Am very glad I switched from Life Drawing to Public Art. Spoke to Rita about it the other day, and she agreed that it was a good move for me too, so that's sweet as.
First Public art class was with Andrea Gardner, who is Brit Bunkley's partner - Brit is our usual sculpture tutor, but he was still in the states.
Andrea put together a slide show of Public artists, which was brilliant; she had a lot of information about each particular work as well as information about the artists themselves. She also briefly discussed her own practise, and showed us an image of a public art piece she had created whilst still in the states.
The list of artists she gave us was a very good starting point from which to delve into public art.
One artist which I had heard of but hadn't really researched before was Francis Alys - The piece which particularly interested me was his Paradox of Praxis (Below) 1997.
This piece resonates for me because of it's temporary nature and the documentation of its destruction, which relates back to my apples and forward to another project I have in mind. It is also has a poetic quality which I like.
"This process can also operate on the narratives of art history, not to mention those of the art world. Paradox of Praxis, 1997, a piece in which I pushed a large block of ice through the streets of Mexico City until it melted into a puddle of water, was a settling of accounts with Minimalist sculpture. Sometimes, to make something, is really to make nothing; and paradoxically, sometimes to make nothing is to make something." -A thousand words: Francis Alys talks about When Faith Moves Mountains - Brief Article Art forum 2002.
It was good to read his perspective on his own work, he seems to think a lot about what he's doing and why, and articulates his concepts eloquently.
Paradox of Praxis is showing currently in a group show, The Quick and the Dead at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He's also currently showing at the National Portrait Gallery, London (one of my favourite places when I lived in London). His installation there, Fabiola , is a collection of copies/versions of a nineteenth century portrait of a fourth century Christian Saint which Alys has accumulated.I think it's a very interesting exploration of a well known icon and of how something becomes an icon. As an installation, the reds in the portraits work very well against the turquoise wall and it would be interesting to visit in person, to really study the differences and similarities between each image.
More of Alys's works can be found here.
Another series of work that stood out was Anthony Gormley's Field.
Anthony Gormley, Field for the British Isles 1993 Terracotta variable size, approx 40,000 elements, each 8-26 cm tall
I really like the way you can see each person's hand in this work.. and the way it's very much of the land that it came from.
I don't really like his Angel of the North sculpture, which was also shown, but I do like some of his more recent stuff, which can be found here.
Andrea also mentioned Charles Simonds, whose name my friend Xtiaan has been trying to remember for months to give to me. He used to make teeny tiny dwellings in walls, more about his work and other miniature things can be found here.