What is public art? It’s part of our collectives, our histories. It reflects our evolving cultures and chronicles our societies. That’s the serious explanation. And on a more surface note, it also provides visual beauty in our cities and public access to the incredible imaginations of our artists.
Join us as we take a trip around the world and look at some of the most stunning (and some of the most curious) public art installments.
Public Art Around the USA
The big blue bear can be found in Denver at the Denver Convention Center – he’s huge, isn’t he? It’s titled “I see what you mean”, and is posed looking into the center’s lobby. Created by artist Lawrence Argent. He does some nice work, be sure to check his website.
From the blue bear to blue trees in Seattle, WA. The brainchild of Constantine Dimoopoulous, they were a temporary pop-up installation, painted with a “biologically safe pigmented water” which proceeded to degrade, and then disappear, over the next months. He does this in various locations, to raise awareness of how important trees are to our survival.
Spectral Grove is a colorful installation in Philadelphia by Softlabs. The latticed ribbons stand guard at the corner of 37th and Market and mark the meeting point with powder-coated aluminum in 28 different colors.
One of six sculptures in the collection, Mirror of Thoughts, sits between the Main Library and the Arts Center in the city of Palo Alto, California. Joe O Connel is the artist – and the cutout phrases are visible at night. The pieces are reminiscent of candle lanterns but look spectacular in the day as well.
Public Art in Asia
The Meitan Tea Museum sits in a tea-growing region of China and not only does it come with a teapot, but a teacup as well.
In Shanghai, they mounted a whole conversation around this big rubber duckie – is it really art?
In South Korea, a project called The Wave is literally making waves. It’s incredible, actually, you must watch the video at the link above. Although we may not be able to go into the museum, we can still see The Wave.
Public Art in Israel
Interactive flowers in Jerusalem either provide light or shade, or they wither up when there is no one around and they have no one to perform for.
Public Art Around Europe
The Bather is a mega-sized sculpture in Hamburg, Germany’s Binnenalster Lake. Created by artist Oliver Voss, the 13-foot-high, 98-foot-long sculpture was a temporary installation.
Created by artist Ervin Hervé-Lóránth. Located in Széchenyi Square in Budapest, Hungary – the sculpture is titled “Popped Up”.
This public art display of dandelion lights in Dubai, UAE sits next to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. Some people look at dandelions and see weeds. Me? i see wishes.
Light Art in Berlin – Guardians of Time by Manfred Kielnhofer.
The Passe Muraille sculpture in Montmartre, France
Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn’s “Support” calls out for us to notice the rising seas. The first installation was Venice appropriately. The three-meter version of the sculpture was brought to COP25 in Madrid as part of a partnership between UN Climate Climate Change, Lorenzo Quinn and Halcyon Art International.
Ballerina fountains designed by artist Malgorzata Chodakowska in Poland. Aren’t they incredible? You’re going to love her stuff. Our friends over at Fresh Patio wrote about her and her fountains are incredibly special, using the water as part of the sculpture. Be sure to check her out, she is one of my favorite artists, ever.
More Malgorzata Chodakowska.
Public Art in London Town
I love this piece! It’s the Bertrand Lavier piece titled “Fountain”, outside the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London (Kensington Gardens, W2, to be exact).
This is the Jelly Belly Family at Marble Arch. I love the colors!
Public Art around Scotland
The Kelpies tower over the Scottish skyline at almost 100 feet high. We recently covered this public art installation in a Captivatist post about these giant horsehead sculptures.
Chinese artist Xia Nan recreated the Terracotta Army for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games for a temporary exhibit that welcomed Chinese New Year in Edinborough, Scotland. The frames are covered in Chinese lantern style and together they make an incredible army of light. Up to 2.5 meters tall (over 8 ft!), there are men, women, children and horses, as there were in the original discovery. We covered this in some detail here at Captivatist: Lanterns of China’s Terracotta Army Stand Guard
Public Art around Canada
This funky public art from Quebec, Canada is the brainchild of Jose Luis Torres. This piece is called “Stock in Transit”.
Peter Gazendam’s “A Long Conversation” in Vancouver is poignant to local gardeners – we all smile when we see these huge bronze garden slugs. Because they are actually almost that big.
The Audience, by Michael Snow, on both the northeast and northwest corners of the building above the entrances of the Roger’s Centre (formerly SkyDome) in Toronto. But before you think it’s not reallly fair, there’s a set of fans for the opposing team (how Canadian).
The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe at the Vancouver, Canada airport, by Canadian artist Bill Reed. It’s bronze, with a jade patina. Not actually jade.
Public Art: Writing and Drawing
I love this one, from somewhere in France, I believe. But the website has a big 404 on it. Still, hoow cute is this bench?
A pencil bench in Kyiv, Ukraine, from Wikimania. Another cute idea. There are creative souls everywhere.
You’ll find this library on the steps of Balamand University in Lebanon. Source
And wouldn’t it be cool to do a travel plan based on the best public art in the world?
But, given that taste in art is quite subjective, you’d want to plan your own stops – but then if required, you could use a travel agent to implement your plan.