Indiana State University Library

Indiana State University Library Blog

Jason Krueger Participates in Art Chatter: What Is So Special About Public Art?

Posted by isulib on July 23, 2015

On July 16, Susan Baley (Executive Director of the Swope Art Museum) and Jason Krueger (Director of the Indiana State University Permanent Art Collection) were at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Terre Haute to participate in Art Spaces, Inc. – Wabash Valley Outdoor Sculpture Collection Art Chatter series, within the topic of What Is So Special About Public Art?

Public art contributes to the economic vitality and livability of our community!  But what are some of the ways in which public sculpture may impact an individual life?

Susan and Jason discussed public works that were important to their own lives.  Everyone was invited to add to the discussion with stories and suggestions about public art that has lasting impact.

Jason provides the following report of this event:

Yesterday’s event went pretty much as what is described in the ArtSPaces blurb.  I talked about the Jardins D’Agua in Lisbon and the Freedom of Expression National Monument. The Jaridins D’Agua is somewhere I traveled in 1998 during the World’s Fair.  It makes connections between the public and the complex history of the relationship between Portugal and water of all kinds. One section contains volcano-shaped fountains made in colorful Portuguese polychromatic ceramic tiles. Water slowly trickles down its surface, making the tiles glow and appear to move until…. the pipes under a wooden walk way shake and the volcanoes erupt with a giant ball of water. The cycle is just long enough for one to let down one’s guard and is simply a lot of fun, especially in the hot Iberian sun.

Freedom of Expression National Monument began in 1984 by artists Erika Rothenberg, Laurie Hawkinson and John Malpede at Art on the Beach, a performance art and installation festival running from 1978 – 1985 at the Battery Park City Landfill that was created by the construction of the World Trade Center.  In 1984 during the summer a wide ranging group of speakers came to talk, sing, recite poetry or otherwise perform on issues like the AIDS epidemic, homelessness, poverty, the environment and more.  In 2003, architecture critic Herbert Muschamp proposed that it be reinstalled at the site of the twin towers, stating that “The need for such a public platform has never been greater than it is now.”   It was put up in Manhattan in the summer of 2004, taken down due to lack of permits. But the artists’ intent was for it to always be temporarily constructed, wherever the needs for freedom of expression demanded it.  It is not like other so called national monuments, it is at a completely tangible scale and meant for an individual to occupy and activate it.  Yet at the same time it is about this rather intangible concept of freedom. The Freedom of Expression National Monument, as a civic architectural artwork, requires this activation of concept, but it also requires the cooperation of others to give it space to operate.  If Freedom of Expression is the concept, than the Freedom of Expression National Monument has been the proof of concept.

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In addition we are pleased to report that Jason’s work Drowning won an Award of Distinction at the Annual Wabash Valley Juried Exhibition at the Swope Museum of Art.  Jason speaks: The work is about the relationship between someone drowning and someone trying to save them. The struggle emphasized in their gesture offers a metaphor for the human condition.  It is drawn in walnut ink of my own formula in a way that buckles, cracks and bubbles the surface in a way that gives the figures a fluid environment in which to interact and places the viewer below the water, with them. This work is from the same series as my Master’s Thesis. This work and a new work from my Idebtity ​series will be on view at the Swope through Aug. 8th.

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