Public Art as Social Space-Center for the Arts in Society - Carnegie Mellon University

Public Art as Social Space

Through emergent forms of social engagement and site-making, many contemporary artists have redefined or challenged the very concept of “public art.”  Some have sought to develop experimental models for an artistic practice that hybridize practices both inside and outside of the art world in order to develop innovative approaches to the construction of social and quasi-institutional spaces as works in themselves. This project, under the direction of Jon Rubin of the School of Art, centers on the development of The Waffle Shop, a public artwork in the form of a neighborhood restaurant that produces and broadcasts a live-streaming talk show with its customers, operates a changeable storytelling billboard on its roof, and runs a revolving take-out window from its backdoor that sells food and disseminates information from countries engaged in conflict with the U.S.  The project also functions as a public labratory for the cross-fertilization of projects of artists, scholars and community members, initiating public forums that address issues of public art, urban development, economic sustainability, and social space.   Components of this project include: the ongoing development of a course called the Storefront Project focused on art’s social role in constructing space for public dialogue; a publication that invites artists and intellectuals to contextualize The Waffle Shop and its experiments in social engagement within other national and international initiatives and ideas.

Watch a video of Larry Bogad (and Christian White) at the Waffle Shop.

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