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Public Art in America

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, November 1, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0638
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Materials for this program

  1. Janetta Rebold Benton, Ph.D. | Bio

Christo's "The Gates" exhibit in Central Park, New York City, 2005 (Delaywaves/WIKIPEDIA)

Do you really know the difference between graffiti, street art and public art? Beginning with a description of the differences between these forms, Janetta Rebold Benton, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Pace University, explores the variety of images, messages, materials, and locations of public art. Benton discusses the work of artists such as Calder, Nevelson, and Oldenburg and van Bruggen, all of whom created large-scale outdoor sculptures. She shows how the environment itself was modified by Christo and his wife and partner Jeanne-Claude, known for huge, intentionally temporary, textile installations.

Benton also considers the considerable social value of public art. The Great Wall of Los Angeles , for example, is a monumental cultural landmark created by young people from diverse economic and social backgrounds brought together by artist and activist Judy Baca.

Whether installed outdoors, or even underground, Benton shows how public art speaks to the many, not just to the few.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.