from "Plop" to "Site-Related"
Metro-Dade Art in Public Places Collection 1973-1985
There is no consensus leading to an exact definition of public art. Placement, accessibility, funding sources or intent, either singly or in tandem, tend to be criteria which shape our understanding of those works of art we call public. Nor is there a consistent definition of what constitutes a monument, although self-contained form, large scale, or commemorative value generally underlie the concept. Until very recently, public art and the monument were closely linked terms, with one essentially implying the other. The notion of public art, almost without exception, would call forth an image exemplified by a traditional stone or bronze statue of a hero or by a geometric welded steel abstraction or a cast bronze object set in isolation in the plaza or park. A number of artists increasingly have challenged these ideas and forms as inadequate or insufficient.(1)
Whether public or private, an artwork's source is always the artist. During the 20th century the artmaking process has occurred principally in the artist's domain, the studio, offering protection from numerous societal pressures and forces, and supporting the emergence of the artist's own subjective concerns. Outside of the studio, the culturally sanctioned world of museums and galleries grants legitimacy to Art and its values, nurtured by artists, curators, historians, art administrators, critics, dealers, collectors and supporters. Beyond these circles, and in marked contrast to "art world" standards, however, artists have become vulnerable in unprecedented ways. When artists produce artworks funded by the public and destined for public siting, they face a unique set of concerns and a new creative process, the public art process.
In this "exposed" context, the passage of an artwork from the studio, museum or gallery into the public domain transforms it, adding to it an expanded dimension that encompasses questions of accessibility, social function, meaning, and political impact. The recent recommendation to relocate Richard Serra's "Tilted Arc" from its site-specific location at Manhattan's Federal Complex Plaza represents one outcome in the dialogue between the art world and the general public.(2) Its example paradoxically highlights not only a weakness in the public art process when issues of public accountability are slighted, but the unjust precedent that is set when the success and permanence of an artwork are determined by popular consensus. While Serra's extreme position that "I've never felt, and I don't feel now that art needs any justification outside of itself"(3) suggests intransigence within this context, it makes the important point that issues of quality and legitimacy in art cannot properly be judged according to majority opinion.
With the increasing diversity of contemporary art forms, symbols, and content, recent public art has often puzzled its audience. Because the public art process begins with the development of an atmosphere encouraging creative thinking and the introduction of new ideas, an established format of procedures helps to guide artists and their audience through a public commission. An initial project proposal is given shape through a variety of approaches as unique as the artist presenting it, and always embodying the artist's own sensitivities. Other versions of the proposal are sometimes made to define aspects of the structure or form, to adapt the model to a specific scale for inclusion on a larger maquette, and to situate the work in relation to its intended surroundings. As illustrations of the artist's developing work, proposals are usually made in the form of drawings, 3-D scale models, photocollages, narratives, and sometimes artworks. These works become, in effect, technical documents, not only a record of transactions, but a visualization of the artist's evolving ideas.
Once a proposal is accepted, the work commissioned, and the contract negotiated and signed, the artist must research and define materials and methods of construction of the piece. The artist and consultants then produce fabrication drawings, foundation plans, structural calculations, electrical diagrams, and other pertinent technical documentation based on collaboration with site engineers, architects and contractors. These documents, along with artists' models, are presented at meetings concerning the realization of an artwork, and constitute the basis of this exhibition.
In the public realm, the artist joins in a cooperative effort with other design professionals mutually guided by building codes and technical standards to ensure the practical feasibility and durability of the completed artwork. In southern Florida, artists need to accommodate hurricane standards, the tropical sun and elements, and area building materials, regulations and practices. Having completed the final design, the artist will supervise a team of experts in its fabrication and installation. The artist and consultants will also provide appropriate photographs of the completed work, and a plan for the artwork's maintenance and repairs.
* * * * *
As various critics have observed, two traditions can be discerned in the history of public art in the United States: object-making and site-related art," Stacy Paleologos Harris writes in her Preface to Insights/On Sites: Perspectives on Art in Public Places. "Our range of environments and audiences is large enough, of course, to accommodate both traditions. Nor does every artist fit really into a single category. In either tradition, the most successful works achieve a genuine marriage between art and its environmental context, whether natural or man-made."(4) This "environmental context" in which public art exists continues to be redefined by artists, art advisors, percent for art committees, public art administrators, site administrators, the media and outspoken citizens. Early attempts in this country to site art in public places led to the practice sometimes termed "Plop art," where a large generic, monumental sculpture was acquired and installed without regard for the nature of the site, its function and use, or its meaning to the user communities. Increasingly, artists have become interested in exploring a site and its physical, historic, symbolic, and human connections, in an attempt to relate the artwork to its actual setting.
In the siting of an artwork, the relationship between art and architecture is gradually ceasing to be a topdog/underdog confrontation. At worst, the architect may grudgingly leave the artist a wall for a mural or a pedestal for a sculpture. At best, the two coexist with equal status, the relationship factored as a given into the project's master plan at the earliest stages of the design process. A few clear models have emerged for collaborative efforts between artists and architects, but the basic connection of percent for art program funding formulas with building projects still embodies the notion of architecture as the "setting." Artist Siah Armajani advocates the complete independence of these two disciplines: "Public art and architecture share the same culture, yet architecture is not here to house public art, nor is public art here to enhance architecture."(5) While this position may be considered radical in terms of traditional approaches to siting art, it emphasizes that artists, through their works and writing, are the ultimate determinants of public art forms and practices.
With major public projects to his credit, Scott Burton writes in Site: the Meaning of Place in Art and Architecture:
For me and for a number of other artists, there is beginning to be a kind of resolution of the modern hostility between art and architecture in the evolving form called public art, which has to do with design of the built or landscaped environment by people trained in other forms of art - sculpture or painting.
What is public art? It is in my definition art that is not only made for a public place but also has some kind of social function. In fact. what architecture or design and public art have in common is their social function or content. Public art has descended from, but must not be confused with, large-scale outdoor sculpture, site-specific sculpture, and environmental sculpture.
Architectural sculpture is still sculpture. Public art is not sculpture. It is one dealing with a total situation - a situation with a shared psychology, where there's a whole set of needs. Probably the culminating form of public art will be some kind of social planning, just as earthworks are leading us to a new notion of art as landscape architecture.
I'd like to mention a certain schizophrenia that I feel in myself as an artist on one hand, and a designer-though of course not an architect-on the other. An artist is very much a solitary person, whose solitude seems integral to creation. But in public art we must collaborate with all kinds of people outside the work-not only the people who pay for it, but architects and landscape architects, engineers, fabricators, and the government people who come into the process. The psychology of the artist and the psychology of the architect or the designer are very different. Public artists must learn not to be so emotionally tied to their ideas.(6)
Numerous artists have become outspoken sources contributing to the on-going dialogue about the relationships among artists, artworks, and sites. Among them, Claes Oldenburg reveals a seminal perspective on his collaborative artworks with Coosje van Bruggen:
The use of a common, intimate obiect for a large scale project is a device for expressing scale. An enlarged object in a landscape combines two scales in one imaginative vision. A great difference in a public location is that the work does not have to compete with other works for attention-it can set up its own uninterrupted ambience. Another difference is that, to the extent that the surroundings matter to an artist, they are likely to be more interesting-and difficult, because contrary and intrusive-than in the protected vacuum of a museum environment... Obviously each artist will deal with the ingredient of the surroundings differently. For Coosje and I, it is a matter of ingesting the circumstances and coming up with an interaction within the work itself from the beginning. In this way a direction for thought is established which already involves other people and the surroundings in the conceptual process This identifies the work with the place, not only in a formal or structural way, and takes in some of the threatening ingredients, transforming them to its own purposes. The work becomes from the start a mixture of public and private, which is continued in the process of fabrication and other aspects of realization such as transport and installation.(7)
A broad, categorical perspective is offered by a veteran of the American public art movement, Robert Irwin, whose realized works and proposals for numerous American cities have significantly contributed to the development of public art forms and practices. In his book, Being and Circumstance: Notes Toward A Conditional Art, the artist writes:
Let me rough out some general working categories for public/site art, in terms of how we generally process (recognize, understand) them. (Note: there are no value judgments intended here, only distinctions.) Put simply, we can say that any given work falls into one of the following four categories:
1. Site dominant. This work embodies the classical tenets of permanence, transcendent and historical content, meaning, purpose; the art-object either rises out of, or is the occasion for, its "ordinary" circumstances-monuments, historical figures, murals, etc. These "works of art" are recognized, understood, and evaluated by referencing their content, purpose, placement, familiar form, materials, techniques, skills, etc. A Henry Moore would be an example of site dominant art.
2. Site adjusted. Such work compensates for the modern development of the levels of meaning-content having been reduced to terrestrial dimensions (even abstraction). Here consideration is given to adjustments of scale, appropriateness, placement, etc. But the "work of art" is still either made or conceived in the studio and transported to, or assembled on, the site, These works are, sometimes, still referenced by the familiarity of "content and placement" (centered, or on a pedestal, etc.), but there is now a developing emphasis on referencing the oeuvre of the individual artist, Here, a Mark di Suvero would be an example.
3. Site Specific. Here the "sculpture" is conceived with the site in mind; the site sets the parameters and is, in part, the reason for the sculpture, This process takes the initial step towards sculpture's being integrated into its surrounding. But our process of recognition and understanding of the "work of art" is still keyed (referenced) to the oeuvre of the artist. Familiarity with his or her history, lineage, art intent, style, materials, techniques, etc, are presupposed; thus, for example, a Richard Serra is always recognizable as, first and foremost, a Richard Serra.
4. Site conditioned/determined. Here the sculptural response draws all of its cues (reasons for being) from its surroundings. This requires the process to begin with an intimate, hands-on reading of the site. This means sitting, watching, and walking through the site, the surrounding areas (where you will enter from and exit to), the city at large or the countryside. Here there are numerous things to consider: what is the site's relation to applied and implied schemes of organization and systems of order, relation, architecture, uses, distances, sense of scale? For example, are we dealing with New York verticals or big sky Montana? What kinds of natural events affect the site - snow, wind, sun angles, sunrise, water, etc? What is the physical and people density (quiet, next-to-quiet, or busy)? What are the qualities of surface, sound, movement, light, etc? A quiet distillation of all of this - while directly experiencing the site - determines all the facets of the "sculptural response": aesthetic sensibility, levels and kinds of physicality, gesture, dimensions, materials, kind and level of finish, details, etc.; whether the response should be monumental or ephemeral, aggressive or gentle, useful or useless, sculptural, architectural, or simply the planting of a tree, or maybe even doing nothing at all.(8)
The categories identified by Irwin form the current continuum of approaches to siting art in urban and suburban spaces. To balance all of these approaches and to achieve their thoughtful application to the exigencies of any given site constitute the challenge for contemporary public art collections. These approaches or stages have also formed a sequence through which numerous communities have evolved their art in public places programs: from "Plop" to "Site Related." Within the framework of the program's changing administrations, Metro-Dade's Art in Public Places collection has evolved according to this pattern.
* * * * *
In 1973 the first Art in Public Buildings ordinance was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Dade County under the leadership of Mayor John B, Orr, Jr. His vision of providing art for the community included a strong position for the visual arts through the development of a major art center and a public art collection that would enhance the county's urban development. The Decade of Progress Bonds had been approved in 1972 to support capital projects embodying this growth, through a significant building campaign that would produce a cultural center, the Metrorail transit system, libraries, and other county government buildings and public spaces. The construction of the Metro-Dade Center, fire stations, community health and day care centers, and the Airport and Seaport would also provide venues for artworks.
At the outset, Metro-Dade's program received little recognition. Quietly adopted on September 18, 1973, the Art in Public Buildings ordinance made the aesthetic future of the county landscape a community responsibility, with artwork purchases financed with public funds, and program policies administered by a citizens' committee. As it applied to any new building constructed by the county, the mandate established the dedication of 1.5% of the cost of construction for the purchase of artwork. The ordinance further stipulated that the funds be spent exclusively on art at the construction site, although that amount made no provision for the cost of the artwork's maintenance and repair.
Under the ordinance Implementation Guidelines, the Board of County Commissioners delegated the selection of artworks to the County Manager with the aid and advice of a fifteen-member citizens' Committee. The Committee was originally composed of a core group of local museum directors, artists, art critics, and educators as well as collectors and other area residents. On the basis of the Committee's recommendations, the County Manager made the final artwork selection through his representative the Art Coordinator, although the actual recommendations of the Committee were accepted with few exceptions.
The process of selecting public artworks required precise guidelines, including at its basis a definition of "Art." The original policy specified that reproductions, renovations, landscaping, or the installation of functional architectural elements would not qualify. For the purposes of the ordinance, Art was defined as "the application of skill and taste to the production of tangible objects according to aesthetic principles..." As such, the early acquisitions of the program were portable artworks by reputable artists like Rauschenburg, Marisol, and Bontecou. Private corporations also donated several artworks to the emerging collection. By 1976 artists were being commissioned to create paintings and sculptures in connection with building projects: Miles Batt (various fire stations), Barbara Neijna (Palm Springs North Park), Juanita May (Richmond Park, Colonial Park), Lawrence Whittington (Traffic Computer Building). Of this group, Lawrence Whittington produced an electronic wall piece with flashing lights wonderfully suited to the county's computerized traffic light control center, and Miles Batt painted images of a fire engine based on actual vehicles and equipment housed at the stations where his paintings were to be displayed.
With the establishment of law enforcement branches throughout the county, artists were commissioned to produce architecture-related artworks, including the large abstract copper map created by William Ward for the N.E. Regional Police Station and a mural by Charles Latimore for the Central Regional Police Station. Large sculptures were acquired and installed on the grounds of the S.W. Dade Police Station (Robert Huff's "Argosy") and South Dade Regional Police Station (William King's "Conscience"). The Women's Detention Center included ceramic murals designed by Christine Federighi and Apple Vail for walls at the center's dining room and main lobby.
Providing housing for elderly and low-income residents, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) carried out a major building campaign through the 1970's and early 1980's. From the inception of the Art in Public Places program, HUD buildings provided opportunities for artists supported with federal legislation for the placement of art in capital projects. Beginning with artworks by Robert I. Stoetzer (South Miami Plaza), Kosso Eloul (Stirrup Plaza), Gary Kleinman (Culmer Place), and Peter I. Kuentzel (Haley Sofge Towers) in outdoor sites, the program encouraged a variety of sculptural approaches. Two-dimensional projects by Michael Katz (Palm Court) and William Tuttle (Lemon City Apartments) featured extensive research of South Florida's historical background used in two series of paintings, some of the earliest attempts by artists in the program to relate artworks to the history of their sites.
In subsequent years, Marilyn Pappas (Musa Isle), Wayne Timm and Ken Uyemura (Highland Park), and Roberto Rios (HUD Headquarters) executed artworks for indoor placement. As creative possibilities expanded, artists were commissioned to create children's playgrounds (Rolando Lopez-Dirube at Perrine Gardens, Alfredo Halegua at Townpark Village, and Val Carroll at South Miami Gardens), murals in various materials (David Hayes at Highland Park, Ron Fondaw at Allapattah Neighborhood Facility), and sculptures in metal (Don Drumm at Orr Plaza, Jay Fuhrman and William Brenner at Edison Plaza, and Lila Katzen at Goulds Housing). In many cases artists developed specific proposals for sites in collaboration with the building's architects. Others produced "studio" paintings and wall-works for installation in the buildings' lobbies, community rooms and other public areas.
With the county's building campaign gaining momentum, the demand for artworks for a variety of sites and a growing sensitivity to user involvement broadened the type of art being acquired. In connection with the Caleb Center, a large multi-purpose complex, a collection of African textiles and carvings was purchased for display in the center's library. Artist James Hunt was commissioned to do a large hanging sculpture for an enclosed courtyard at the complex, and in response to the surrounding community, the works of three leading black artists-Sam Gilliam, Alma Thomas, and Fred Wiltiams-were also installed. For the Model Cities Cultural Arts Center, "AfroOccidental Projection," a mural on panels, was commissioned from Charles Davis.
The Jackson Memorial Hospital complex in northwest Miami supported the construction of specialized health care centers. The hospital development plan also included the renovation of Miami's first hospital, the Alamo, and the creation of various public spaces connecting new and existing buildings. Carlos Cruz Diez was commissioned to execute "Physichromie" for siting at the entrance of the Rehabilitation Center and George Rickey's "Two Conical Segments, Gyratory, Gyratory III" was installed in a small plaza north of the Ambulatory Care Center. Groups of small-scale artworks were acquired for siting in indoor areas of these buildings.
Numerous neighborhood facilities were constructed offering continuing opportunities for artworks. including a plexiglass and mirror piece entitled "Twin Transmuters" by Rudy Ayoroa (North Dade Health Care Center), a group of paintings by Trevor Bell (Homestead/Florida City Health Care Center), and glazed ceramic tile murals by Ted Hoffman (Migrant Workers' Cultural Center), Robert Stoetzer (Naranja Neighborhood Facility), and Miguel Jorge (HomesteadlFlorida City Health Care Center). A large oil on board by Roberto Martinez (Eugenio Maria de Hosto ' Neighborhood Facility) was acquired along with two wall pieces in cement and copper by John Andrew Smith (Family Health Care Center), among others. In addition to these works done specifically for their sites, portable works were purchased for installation at facilities with indoor public spaces.
The vast expansion of Miami International Airport also provided for artworks. Wall hangings were commissioned from Olga de Amaral and Ken Uyemura for the Satellite building at Concourse E, which also housed sculptures by George Sugarman and Bruce Beasley. The sculptures were advantageously sited at either end of the building, and the hangings placed in dramatic spaces. Intended for indoor sites, a group of significant photographs by Ansel Adams, Ralston Crawford, Duane Michaels and George Tice were acquired. Also at Concourse E, "Transparent Paper Airplanes" by Rockne Krebs was commissioned as a site-specific installation. Including neon, plexiglass, and glass prisms, the work is spread over three spaces, its color effects changing throughout the year. To date, the most visible sculpture at the airport is Frederick Eversley's "Parabolic Flight," sited at the facility's LeJeune Road northbound entrance. The work marks the airport's presence dramatically, by day and by night.
The Miami-Dade Public library system significantly expanded its services to the county's neighborhoods by establishing branch and regional libraries, The artwork placement began with the acquisition of a series of paintings by Ronni Bogaev, Carol Cornelison, Humberto Calzada, Susan Felz, Dorothy Gillespie, Lisa Parker Hyatt, Craig Rubadoux, Ann Kinggard, and others. Sculptures were also commissioned for regional libraries (Del Geist for West Dade Regional, Beverly Pepper for South Dade Regional), and some artworks were designed specifically for their locations, including a multi-part work with flying fiberglass flamingos by Val Carroll (North East Sub-Regional) and a series of carved wood beams at the Coral Reef Branch Library by Gene Tinnie. Through its numerous exhibitions and programs, the library has played a role in providing a venue for artists, including the continuing display of Art in Public Places collection works. The first exhibition featuring local Art in Public Places artists and projects was held in the library's Artmobile, a gallery-on-wheels traveling to unusual locatlons in the county's neighborhoods.(10)
* * * * *
As the collection grew, projects throughout the county embodied the realization of the ordinance's mandate. With its parameters extended beyond new building sitework, the program's title, Art in Public Buildings, was similarly broadened to Art in Public Places.
With opportunities for art in the county expanded, the Art in Public Places program secured a presence for artists and a firm precedent for subsequent projects. By the late 1970's numerous galleries were established, artists organizations were active, and support of the visual arts by area schools, colleges, universities, and municipalities brought on a serious visual arts community in the area.
Increased government art patronage, in proportion to the tremendous growth of the community was also included in the building of an elevated mass transit system, Metrorail. As transit stations on the southern leg of the line were completed, artworks were sought for placement at their sites. For the Dadeland South station, George Greenamyer created a fantastic vehicle, "16 Smokes," symbolizing the rapid transit system's mission of mobilizing suburbia, and alluding to Flagler's first train to Miami. In collaboration with developers of a building at the site, the work was placed at the entrance of the Datran Center adjacent to the transit station. Harold Lehr proposed a series of spheres suspended on tall poles for the Dadeland North station, but the unresolved status of the site has postponed the installation of this artwork.
For the South Miami station, John Henry's "Paciencia" was purchased and sited on the station's grounds. Freda Tschumy proposed a work for the University station which included a series of metal strips folded in triangles weaving through the station's architecture. Based on the available budget, the work that was ultimately installed consisted of two large metal shapes placed next to the station's entrance. Athena Tacha executed "Leaning Arches" for the Douglas station, a work composed of large-scale connecting arches constructed in painted steel. For the Coconut Grove station Dale Eldred installed a multipart artwork "Sun Stations," based on the use of diffractive film which reveals the color spectra of sun and moon light in three areas of the station.
A series of existing casts of mermaids and mermen executed in the 1920's by Stirling Calder for the "Great Stone Barge" at Villa Vizcaya were used to set the tone for the Vizcaya station's entrance. The casts were resculpted by artist Mark Jeffries and were incorporated into a fountain designed by the station's architects.
Sited on both sides of the Metrorail bridge over the Miami River, Rockne Krebs' "The Miami line" is composed of a 300-feet strip of multi-colored neon. This image, visible from downtown Miami and I-95, has become a beacon for the program. The artist has made a proposal to expand the artwork in both directions, from downtown to the Brickell station, resulting in a longer line of neon.
For the Overtown station Margaret Tolbert executed "Festival Fish" in collaboration with the station's architects, a fountain which includes a fish image incised by the artist in its base of clay bricks. Tony Rosenthal fabricated a multi-part sculpture, "Ingathering," composed of benches, an archway, a large disc, and other components sited near the Culmer station's entrance. For the Allapattah station, Gene Kangas executed a signature Cor-Ten steel work, "Tracks," and for the Brownsville station Jean Claude Rigaud created the hypnotic painted metal work, "Optical Illusion."
Fire stations were included among the capital projects of the Decade of Progress Bonds. Construction of neighborhood stations provided walls for paintings by Miles Batt, Leon Rosenblatt and William Tuttle, and photomurals by Roger Bridewell. A sculpture for the South Dade Fire Station was commissioned from Ervin Dixon.
During the 1970's the Park and Recreation Department continued its expansion program and established numerous parks throughout the county. Artworks in concrete by John Congdon, Ron Mitchell and Henry Small along with sculptures in wood by Grail Douglas, Henry Moretti, and Elliot Miller were installed on park grounds. Some of the parks provided unusual site opportunities, among them a lake at Tropical Park for which Larry Harmon designed a fountain, and at Tamiami Park's swimming pool, Al Vrana created a trampoline base of cast concrete. At Metrozoo, artists and craftsmen designed the park's elements and animal habitats, and sculptor Christine Federighi made a whimsical group of clay animals for the zoo's entrance. Various cultural and service buildings in other parks included ceramic works by Juanita May, Fran Williams, Henry Small, and Henry Moretti, and an abstract aluminum frieze by Robert Huff surrounding the Goulds Park Bathhouse, among others.
The development of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Park included a figurative statue of Dr. King by John Andrew Smith and painted sculptures by Gene Tinnie. For several park buildings, paintings by Wayne Timm, Miguel Padura, Pamela Redick and Dee Clark were purchased, the latter providing four canvasses of area history for Bird Drive Park: "Seminole," "Settlers," "Spanish Florida," and "Miccosoukee."
A clause in the original ordinance restricting the use of art funds to the site generating them some times resulted in artwork acquisitions for sites largely inaccessible to the public, as in the case of the Karel Appel "Tulip" purchased for a county waste transfer station. As the 1.5% funding formula applied to park and other areas with low construction budgets, limited opportunities for effective artwork placement were available. A revision of the ordinance deleted this site spending requirement, thereby freeing funds and allowing them to be pooled for major projects.
* * * * *
Despite the accomplishments of the program, its process of acquisitions revealed some organizational problems unforeseen at the drafting of the original ordinance. Concerns regarding Art in Public Places Committee membership, artwork selection practices and mixed public perception hindered the program's otherwise productive administration, prompting the first full-scale ordinance revision on December 2, 1982. This reorganization brought the dissolution of the APP Committee and the creation of the APP Trust and Professional Advisory Committee (PAC).
To replace the Art in Public Places Committee, a reorganized citizen's body, the Art in Public Place Trust was formed to represent community interest on all matters relating to the program. The revised ordinance (No. 84-14) stipulated that the 15-member group be composed of Dade residents lacking any vested interest in the sale or display of art. The new group, at least four members of which came from the former APP Committee, was to be appointed by the County Commission to staggered three-year terms served without compensation.
The Trust's advisory board, the new Professional Advisory Committee, limited its membership solely to art professionals, to ensure professionalism and quality in selection procedures. The PAC was charged with recommending to the Trust up to three artists for consideration for each project. Ultimately, the County Manager's designee, the newly titled APP Director, was to negotiate and administer contracts necessary to acquire the selected works.
To focus the requirements of artwork selection, a Master Plan set forth uniform guidelines for the manner and method of artwork submissions to the PAC, the procedure by which the PAC made recommendations to the Trust, and that by which the Trust approved acquisitions. Beyond ensuring consistent acquisition procedures, the Master Plan clarified considerations unique to public art selection, such as maintenance requirements, site appropriateness, permanence, the diversity of artists represented in the collection, and budget management. A section of the Master Plan addressed tourist areas—airports, beaches, seaports, parks and thoroughfares—and was included within the larger plan to establish distinct priorities for areas that were, in effect, the public face of the community. With the duties of each group clarified and selection procedures outlined, the Trust was able to get on with the administration of the program. As newly appointed curator of the county art collection, it began to implement a maintenance survey and curatorial recommendations for carrying out needed repairs.
* * * * *
One of the earliest projects of the Trust was the selection of artists for the Metromover downtown loop and for a series of stations at the northern leg of the Metrorail line serving predominantly black and hispanic neighborhoods. With sensitivity to the surroundings and in connection with his design for Bayfront Park, Isamu Noguchi has agreed to make a proposal for the Metromover Bayfront Park Station. Based on the recommendations of the PAC, the Trust has commissioned artists to submit proposals for other transit stations, most of which have been approved.
Carlos Alfonzo is currently working on a large hand-formed ceramic mural for the Santa Clara station. In a composition appropriate to Miami's fruit and flower district, the glazed clay mosaic will celebrate the interaction of man and nature from the picking of fruit to its offering on the domestic table. Beverly Buchanan has proposed a multi-part work for the Earlington Heights station. Ten handmade, cobalt blue stones enhance the oak grove entrance to the station, forming a ring within the surrounding evergreen foliage.
At the Northside station, Purvis Young will paint a mural with vibrant colors in a spontaneous, expressionistic style to honor the grass roots contributions made by construction and steel workers, brick layers, carpenters, and others who helped in the building of Metrorail. Fernando Garcia has proposed a multi-part neon work for the skylights of the Okeechobee station. The neon work will glow in eight different red and blue color combinations, momentarily creating a purple glow visible by riders waiting for their trains. For the Civic Center station, Lucio Pozzi has proposed a muiti-part neon work to activate the station's entrance.
Betye Saar has taken a unique approach to her project for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza station. In the democratic spirit of Dr. King, the artist has chosen to commemorate the common man by including randomly selected images of local community members in her work. The community-generated images will become the pattern for silhouette figures of enameled metal installed to mingle with and reflect the passage of riders through the station. Many of these projects demonstrate that using the residents and images of a neighborhood as a resource has been a tremendous asset to artists who aim to establish a sensitive dynamic between community needs and their own creative endeavors.
Relating an artwork to its institutional context proved successful in a mural by artist Ann McCoy commissioned for the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. Before proposing her work, McCoy researched the history and geography of the area, and was inspired to use a language of indigenous tropical and ancestral imagery uniquely suited to the museum in her mural narrative. In 1982, an Art in Public Places Committee recommended the purchase and siting of Raymond Duchamp-Villon's "Cheval Majeur" on the Jack Orr Plaza at the cultural center, which together with the Historical Museum, the main library and the Center for the Fine Arts, form a one-block complex designed by architect Phillip Johnson. The APP Trust commissioned Edward Ruscha's first public work in 1985, a monumental painting for the rotunda of the library lobby. Based on a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet, "Words Without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go," (Act III; iii) Ruscha painted the mural on panels and installed it in time for the library's inauguration in July of 1985. The artist has also made a proposal for a series of paintings for the library's interior lunettes, the first of which, "Whenever," has been installed.
North of the Cultural Center Plaza, an Open Space Park has been planned to include a multi-part work at its southern end by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The Trust has approved the design, and the artists have coordinated their plans with the park's architects to site the work within the park's scheme, and define its electrical and mechanical infrastructure. Reviewing the artists' model, The Miami Herald Art Critic Helen Kohen wrote:
" ... Rather than developing a monolithic concept, the artists propose a work of many painted steel pieces, set into a witty conformation that allows parts of different shapes and sizes to create a changing play of light and shade upon the area. If it were whole, the sculpture would be a prosaic bowl of oranges. But the image is broken, the bowl in pieces, the oranges scattered about, either as segments or curly strips of peel. At the center of the work, which will be surrounded by a rim of live oaks that will eventually form a delightful bower of green, the major pieces of the bowl, some of the peel and two orange slices are part of the fountain itself... The orange is, after all, more than Florida's fruit: It is a symbol for the tropical life. And that bowl may be interpreted as a formal response to the surrounding architecture... [the work] is audacious, but open, inviting participation or offering quiet space... ."(13) The installation of this work will prove to be a significant addition to the revitalization of the western axis of downtown Miami.
In another downtown project, the leading painter of architectural trompe l'oeil, Richard Haas, has created a mural in a building for elderly housing. The artist spent time at the site deriving input for his images from many of the building's hispanic residents. As a result, Haas' artwork turned the lobby space into a tiled interior with ceramic reliefs of historic Cuban buildings. Although titled "Havana Landmarks," the painted iilusion includes a view of Miami's Freedom Tower.
A proposal by Elyn Zimmerman for a "Keystone Island" on a lake at the site of the North Dade Courts building has been commissioned by the Trust. Providing a counterpart to the postmodern justice building, the island sculpture will create a contemplative setting for users and visitors. Final structural documents and fabrication plans have been completed, and the artist has coordinated her design with the site architects.
Supporting the efforts of a team of artists, landscape architects, planners and environmentalists, the Trust has recently commissioned the design of a park for a lushly vegetated 35-acre site, Crandon Gardens, on Key Biscayne. A group of artists and technical consultants will be presented with a set of problems associated with the currently inactive site once the county zoo—among them to enhance family appeal, to create a variety of activities, to minimize maintenance costs, as well as provide solutions to environmental concerns like park lake water filtration. Community representatives will provide valuable input throughout the process. The design team will also plan the park's entrance gates, amphitheatre, bridge and other permanent structures. A series of ongoing temporary installations by artists will complement the permanent features, creating a unique park with a visual arts focus, and providing a contemporary counterpoint to the Park and Recreation Department's historic parks: Villa Vizcaya and the Charles Deering Estate.
With the development of Miami International Airport. a multitude of new buildings require various site related approaches in their artwork planning. Artists David Antin, Robert Irwin, Max Neuhaus, and Nam June Paik have been invited to develop artworks for various areas of the terminal. Combining techniques based on sound, videotaped images, advanced structural technology, words and poetry within the terminal's spaces, the artists intend to use a variety of approaches including electronic and computer technology, creating works rooted in the context for which they were inspired. The artists will also establish a dialogue with airport planners, architects, and officials to make a series of recommendations regarding the inclusion of artworks in future construction of the growing facility. Final proposals have not yet been presented by the artists. Another project for Tamiami and Opa-Iocka Airports involves artists as designers of aerial markings for those sites.
Upcoming projects for artwork placement during 1986 include the Seaport, the new home of the County Commission and administration, the Metro-Dade Center, various fire stations, the Miami Avenue Bridge over the Miami River, the Medical Examiner building, and a pre-trial detention facility, among others.
With more than 360 artworks, the collection requires continued review and a maintenance plan. The wide range of media used in these artworks—paper, pigments on canvas, cast bronze, carved wood, painted metal, fibers, neon. etc.—involve a variety of conservatorial needs. In some cases, artworks with complex electronic and mechanical equipment require ongoing maintenance contracts. On a recent study about the management of the collection, one writer outlines asset management techniques for implementing a preventive maintenance program, directing conservation and de-accessioning decisions and maximizing the use of existing resources. including a series of recommendations regarding the use of in-house (county) personnel and equipment for collection upkeep.(14)
* * * * *
Recognizing the significant contributions made by artists to the public setting throughout the country. John Beardsley writes in Art in Public Places, "The Artist and the City":
The Nation's cities have been the most visible sponsors and beneficiaries of art in public places projects. They have shown remarkable imagination in applying the diverse forms of contemporary art to a wide variety of purposes... With many cities now undergoing renewed development, opportunities are continuously emerging for the inclusion of art in new or renewed public environments, including buildings, plazas, parks and transportation facilities. The result of these activities is a group of artworks that reflect the diversity of contemporary art and the varying characters and goals of the sponsoring communities. Public encounters with art are now occurring in a surprising variety of situations. By continuing to sponsor a growing body of art in public places projects, one has confidence that cities will enlarge the situations in which the public encounters and grows familiar with the various forms of contemporary art. Indeed, cities are providing artists with an opportunity to communicate with a new and broader audience. Artists are recognizing the distinction between public and private spaces, and taking that into account when executing public commissions. They are working in new, often more durable media, and on an unaccustomed scale; they are entering into a more direct dialogue with the public. The public, for its part, is being treated to an array of sometimes witty, sometimes functional, sometimes unexpected solutions to the challenges of making art for the public space.(15)
With the increased patronage of art by the public and private sectors, artists and their contributions are being recognized and sought. County and city commissioners have become aware of the place of public art in their communities, and recognizing the growing prestige and benefits of numerous governmentsponsored public art collections, are passing percentfor-art legislation. In their own right, the Mayor and the Metro-Dade Board of County Commissioners have maintained a continuing commitment to Art and to the county's visual arts communities.
Metro-Dade's Art in Public Places program has placed numerous artworks throughout the county, establishing an accessible cultural resource for residents and visitors, and serving as a catalyst for the increased appreciation of art by the general public. The program continues to provide working opportunities for artists, while its expanding collection enriches the urban setting and serves as a visible symbol of local government's commitment to culture. Through its example, the Metro-Dade program has inspired percent-for-art legislation in nearby counties and throughout the State of Florida.
In 1976, Broward County established its first percent-for-art ordinance. Originally patterned after the Dade County ordinance, with the art set-aside as a percent of cost, a new ordinance was passed in October of 1985, changing the art formula. The formula is now determined by multipiying by $1 the square footage of the public building accessible to the public. Under the new ordinance the dollar amount generated for art is directly related to public accessibility. This ordinance does not permit the art requirement to be waived but does allow flexibility in transferring funds from one project to another. To date, Broward County has purchased 50 works of public art which can be found at the Southern Regional Courthouse, three branch libraries (Hallandale, Coral Springs, and South Regional) and the main library in Ft. Lauderdale. Upcoming installations include works by Dale Eldred and Yaacov Agam for the main Broward County Library.
Palm Beach County is activating its Art in Public Places Committee in an ambitious program of loaned, leased, and donated artworks for public display in partnership with the private sector of the community. Involving support from corporations, businesses, and individuals, this approach emphasizes a shared commitment in the realization of public art projects. The first site under consideration for artwork placement is the Palm Beach County Airport which opens in 1988.
Monroe County has not established an art in public places program. However, with a unique natural environment, the Florida Keys remain fertile territory for innovative work by artists whose works can help lend a distinctive identity to the developing island communities.
The increased awareness and support of Art in Public Places is reflected throughout the state of Florida. Well-established programs in Lee, Broward, and Metro-Dade counties have provided a model for the founding of other county programs, most recently in Orange County. Jacksonville has considered a percent for art ordinance, and Tampa has recently passed one. At the state level, the 1979 Art in State Buildings Ordinance made available 1/2 of 1% of the cost of construction of any new government facility for the purchase of art. Currently, 45 university projects and 10 for the Department of General Services mark the most active phase in the state program's history. As Metro-Dade County similarly enters a period of tremendous productivity, it is hoped that its projects will provide a positive precedent in support of future percent for art legislation in other areas of the state, and nationwide.
Cesar Trasobares, Executive Director
Mary Hoeveler, Information Coordinator
Metro-Dade Art in Public Places
(1) Gary Garrels. Beyond the Monument. (Cambridge. Massachusetts MIT Committee on the Visual Arts and the New England Foundation for Ihe Arts. 1983). p. 1. Catalogue from the exhibihon at MIT's Hayden Corridor Gallery. October 8-November 13, 1983
(2) For a discussion of the Richard Serra "Tilted Arc" case, see Robert Storr. "'Tilted Arc': Enemy of the People?" Art in America. September 1985. pp 90-97. For responses see "Letters." Art in America. November 1985. pp 5 and 7
(3) Ibid. P 95. as quoted from Richard Serra: Interviews ... 1970-1980 written and compiled in collaboration with Clara Weyergraf (Yonkers, New York: Hudson River Museum 1980). p 63
(4) Stacy P. Harris. ed., Preface. Insights/On Sites (Washington. DC. Partners lor Livable Places. 1984). p 11.
(5) As quoted in Site: The Meaning of Place in Art and Architecture. Design Quarterly: 122. edited and compiled by Mildred Freedman (Cambridge. Massachusetts: The MIT Press). p 1
(6) Scott Burton. Site: The Meaning of Place in Art and Architecture. Design Quarterly: 122. p. 10
(7) As quoted trom the catalogue of Documenta 7 (Kassel, Germany, 1982).
(8) Robert Irwin. Being and Circumstance Notes Toward a Conditional Art (Larkspur Landing, California: The Lapis Press. 1985). pp 26-27
(9) The Art Coordinators were:
Leslie J. Ahlander
Faith Atlass (Interim)
(10) The Artmobile sponsored the exhibilion "Art in Public Places: Models, Drawings and Blueprints'" June-July, 1981
(11) Members of the Professional Advisory Committee include:
Michael Auping, Chief Curator, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
James Demetrion, Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Robert H. Frankel, Director, Center for the Fine Arts, Miami, Florida
Ira Licht, Director, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
John Neff, Curator, First National Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Linda Nochlin, Professor of Art History, CUNY Graduate School, New York City, NY
Emily Pulitzer, Independent Curator and Collector, St Louis, Missouri
Irving Sandler, Professor at Art History, SUNY Purchase, New York
Dianne Vanderlip, Curator of Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
Carl Weinhardt, Director, Bonnet House, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
David Whitney, Adjunct Curator, Whitney Museum, New York, NY
(12) Program Directors under the Art in Public Places Trust:
Patricia G. Fuller. 10/83 to 2/85
Cesar Trasobares. 3/85 to present
(13) Helen Kohen. "Oldenburg's
Fountain a Fresh Symbol for Miami," The
MIami Herald, (June 16. 1985). p. 2K.
(14) Dori J. DeFalco. "Public Adminrstration of the Art in Public Places Program, Metro-Dade County." Report. Florida Atlantic University. 1985
(15) John Beardsley, Art in Public Places. (Washington. D.C.: Partners for Livable Places. 1981). pp. 41 and 53
SELECTED METRO-DADE ART IN PUBLIC PLACES BIBLIOGRAPHY
Ahlander, Leslie Judd. "Florida Moves to Lead the Way in Public Art." The Metropolitan, Fall 1978, pp. 76-78.
Earley, Sandra. "Ideas About Public Art Take Wing at Airport." The Miami Herald, 21 April 1985, p. 6L.
Edwards, Ellen. "Art in Public Buildings: You Gotta Have Art." The Miami Herald, Tropic Magazine, 23 Juiy 1978, pp. IS+.
Fuller, Patricia. "Why Public Art?" The Miami Herald, 20 January 1985, pp.1E+.
Harper, Paula. "Public Art is Public Concern" The Miami News, May 1985, p. 8C.
Kohen, Helen L. "South Florida as a Living Museum." The Miami Herald, 18 December 1983, pp. 1L+.
Metro-Dade County. Art in Public Places Trust. By-Laws of the Metropotitan Dade County Art in Public Places Trust. 13 December 1983.
Metro-Dade County. Art in Public Piaces Trust. Dade County Art in Public Places Master Plan and Implementation Guidelines. 1 January 1984
Metro-Dade County. Council of Arts and Sciences Ad Hoc Committee for Art in Public Places Review. Report ot the Ad Hoc Committee for Art in Public Places Review. September 1982.
Sanders, Vicki. "A Few Words with Ed Ruscha." The Miami Herald, 23 December 1985, p. 6C.
Volsky, George. "Dade's Investment in Public Art." The Miami Herald, 19 July 1983, p. 15A.
For information on Metro-Dade Art in Public Places Program write to:
111 N.W 1st Street, Suite 610, Miami, FL 33128-1982