This one-day class will start with a historical overview of public art, followed by an exploration of the rise of public art since the Second World War. Case studies will address monuments, politics, patronage/funding, street art, festivals, counter-monuments, activist art, craftivism, land art, and performance. As a class, we will tour public artwork on the University of Calgary campus, discuss select Calgary public artworks, and identify where Calgary is leading in public art policy and practices.
As an artist and writer Dick Averns’ practice involves not just regular teaching in the Art Department at the U of C, but also making public art and publishing on contemporary art and theory. In 2009 Dick was deployed to the Middle East, the first time Canada has selected a non-fiction writer as an official war artist, and his artwork has been exhibited internationally. The content of Dick’s research explores the commodification of space: probing how spaces are valued, exchanged, bought, sold… even fought over. He engages socio-political themes such as water, mental health, war, and energy consumption through mediums including sculpture, performance, photography and video, often as public art.