What Makes Art Public?

Family Guide by Colleen Borsh

A handy family guide for intrepid urban (suburban and rural too) explorers. 


It can become a landmark or special meeting place. 
Nasher collection artist Anish Kapoor created Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The artwork’s nickname is “The Bean.” Have you visited this sculpture or seen pictures of it? 



It can be inspired by the city or the history of its location. 
It can help people remember a moment or person. The John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza was created by architect Philip Johnson to honor President Kennedy’s memory and create a space for reflection. 


It can be interpreted in different ways.
People might disagree or have different ideas about the artwork. There is always a chance that people will not like the work or think it should be taken down. Nasher collection artist Richard Serra created Tilted Arc, which was a curved steel sculpture for Federal Plaza in New York City. People sent letters and held a public hearing, and a jury voted to remove the sculpture.



It can be large or small. 
Pioneer Plaza celebrates the history of Dallas. It features an artwork by artist Robert Summers made up of three bronze cowboys and 40 bronze longhorn cattle.



It can be permanent or temporary.
Nasher collection artist Jean (Hans) Arp created an artwork called Sculpture To Be Lost in the Forest. He placed it outdoors near his home in France for others to discover.



It can be unexpected.
Look carefully you might miss it. Public art can be found in unexpected places: knitted around a parking meter, on the roof of a building or floating in a pond. Nasher collection artist Scott Burton created stone benches, stools, and chairs that can be found in many North American cities. 


When You See Public Art

Look. Look closely. Move around the artwork. What do you see?

Learn. Can you find the name of the artist or the title of the artwork?

Ask. What questions do you have about this artwork?

Imagine. What do you think the artist was trying to communicate? What visual clues do you see to support your idea?

Create. You might want to take pictures or sketch the artwork.

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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