Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Since its inception in the 1970s when Joseph Beuys proclaimed, “Jeder Mensch is ein Kunstler” or “Everyone is an Artist”, public art that focuses on social engagement (otherwise known as new genre public art) has been tested in a variety of formats and places. Today, the breadth of work in this category is vast and the resulting aesthetics vary based on the artist’s intentions and goals. While measuring the success of these projects remains a challenge, an examination of recent history provides us with insights that can become a tool kit for artists commencing on social projects. Once examined, specific factors increase the likelihood of creating meaningful and authentic public experiences, such as mutability (giving a project the flexibility to grow and evolve) and commonality (establishing partnerships across sectors creates scaffolding of support). Moreover, new genre public art benefits greatly when the artist creates or maintains a deep understanding of the place in which the work is situated: including its people, the landscape and surrounding structures, and its history. When place imprints on the artist, a locational identity forms, and this identity guides the artist’s decision-making and social engagement. It also makes an indelible connection within the artist and encourages an enduring relationship between art and place.
Benenson, Stephanie, "Anchored in place : locational identity + new genre public art" (2017). Masters Theses. 113.
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