The Best Public Art of 2019 Artsy.net
From Times Square in New York to the Parisian gardens of Petit Palais, artists summoned international attention in 2019 through fresh public artworks. The most incisive sculptures, penetrating light installations, and eye-opening murals spurred meaningful discussions around identity, politics, climate change, and community, while, at times, inspiring awe as well.
To honor such innovative, impactful artworks, the art-and-design fabrication company UAP recruits a panel of international curators each year to select the best new public works. Here, we share the 2019 list, with insights from the nominating curators on what makes these works so compelling.
- Klaus Littmann, FOR FOREST—The Unending Attraction of Nature, Klagenfurt, Austria
“Realizing a thought experiment in spectacular fashion, Klaus Littmann installed a Central European forest in Wörthersee Stadium, Klagenfurt, Austria. FOR FOREST—The Unending Attraction of Nature was comprised of 300 trees erupting from the playing field that constantly changed with the weather and turning of the season. The work drew inspiration from a 1970–71 pencil drawing by Austrian artist Max Peintner, which imagined a time when forests exist only as exhibition objects. Littmann’s installation was equally enthralling and haunting, a timely reminder of the precarious future facing the natural world during the current climate crisis and a rapid increase in deforestation. Viewing the work from the grandstands, it asks if we are content to simply be spectators as our forests are logged and burned or whether more drastic action must be taken to preserve them.”—Nick Mitzevich, Director at the National Gallery of Australia.
- Sabine Hornig, Shadows, Sydney
- Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Border Tuner, U.S.–Mexico border
- Simone Leigh, Brick House, New York City
- Kehinde Wiley, Rumors of War, New York City and Richmond, Virginia
- Nell, Eveleigh Treehouse, Sydney
- Jenny Holzer, Vigil, New York City
- XU ZHEN®, Evolution-Multi-functional trainer, Shanghai
- Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office, In Absence, Melbourne
- Rael San Fratello, Teeter-Totter Wall, U.S.–Mexico Border
- Tomás Saraceno, Aero(s)cene: When breath becomes air, when atmospheres become the movement for a post fossil fuel era against carbon-capitalist clouds, Venice
- Toronto Biennial, “The Shoreline Dilemma,” locations across Toronto