
http://home.vicnet.net.au/~platform/
Coordinated by Richard Holt & Andrew Seward, this group has established and maintained the Platform, Platform2 (and Tunnel Channel) projects of temporary artwork in the Spencer and Flinders Street Railway Stations, Melbourne. The website has its quota of expected useful information (program schedule, floor plans, proposals information and contact details), with the addition of some meatier links to sites dealing with public art, issues and projects. Photographic images on the site mainly give an indication of the kinds of projects undertaken, and a sense of the spaces involved, rather than documenting the artworks (with the accompanying note that a physical archive is available for access in the Platform office).

Denton Corker Marshall Group
http://www.dcm-group.com/
Worth a look for the online portfolio of projects (both national and international) from the architectural firm responsible for, among other things, the Melbourne City Gateway, Southbank's Grand Arbour (Brisbane), the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and the Museum of Sydney. Photographic images and text are provided for selected projects, with more detailed panorama, animation, plans and elevations available in some instances.


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