Spring 2013

Public Art and Collective Memory in the United States

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-360  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-360


Carol C. Clark (Section 01)


(Offered as AMST 360 and ARHA 360.)  What is public art and what role does it play in public life and collective memory in the United States? In this course we will study art that is commissioned, paid for, and owned by the state as well as private works scaled to public encounter.  A focus of our study will be the evolution of public art in Washington, D.C. (19th-21st centuries), but we will range from New York harbor to the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Great Salt Lake, and we will discuss the fate of works that, like Richard Serra's Tilted Arc, exist today only in photographic record and documented debate. Asking whether and how public art mediates between private and public life will guide us to consider when and how it defines national or local values and why so many public art projects have aroused controversy. The course is organized around class discussion and student presentations, and it includes short papers and a paper/presentation of an independent research project.  Two meetings per week.

Requisite: One course in American Studies, History, or the History of Art.  Limited to 20 students. Permission required for first-year students.  Spring semester.  Professor Clark.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013