on public art and site-specificity

Added on by Jourdan.
"... having lost its longstanding faith in the power of architecture and urban design to positively affect the quality of life in social terms, public art has reaffirmed its desire to impact the lives of (non-art) constituencies by other means. Instead of addressing the physical conditions of the site, the focus is now on engaging the concerns of those who occupy a given site."
This book has helped shape my understanding of site-specificity. I often refer to my installations as "site-specific" but I now see that this description is fully loaded and means much more than that the piece was designed for a specific physical location. I am making a point to catch my tongue and instead use terms like "site-based" and "site-responsive," which are, yes, very similar, but now seem better-suited to the type of work I'm doing.

I was excited to read, in this book, about Mary Jane Jacob's curatorial project, Places With a Past, an exhibition that took place in Charleston for the 1991 Spoleto Festival and is still being discussed today. The New York Times said the project may have been "the most moving and original exhibition of contemporary art in the United States" that season. Wow! Jacob brought big-time artists like Ann Hamilton and Antony Gormly to Charleston, which is cool enough on its own, but that fact that this show has had such an impact on site-specific art in general just makes it all the cooler.

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Jane Jacob when she returned to Charleston to curate the Halsey's annual juried student show, Young Contemporaries. She is also on the sculpture faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.