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Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art Paperback – November 1, 1994

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

For several decades now, art has been leaving museum halls in search of a more vital interactive context. Some feel that this search represents a broad shift in perspective whose time has come. This set of essays is an attempt to formulate an ideological understanding inclusive of installation, performance, site-specific work, and other manifestations frequently encountered yet generally misunderstood. What makes this book useful and different is its collaborative slant: each author was aware of what the others were doing. Most of the writers, among them Lucy Lippard and Suzi Gablik, are well known in the field. The book acts literally as a conceptual map clarifying recent art history and helping to define unifying traits such as a strong social orientation, ecology, and new technologies. The reader is left with a better understanding of what exactly "new genre" means. Highly recommended for museum and academic libraries.
Sue Olcott, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Edited by Suzanne Lacy, a Bay Area artist and theorist, the collection is the first to attempt such a comprehensive look at the field. Indeed, the sheer scope of consideration is breathtaking at times, and the contributors convincingly provide a collective framework for art events as various as billboard art and fifties Happenings, mural projects and parks implemented by urban planners, site-specific sculptures, and ritual dances. Artists as varied as Judy Chicago, Christo, Ant Farm, the Guerrilla Girls and Mujeres Muralistas are considered. The book breaks ground, however, in its effort to provoke, disturb and disrupt the reader's sense of where, exactly, the boundaries between life and art are drawn. Whereas much public art criticism is descriptive, the contributors to this volume concentrate on articulating "where we are and where we're going" (Lucy R. Lippard), and all participated in the creation of the compendium which lists individual artists and describes specific works. The attempt is less to map out, survey or contain than it is to devise critical strategies and theoretical and practical approaches to this dramatically expanding field -- Artweek, April, 1995<br /><br />In original essays, well-known critics and artists (among them Lucy Lippard, Arlene Raven, Suzi Gablik, and Guillermo Gomez-Pena) explore what happens when artists directly engage and address "real-world" audiences in various public sites and use public art as an instrument of public change. Included is a valuable illustrated compendium of ninety pioneering artists who, for nearly twenty years, have been perfecting an artistic aesthetic based not on similarities of medium but on shared methods, purpose, and intent. -- Midwest Book Review<br /><br />Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art, edited by Lacy, fuels the emerging critical discourse in public art and begins to define a new style of art production. The text includes 12 essays by important artists, curators and critics, as well as a compendium of the work of over 90 artists. Many of the essays included in this text speak out strongly against Modernist claims of authorship and individuality. Historical notions of a passive audience viewing large-scale sculpture in plazas, what Lucy Lippard refers to as "plunk art," are challenged by new genre public art. By interacting with the audience in participatory events that intend to build community, many have questioned whether the result is actually art or social work.....Mapping the Terrain seeks to firmly place this type of activity in an art context and calls for a re-evaluation of existing definitions of art. Particularly noteworthy in this regard are the essays by Suzi Gablik, Patricia Phillips, Lippard and Jeff Kelley --Afterimage, Summer, 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Bay Press (November 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941920305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941920308
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
In Suzanne Lacy's Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art, authors espouse continuity and responsibility through community-based public art works, collaborative practices among artists and their audiences, and the engagement of multiple audiences through empathy and appreciation. Their sense of new genre public art builds on exposure, deconstruction, and rejection of modernism's constructs and myths. Throughout these essays terms such as "community", "consensus", "truth", "good", and "multiple voices" are used to propagate a genre of public art that is dematerialized and progressive. Yet, it is not realistic to assume that consensus and community will always be progressive forces. This book raises more questions than it answers. Such as; can an artist go too far in the direction of consensus and community? Isn't there danger in not recognizing the tensions and conflicts within any group interaction (small community) for the sense of consensus (common good). Do the multiple voices include those that do not label the project "art?" Do these, and other public art projects have the potential to fall back into the modernist trap of being seen as a fraud, a hoax, or a loss of craft, in which audiences are insulted? Are these projects art because an artist was involved, and what happens to that role if the artist is simply a conduit for other voices? Can the artist speak for communities from which the artist does not belong (is it better to utilize local artists from within the communities)?
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Great book on community based public art! But, it is small and paper back so I still don't uderstand the high prices...I don't think it should be that expensive, I had to buy an used one.
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The work is a ground breaker in thoughtful art making. It is difficult to acquire. Worth the effort.for those who are serious about art making in an intentional manner.
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By TH on August 26, 2011
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Arrived from the seller top-notch! I am using this for my MFA program, and it has already proved incredibly useful. The questions and ideas brought about by Susan Lacy surrounding public art are interesting and deeply engaging.
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