Since its installation at and subsequent removal from New York City’s Federal Plaza, noted sculptor Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc has been a touchstone for debates over the role of public art. Installed in 1981, the 10-foot-high, 120-foot-long curved wall of Cor-Ten self-rusting steel instantly became a magnet for criticism. Harriet F. Senie explores the history of Tilted Arc, including its 1979 commission and the heated public hearings that eventually led to its removal in 1989. She examines the tactics of those opposed to the sculpture and the media’s superficial and sensational coverage of the controversy, reframing the dialogue in terms of public art, public space, and public policy.
Subjects: Art & Art History
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