Beach Reads-Public Art Style

Kate and I have had the beach constantly on our minds as we transition into this sweltering August weather. We both fantasize about lying on an obnoxiously bright towel at a picturesque sandy spot with a good book while we work away at our respective desks in our closet size office. So in an attempt to live out our fantasy vacation, we have compiled a list of 5 great beach reads, public art style. Safe for non-beach goers too! 

A Love Letter to the City by Stephen Powers

Stephen Powers' new book serves as documentary on his public art practice of text based site specific murals. He narrates the process of creating dozens of different murals around the world and the careful procedure of coaxing and integrating the local population to participate. Hailed as a new "public art manifesto" by Artnet, Power's poetic segments evoke wonderful senses of nostalgia and intimacy and offers a glimpse into each individual neighborhoods collective persona.


Public Art (Now): Out of Time, Out of Place by Claire Doherty

Doherty has strategically put together a collection of 40 or so different public art projects from around the world, including detailed descriptions, process shots, and analysis on each. She divides the works up into five categories: Displacement, Intervention, Disorientation, Occupation, and Perpetuation. The smart and well organized writing allows this to be easily read and digestible, without throwing away the important conceptual issues that comes with different works. A good well rounded introduction for anyone who's not sure where to start in terms of researching contemporary public art. 


What we Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation by Tom Finkelpearl

Tom Finkelpearl, New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs commissioner, has rounded up a five star team of critics and artists alike along with urban planners, architects, educators and various colleagues in related fields to discuss social practice and it's complicated existence. In the form of interviews, the participants debate the terminology of social practitioners, the ambiguous nature of it, how to promote more connectivity and encourage participants,  and social responsibility. A hearty read, be ready to annotate and highlight. 


Unexpected Art: Serendipitous Installations, Site-Specific Works, and Surprising Interventions by Jenny Moussa Spring

A comprehensive list of more than 50 artists spanning different artistic backgrounds, Unexpected Art provides a light hearted and visually pleasant tour on what's popular now within installation and sculpture. Readers can gain a fairly clear idea on what projects cities are funding, as well as insight on the intention. Comes with a clear and concise introduction by San Francisco based art critic Christian L Frock, who manages to explain briefly the historical context of site specificity. 


Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011 by Nato Thompson

This book, co-published between Creative Time and the MIT Press, is the product of a major landmark exhibition put forth by a thirty person curatorial advisory team and showcasing more than 100 different artists. Nato Thompson covers a wide spectrum of projects and brings forth the conversation of art as a vehicle for social change. Rich, diverse, and beautifully designed, Living as Form is monumental as the beginnings of an archive for important social change with or without the involvement of art. 

When she's not dreaming of the books she'd read on a sandy beach, Audrey Hsia is assisting Now and There, interning at Samsøñ, and looking for an affordable apartment to rent in Boston. Hsia, an accomplished painter, is a recent graduate of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston/Northeastern. You can see her work at

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