Public Art Dialogue journal – latest issue and call for papers

Catching up on the latest (September) issue of Public Art Dialogue 4(2), its first ‘open’ or unthemed issue,  I see it includes a reprise of the story of Adrian Doyle’s Empty Nursery Blue art work in Melbourne (mentioned in my The Everyday Life of Public Art- Part 1) with Fiona Hillary and Shanti Sumartojo examining visitor interactions with and responses to the work.

Contents of the September issue include:

  • Cher Krause Knight & Harriet F. Senie, ‘Editors’ Statement: Open Issue’, pp 173-174
  • Gregory Sale, ‘Re-entry: an evening beyond black and white’, pp 175-183
  • Sierra Rooney, “It’s Not About One Statue:” Fred Wilson’s E Pluribus Unum’, pp 184-200
  • Fiona Hillary & Shanti Sumartojo, ‘Empty-Nursery Blue: On Atmosphere, Meaning and Methodology in Melbourne Street Art’, pp 201-220
  • Zoe Bray, ‘Sculptures of Discord: Public Art and the Politics of Commemoration in the Basque Country’, pp 221-248
  • Laura Holzman, ‘A Question of Stature: Restoring and Ignoring Rocky’, pp 249-265
  • Jen Delos Reyes, Book Review: Diana Boros: Creative Rebellion for the Twenty-First Century: The Importance of Public and Interactive Art to Political Life in America, pp 266-267
  • Rika Smith McNally, Book Review: Glenn Wharton: The Painted King: Art, Activism, and Authenticity in Hawai’i, pp 268-269

The journal Public Art Dialogue is sponsored by the organisation of the same name, here. PAD aims to provide platforms for dialogue across the wide range of professions and disciplines that public art encompasses. Its membership includes art historians, artists, curators, administrators, educators, architects and landscape architects.

Calls for submissions for forthcoming special issues of the journal include:

The Cinematic Turn
Submission Deadline: March 1, 2015
Co-Editors : Cher Krause Knight and Harriet F. Senie

With the rise of new technologies specifically relating to the moving image, the breadth of public art expanded as its practitioners engaged in more varied explorations, though it would be fair to say the migration of these technologies into public art was generally slower than their absorption into the museum and gallery. This issue focuses on the use of film, video and/or cinematic techniques and strategies, with the intention to recognize some of the earliest efforts to incorporate these art forms into public art practice as well as addressing their current manifestations.

The Dilemma of Public Art’s Permanence
Submission Deadline: September 1, 2015
Guest Editor: Erika Doss

The meaning of public art is neither inherent nor eternal but processual, dependent on various cultural and social relationships and subject to the volatile intangibles of multiple publics and their fluctuating interests and feelings. Consequently, public art that offends, contradicts, violates or challenges the beliefs of today’s publics may be defaced, despoiled, removed, re-sited, dismantled, destroyed and/or forgotten. What are the ethical and political implications of public art’s removal and destruction? Is it legitimate to erase or revise markers of history and culture? Do such acts constitute public dissent? Are there alternatives to public art’s defacement and destruction? This special issue invites articles, essays and artists’ projects that contextualize the dilemma of public art’s permanence, taking innovative approaches to the subject through focused case studies, comparative analyses, historicized investigations and theoretical arguments. Transnational perspectives are encouraged, as are proposals from public art practitioners, commissioners and curators.

Borders and Boundaries
Submission Deadline: March 1, 2016
Co-Editors: Cher Krause Knight and Harriet F. Senie

Borders and boundaries engage the notion of crossing: over geographical terrain, through social practices, across class systems, into different cultures, and around conceptual theories. Sometimes these delineations are clearly defined, but often they can become murky and potentially even richer. For this issue we seek various kinds of submissions that investigate how borders and boundaries of all types are signified–visually and otherwise–and understood, and how they function in relationship to public art. In particular, we are interested in examinations of how borders and boundaries may differ from each other, in both physical and metaphysical ways.

Submissions can include traditional scholarly articles, opinion pieces, ‘conversational dialogues’, and artists projects. Further information and submission guidelines are available here.


News from the end of the world

…Well not really, unless you subscribe to the dire predictions linked to the end of the Mayan calendar on 21 December (otherwise known as the December solstice). Personally, I think I might celebrate “the End of the World” (or at least the beginning of a new era) at one of Adelaide’s newest artist-run galleries, Fontanelle, which is marking the occasion with an exhibition of the same name…

Queen Victoria Statue 11 Dec 2012  Queen Victoria Statue 11 Dec 2012

In Adelaide, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to see Queen Victoria looking a little less stern than usual; a result of the Adelaide City Council’s invitation to local knitters to “yarn up” the city’s central Victoria Square. (The bronze statue was originally unveiled in the Square in 1894 and now stands at the centre of both the Square and a busy traffic island, looked over since 2002 by an imposing Aboriginal flag. Cast in London from a model by Charles Bell Birch, a matching bronze statue of Victoria apparently stands in the Indian city of Oodeypore.)

The South Australian state government agency Arts SA has recently announced Unexpected City,  a new program of grants of up to $20,000 to enable South Australian artists to enliven the CBD’s “streets, parks and laneways” (deadline 18 January 2013).  It complements the upcoming, second season of Adelaide City’s Splash program that also seeks to foster temporary urban activities. Both the Splash and Unexpected City programs essentially aim to encourage people to spend more time in the CBD. I confess to a knee-jerk response, however, to the prevalence of the words enliven, animation, and vibrancy in the promotional material. It is fascinating to see the reproduction across Australian capital cities of efforts to facilitate creative “pop up” enterprises, to appropriate street art, and to generate new temporary artworks, especially in laneways… on the other hand, it would be nice to also see some broader discussion of the potential audiences involved (or left out) in the reimagination of “our” CBDs.

In other Australian funding news, the Victorian state premier Ted Baillieau this week announced the launch of a new Public Sculpture Fund. Over the next two years, the fund will provide $1m towards “the commissioning and/or installation of new public sculpture, of all forms” throughout the state of Victoria (deadline 15 February 2013).

…A reminder that February also brings the International Sculpture Center’s annual conference, the International Sculpture Symposium to Auckland, New Zealand (11-15 February 2013). Registrants to the conference receive a free tour to Gibbs Farm, a private sculpture park that includes monumental commissions by artists: “Graham Bennett, Chris Booth, Daniel Buren, Bill Culbert, Neil Dawson, Marijke de Goey, Andy Goldsworthy, Ralph Hotere, Anish Kapoor, Sol LeWitt, Len Lye, Russell Moses, Peter Nicholls, Eric Orr, Tony Oursler, George Rickey, Peter Roche, Richard Serra, Kenneth Snelson, Richard Thompson, Leon van den Eijkel and Zhan Wang”.

Other upcoming events for 2013 include:

TOUCH: Sculpture and the Land

The TOUCH program builds on Canberra’s 100 year history as a planned capital, to explore some of the issues associated with sculpture commissions. Involving the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian National University (ANU) School of Art, and a range of other organisations, the program includes visiting artists-in-residence, exhibitions, new commissions, walks, talks, and tours of existing collections.

An international Symposium will also be held, 10-12 May 2013, at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, in partnership with the ANU School of Art and Humanities Research Centre, RSHA. With a keynote address by Vivien Lovell, the symposium aims to:

examine the work, the people and the conversation around sculpture in Canberra and set it in a national/international context. Themes will elaborate on issues raised in the exhibitions, the history with commissioned permanent and temporary work for public spaces, environmental considerations, community interaction with the wide range of contemporary sculpture activity and its role in the creation of urban spaces and stimulating public imagination.

Call for Papers: 6th State of Australian Cities Conference

Tuesday 26 – Friday 29 November 2013
Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Abstracts are now invited for the interdisciplinary State of Australian Cities Conference, under one of the following broad themes: City economy; City social (people and place, population change and trends, migration, cultural inclusion, social polarisation, equity and disadvantage, housing issues, the healthy city, sport and recreation); City environment; City structure; City governance; or City movement.

Deadline for receipt of abstracts: 25 February 2013
Further information

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

The position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow is currently being advertised at the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University, Melbourne
Deadline for applications: 10 December 2012
[Source: s-architecture  ]

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship available within RMIT University’s School of Architecture and Design (Quentin Stevens)

A position for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow is available within RMIT University’s School of Architecture and Design.  The fellow will work alongside Dr Quentin Stevens in connection with a major ARC-funded project exploring the design and public perception of contemporary memorials and other public artworks. The post would suit someone with a PhD in open space design, human-environment relations, or urban geography. Experience in the publication of academic research is desirable. The post is research-only and is available full-time from now until early 2015.

for more information, and to apply, go to:

Quentin Stevens

Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow
School of Architecture and Design
RMIT University
Melbourne, Australia

Reader in Urban Design
Bartlett School of Planning
University College London

Miscellanea: projections, conferences

Oh my, how things are piling up in my inbox while I’ve been conferencing and generally cogitating (not sure if my recent reality tv binge quite fits either of those two categories though)…

Thanks Mary, City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters (SA), for letting me know about the Stepping into the Light digital projection commission produced by Illuminart and due to make an appearance on the facade of the Norwood Concert Hall (6-9 pm, on the 22, 24-26 May 2012).

A couple of other items of interest:

Call for proposals: exURBAN SCREENS

Frankston City Council, Frankston Arts Centre & Monash University
23 June – 7 July 2012

Call for proposals for digital media content:

Navigating between art, media and screen, the resulting exhibition programme will be composed from a combination of curated artworks, events and open call exhibits that highlight issues relating to the contested outer spaces of the city. The Frankston Arts Centre and its Cube 37 new media galleries will function as the project “hub” with other “pop up” locations situated across the city centre. A focal point of (Is there) Light in outer space? will be an ambitiously scaled, building projection by leading Australian artist Ian de Gruchy

Entry deadline: 18 May 2012
Further information here.

Call for papers: Place and Displacement conference

Community, Identity and Displacement Research Network
Victoria University, Melbourne
21-23 November 2012

This conference aims to provide a forum for scholars, students, artists and community activists to discuss new ways of thinking about place and community. For instance, displacement may not always be a consequence of forced mobiity. We are surrounded by the immobile displaced, those stranded by the economic and political changes of recent decades and for whom familiar places exist but often in unrecognisable form. Displacement also implies a connection to the place left behind. The role memory plays in the process of identificaiton with place and community will also be a focus of this conference.

This conference will provide the opportunity for a range of research approaches and aims to attract students, emerging scholars, established researchers and those active in relevant non-government and government agencies. Papers based around performance or visual arts projects are also welcome.

Deadline for abstracts: 20 June 2012
More information here

WA public art

Following a short visit to Perth recently, thought I’d share the following gleanings:

Grow Your Own

In 2009 the Western Australian State Government (Department of Culture and the Arts) conducted an international sculpture competition to procure a $1million sculpture for inclusion within the upgrade of Forrest Place in the centre of Perth. Well documented at the Situate Sculpture Project website, the competition received over 200 entries, from which five were selected to produce further detailed designs. The final winning entry was an untitled “biomorphic form” by Perth-born sculptor James Angus (leading a team that included engineer Douglas Knox, lighting designer Peter Mclean, industrial designer Sebastian Adams, fabricator Jaime Marina, and project supervisor Tony Oxley).

Referred to locally as “the green cactus” (according to some of the news reports below at least), the sculpture was handed over to the City of Perth in September 2011, with the artist belatedly giving it his own title:  Grow Your Own.

I was directed by a couple of Perth locals to observe the similarity between Grow Your Own and another recent work by Angus in Sydney, their suggestion being that this sculpture lacked particular relevance to either its location or audience  (See:  Day In, Day Out, at 1 Bligh St, Sydney). Another informant, however, commented on how the sculpture had literally shifted the attention of city inhabitants towards the Perth Railway station (a vista against which they typically had turned their backs when sitting, lunching or otherwise waiting in Forrest Place) and noted the work’s robustness to any number of physical and contextual interventions. The sculpture accommodates, without any preciousness, the inevitable succession of paste-ups and graffiti, late night revelry and bravado attempts at climbing, as well as its role as a backdrop for commercial promotional events. It’s probably not a bad landmark as a place to meet either… Of course, its public funding and price seem to be the main point of contention in several of the reports below:

Twitter: theperthcactus
Department of Culture and the Arts, WA govt: Home-grown sculpture sprouts in city, 23 September 2011
The West Australian: City home for a green giant, 15 September 2011
The West Australian: Growing the green message, 15 September 2011
The West Australian: Great green giant graces city, 18 August 2011
ABC: WA’s largest artwork nears completion and divides opinion in Perth, 17 August 2011
7News: Million dollar artwork ‘too much’, circa 18 August 2011

Percent for Art

In its 2010-11 Annual report (pdf) the WA Government bills its percent for art scheme as the longest running public art program in Australia. This comes down to definitions I guess… not to detract from the significant achievements of the program and policy, in place since 1989, I suspect the Tasmanian Government Art Site Scheme should get this particular guernsey.  Formerly called the Art for Public Buildings Scheme, and renamed in 2009, the Tasmanian program has been running since 1979.  A percentage of the Tasmanian State Government capital works budget is allocated for the acquisition or commissioning of new artworks, with over 1500 artworks acquired over the life of the scheme, and placed in schools, hospitals, community centres and other government buildings. The South Australian government’s public art program also predates the WA scheme (1984/6), albeit without an accompanying public policy, and operating principally as a grants funding and public art advocacy scheme.

Perth City Council

In 2009 Perth City Council published the Public Art Study: Review Report which provided a comprehensive review of the City’s public art activity and gave recommendations towards the development of a formal public art policy and strategy.  In particular, the report recommended formalising the City’s percent for art approach to funding its public art program, as well as the initiation of a mandatory Developers Public Art Initiative for projects over $1million.  The Developers Public Art Initiative would replace the City’s previous Bonus Plot Ratio Policy (City Planning Scheme No. 2: Policy 4.6.1) which rewarded developers for funding or commissioning public art. This initiative was informed by the policies for mandatory developer contributions for public art developed by the  East Perth Redevelopment Authority (now the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority).

The City is yet to adopt the report’s recommendations, but has nevertheless continued to manage an active public art program, including an annual temporary exhibitions project Transart. In conjunction with the City Laneways Enhancement program (since 2008),  public art commissions have also included a series of wall murals (Wall Inc) and a wall-mounted lightbox exhibition space.


Photos: Ruth Fazakerley, 9 Feb 2012

"Grow Your Own""Grow Your Own""Grow Your Own""Grow Your Own""Grow Your Own"

Sydney CityArt

I meant to include this among the notices yesterday, but it slipped by in all the excitement…

Sydney CityArt Opportunities

The City of Sydney’s Laneway Art and City Spaces program is again offered in 2012, in what will be the 6th instalment of the program designed to test ideas for the reinvention of the laneways and spaces around George Street.  City of Sydney is now calling for proposals from curators and/or collaborative teams of artists and architects for up to four (4) temporary art projects. The submission deadline is 11.00am  28th February 2012. Further information here.

Documentation of past (and current) projects: 2011/12 Laneway Art and 2010/11 Laneway Art

Other opportunities from the City of Sydney include invitations to submit proposals for a public art curatorial approach to guide the development of New Century Garden, a new public space in Chinatown conceived as a ‘counter-point of respite’. Submission deadline is 11.00am 7th February 2012. Further information, including how to access the relevant documentation, is here.

Another year, already

I’m used to having some time off at the end of each year, which I spend trying to avoid the inevitable first heatwaves of summer and the shopping frenzy that is Christmas, and generally being slothful…  so it seems strange to still be at my work desk here in draughty Melbourne (well a draughty office anyway). Fortunately, lots of interesting distractions still coming my way… and some more miscellanea to pass on:

Such as…

best wishes for the new year to Gavin Malone whose PhD, “Phases of Aboriginal Inclusion in the Public Space in Adelaide, South Australia, Since Colonisation”, is currently under examination.  Gavin’s research at the School of Environment, Flinders University, examines public art and cultural markers in Adelaide from the perspectives of indigenous representation and inclusion. (Gavin’s recent feature article for Craftsouth on the Palmer Project and Sculpture Biennial is available here.)

Kaldor Public Art Project 25

Kaldor Public Art Projects have announced the details of their next commission. From 23 March – 22 April 2012 at the MLC Centre in Sydney, German artist Thomas Demand will will transform an entire floor of the unique Commercial Travellers Association Building with his installation,  The Dailies. Demand typically works with dyed papers and card to craft sculptural objects and interventions…  he has his own website and even a wikipedia entry. More information about the Kaldor project here.

Open Call: Sharjah Biennial for Children’s Arts 2012

Who knew…  the Sharjah Biennial for Children’s Arts has been held in the United Arab Emirates since 2008 and they are now seeking proposals for (artworks, institutional participation?)  for the 2012 Biennal to be held from 25 November 2012 – 25 January 2013. Deadline for submissions is 1 June 2012. The announcement on is here. There is an official website – but it doesn’t seem to be accessible without login.


A reminder of the Durations conference, for anyone traveling in the UK next year, an international, interdisciplinary conference exploring the temporality of contemporary public arts practice. 24-31 March 2012, Culture Lab, Newcastle University (UK).

The conference aims to respond to the responds to the 2012 AV Festival of Electronic Arts theme of Slowness, slowing down the biennial experience by presenting work at multiple venues and at different paces, speeds and times of day, and to explore themes of:

  • Permanent / Ephemeral: how do ephemeral practices disrupt, agitate or question the permanence of contemporary social and physical landscapes? How do ‘permanent’ rhetorical topoi in our landscapes retain relevance and evoke meaning against the continual pulse of change? What are the dialogues between ephemerality and permanence in contemporary practice and how do they relate to broader social and political discourse? How do we inscribe temporary acts/events into more permanent forms and what are the implications of this?
  • Duration: What is the duration of a public artwork? In commissioned work, how are demands for ‘visual’ deliverables mediated with desires for socially-engaged and place-enriching practice? In our consideration or evaluation of public art projects, are we too quick to judge? How does duration affect our perception of value? Is there a different temporality to urban and rural works?
  • Expectation: How have contemporary art practices used temporal disruption to alter the audience’s expectations and experience? How is contemporary public art practice engaging with technology to disrupt desires for immediacy?