public art using WORDS : LUSENET : Public Art : One Thread

I'm looking for information about public art projects, installations etc. using WORDS, TEXTS, LETTERS. (e.g. something like what Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer do.) Do you know any artists, projects or sites dealing with this subject? Thank you.

-- Linda Trckova (, February 10, 2001


The most obvious answer to your question is: graffiti... This is the most public form of art that I can imagine, a form which is practically obsessed with letters and their many forms/implications... If you are interested in contacting graffiti writers, I recommend looking at, as well as I myself am working on developing a collaboration with graffiti writers... I am a public sculptor, and have been very interested in the idea of three-dimensional graffiti... If you have any questions or comments, let me know.

-- Allison Kave (, March 28, 2001.

On Wed, Mar 28, 2001, 11:53:43 PM GMT wrote:

>graffiti... >This is the most public form of art that I can imagine,

On the contrary, I believe that graffiti could be considered one of the more PRIVATE forms of art. I would suggest that just because a work occurs in a public space does not necessarily make it "public." A quick glance at the definition of public revealed some interesting terms: "belonging or concerning the people of a nation, state, or community as a whole; open to common use; for the benefit of all; known by, or open to the knowledge of all or most people." Graffiti hardly fulfills any of these qualifications. The graffiti tag is essentially a mark imposed on others with little consideration of anyone except for the grafitti writer. Graffiti writers adopt pseudonyms, execute graffiti in secrecy, and shroud themselves in anonymity.

In previous discussions on this forum, there have been debates regarding the difference between “art in public places” and "public art". Although the difference seems to be largely semantic, I think the distinction lies in the connotations of the two terms. Art in public places is art created in private without concern for the context for which it is intended and, in turn, merely placed in a public space-- “plop art.” Public art, on the other hand, responds to and is an outgrowth of the context in which it is sited. More than being site-specific, public art is socially, historically, culturally- specific as well.

As a young artist and a public arts administrator, I am definitely interested in street culture and its implications for the field of public art. But personally, I see graffiti as being more akin to "guerrilla plop art" than "guerilla public art."

- CM

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Charles Moleski, Program Manager - New Land Marks Fairmount Park Art Association 1616 Walnut Street, Suite 2012 Philadelphia, PA 19103 phone: (215) 546-7550 fax: (215) 546-2363 email:

-- Charles Moleski (, March 30, 2001.

thanks for your answers. of course, I agree with you that graffiti is a great example of using words in public, however, I don't consider it primarily as an art, but moreover as a social phenomenon. it's very interesting topic, but for my thesis, I'm looking rather for examples of artwork that wants to communicate clearly with the whole public (as opposed to the narrow crew of graffiti writers) and convey certain intentional message. thank you.

-- Linda Trckova (, March 31, 2001.

Guerrilla Girls -- check out their site:

-- Keiko Pilato (, May 09, 2001.

I have been looking for teh exact same things for a project i am doing, i have found a site on Barbara Kruger, i dont know if you have see it already but i wll let you know if i find any more...go to m sorry its a bit long!!

-- Alex Mitchell (, May 07, 2003.

I think graffiti art as public art is a valid distinction. Many forms of graffiti are for public benefit, are created with a public in mind and attempt to communicate an idea or set of ideas. That being said, the most interesting public art/graffiti art inspired by Kruger I can think of happening now are Shepard Fairey's "Obey" pieces. Stickers, billboards, stencils and other works are scattered across the globe. You might want to check out his website: He's theorizing his own work. Also, check out Jeremy Ferrell's work on graffiti as public art.

-- Sandra Falero (, October 10, 2003.

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