The Coupling of Art and Government: Dilemmas in Government Commissioned Public Art

By Jay Younger.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In Queensland, Australia, public art, and specifically the public art produced under Art Built-in, has been seen to be “dumbed down,” with a preference for art in the public domain that is not critically-engaged. The government client-commissioner within the supposedly democratic art-by-committee process often expects the artwork to represent government values and to be content-free and risk-free with the intention of avoiding controversy. With the demise of Art Built-in in 2006, Arts Queensland has put in place a new strategy, art + place. In terms of critically engaged practice in public art, has Queensland public art improved? In this paper, a case study of three recent commissioning phases of the Department of Justice and Attorney General will be undertaken to reflect on the development of Queensland’s government public art commissioning methodologies.

Keywords: Public Art, Government Commissioning

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 7, pp.95-116. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.756MB).

Assoc. Prof Jay Younger

Public Art Curator, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Jay Younger is a practising artist and Associate Professor at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Jay’s work focuses on space, place and the body and finds form in photomedia, video, sound, site specific installation and art in public places. Jay has undertaken public art projects both as an artist and curator as well as within state government, local council, and corporate contexts. Significant public art curatorial projects include: Brisbane Magistrates Courts (2002-4) and Brisbane Supreme and District Court (2008-current). BMC showcased 14 Queensland artists and was the highest budget project of its time at $1.7 million. BSCDC, is similarly one of the largest budget projects of its time with a $3 million budget and is commissioning 3 Queensland artists Sally Gabori, Gemma Smith, and Sebastian Di Mauro alongside internationally acclaimed artist Yayoi Kusama.


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