The 2017 Joan & Martin Goldfarb Summer Institute in Visual Arts

Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working

GS/ARTH6020 and GS/VISA6020

Professors Sarah Parsons and Brandon Vickerd

 The 2017 Goldfarb Summer Institute graduate course will focus on contemporary issues in public art. Within Canada, ideas of public art have evolved in recent decades, largely due to the role of new programs, policies, festivals, and initiatives that are challenging notions of temporality, spectacle, interventions and participation. While reflecting upon historically significant achievements, this seminar will take an inclusive approach to exploring current topical issues and innovations in order to expand the discourse surrounding public art in Canada and beyond, encouraging criticality and moving the field forward.

The graduate seminar will coincide with the symposium Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working that will be hosted by the Department of Visual Art and Art History in conjunction with the various partner organizations (May 18, 19 and 20). Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working will offer a forum for emerging research, challenging debate and the establishment of a sustained dialogue around public art from the perspective of both studies and practice. This will be accomplished by including a wide range of cultural, political, social, and pedagogical perspectives across the disciplines of visual arts, architecture, art history, city planning, engineering and urban studies. Students enrolled in the institute will participate in the symposium events.

The symposium will bring together international academics, critics, curators, practitioners and enthusiasts to explore the shifting role of contemporary public art and consider the accomplishments of various innovators working in the public sphere. The goal of this symposium is to critically examine the current state of Canadian contemporary public art practices and processes in the context of innovations happening internationally. Through critical examination of the artistic practices, successes and challenges, theories and impacts of the field, and by inviting multiple perspectives, Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working will further the discourse surrounding the role of public art and its continued redefinition. It will be organized around three key conference themes: News Ways of Thinking and Working, Duration, Policies and Processes.

Both the symposium and the seminar acknowledge multiple shifts in public art while questioning: ideas of the creative city, the ways in which artists work, how the work is being made, and the role of curation, audience, discourse and criticality in public art. Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working is an opportunity to bring together broad perspectives which have contributed to driving this change, to reflect on and challenge how we define and talk about public art, at a time in the field when reflection and deeper understanding is needed in the face of its mass proliferation.

Tentative Schedule:

May 15 - 17 - afternoon meetings
May 18 - afternoon meeting and evening lecture
May 19 and 20 - all day symposium
May 23 - afternoon meeting
May 24 - morning and afternoon downtown
May 25 - morning meeting - final class
June 26 - final papers due