Culture in Action: A Public Art Program of Sculpture Chicago

Mary Jane Jacob, Author, Eva M. Olson, With, Michael Brenson, With
Mary Jane Jacob, Author, Eva M. Olson, With, Michael Brenson, With Bay Press (WA) $20 (144p) ISBN 978-0-941920-31-5
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Organized by Jacob (director of Sculpture Chicago), Culture in Action was a community-based art project that took place in Chicago in 1992-1993. Aimed at bringing art to urban communities not considered part of the museum- and gallery-going public, each of the eight component projects involved the collaboration of an artist and a particular community with whom the artist chose to work. A former New York Times critic, Brenson delves into each project, highlighting its importance as a teaching tool, as a creative solution to urban problems and as a means of engendering communication between communities. ``Encountering the artistic collaborations in neighborhoods, members of the gallery and museum worlds were the outsiders,'' says Brenson. Unfortunately, the question of museum-exhibitions programming is never raised. While Olson is versed in artspeak, her writing is impressively straightforward on the value of public art; she cites previous examples of art in the public sphere and answers her own question: ``How can the arts become a meaningful part of everyday existence?'' The answer: ``Public art accepts and claims an unbounded infinite audience simply by being in public view.'' Together, these essays and subsequent chapters describing each project are thoughtful, smart reflections on the concepts and the power of art beyond the walls of our institutions. Illustrations. (Apr.)
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