Assessing the Intellectual Value of New Genre Public Art

Elisa Caldarola 1
  • 1 University of Padova,, Padova, Italy


Suzanne Lacy introduced the term ‘New Genre Public Art’ (NGPA) to refer to art practices that depart from those traditional of public art (such as installing works in parks and plazas) and focus instead on the direct engagement of artists with audiences to deal with pressing socio-political issues. In this paper, I argue that some works of NGPA should be valued for the intellectual value grounded in their artistic features, not dissimilarly to works of conceptual art. In developing my argument, I take distance from Vid Simoniti’s recent account of ‘Socially Engaged Art’, offer a thorough analysis of Thomas Hirschhorn’s Bataille Monument (2002) and Kathrin Bohm’s and Stefan Saffer’s Mobile Porch (1999), and submit that both such works qualify as good works of NGPA.

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