Read It: Art and Place


| 2/21/2014 1:05:00 PM


Tags: Art, Books, Recommendations, Christian Williams,

art and place

New book is an indispensable resource for those interested in site-specific art in the Americas.

One of my first memories of site-specific art was the untitled Picasso on display in Chicago’s Daley Plaza. While the busy streets and skyscrapers told me I was in Chicago, I didn’t feel the familiarity of my home city until I saw that sculpture. If it were ever relocated to a different city or even the nearby Art Institute of Chicago, it’d still be a Picasso, but much of what makes it so special to me and Chicagoans would be lost. In other words, it’s a piece that’s equally defined by its location as its creator.

It’s with that idea in mind that Phaidon has recently published Art & Place, a fantastic and comprehensive survey of site-specific art in the Americas. Over the course of 373 geographically-categorized pages and 800 color photos, the book is a virtual tour of more than 170 site-specific art works across North, Central, and South America. “Art made for a specific place can be the most spectacular, uplifting, and exciting art you can ever experience,” said Amanda Renshaw, editor of the book, a press release. “The format aims to bring some of the most extraordinary examples to life and enable most of us to visit these amazing places from home.”

double negative

While many of the works profiled are murals, sculptures, or elaborately decorated churches—all traditional forms of public art—the book excels at profiling land art and ancient works that may be unfamiliar to the general public. Full-color photographs and in-depth profiles of works like Michael Heizer’s Double Negative (pictured above) entice the reader to figure out how they might be able to swing by some of these remote, yet profoundly interesting works of art that incorporate the unique landscapes of their locations.