Press Release

The Evolving Role of Public Art Examined by Artists and Thought Leaders in Madison Square Park Conservancy's Annual Symposium on June 21, 2019 at SVA

Event Date: 
21 June 2019
New York, NY
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Free and Open to the Public, Innovating Public Art features discussions with Martin Puryear, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Alex Da Corte, Max Hollein, and Others

Madison Square Park Conservancy announced the program for its fifth annual public symposium, which brings together leading artists, art world professionals, and journalists to consider pressing issues in public art. Innovating Public Art examines how the commissioning and creation of public art has evolved from being a force for commemoration into a catalyst for conversation, focusing on work that challenges the public and incites debate. The event includes artists who have realized public work—including Martin Puryear, who is representing the United States at the 2019 Venice Biennale, and Leonardo Drew, whose monumental public work City in the Grass opens in Madison Square Park on June 3—as well as curators who program outdoor projects, museum directors who are reimaging their institutional responsibilities, and innovators whose work centers on public art in communities and neighborhoods.

Free and open to the public, Innovating Public Art is organized by Madison Square Park Conservancy in collaboration with the School of Visual Arts and will be held on Friday, June 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, in the SVA Theatre.

The symposium is anchored by a conversation with artist Martin Puryear and architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the exhibition designers of Martin Puryear: Liberty/Libertà, currently on view in the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale through November 24, 2019. Commissioned and curated by Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Senior Curator of Madison Square Park Conservancy, and organized by the Conservancy in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the exhibition marks the first time in the history of Biennale Arte that the U.S. Pavilion has been organized by a public art institution.

The symposium also includes a series of presentations along with a dynamic panel discussion, moderated by New York Times art critic Holland Cotter, with artists and museum leadership considering innovations in the field, the opportunities and challenges for artists when realizing work in the public sphere, and how and why public art can play a role in an institution’s civic responsibility. Previous public art symposia organized by Madison Square Park Conservancy have included Explaining Public Art (2015), Dreaming Public Art (2016), Accessing Public Art (2017), and Removing Public Art (2018).

Full program details are available in the press release available for download on this page.

The event is free and open to the public, but a reply is necessary. Please RSVP at

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