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Sandra Sider

Abbreviation for ‘optical art’, referring to painting, prints, sculpture, and textiles exploiting the optical effects of visual perception. The term entered American art vocabulary in 1964, referring especially to two-dimensional structures with strong psychophysiological effects. The reasons for these effects had been explained in three 19th-century treatises: Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s ...

Article

Henry Adams

Italian family of stonecarvers active in America. At the turn of the century, when the craze for classical architecture was at its height, statues in marble were produced in great quantity for buildings and public spaces. Since the early 19th century, it had been common to separate the design process of creating a model in clay or plaster, and the task of actually carving the marble block. To take advantage of the skills of Italian craftsmen, in the early 19th century many American sculptors established studios in Rome or Florence. By the turn of the century, however, many Italian craftsmen immigrated to the United States in order to work more easily with American sculptors and architects, and to take advantage of the American building boom. Among this group were the Piccirilli brothers, who established the most successful statuary and stone carving business that has ever existed in America. The patriarch of the Piccirilli clan, Giuseppe (...

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Jeremy Hunt and Jonathan Vickery

At the turn of the millennium, public art was an established global art genre with its own professional and critical discourse, as well as constituencies of interest and patronage independent of mainstream contemporary art. Art criticism has been prodigious regarding public art’s role in the ‘beautification’ of otherwise neglected social space or in influencing urban development. Diversity and differentiation are increasingly the hallmarks of public art worldwide, emerging from city branding strategies and destination marketing as well as from artist activism and international art events and festivals. The first decade of the 21st century demonstrated the vast opportunity for creative and critical ‘engagement’, activism, social dialogue, and cultural co-creation and collective participation. New public art forms emerged, seen in digital and internet media, pop-up shops, and temporary open-access studios, street performance, and urban activism, as well as architectural collaborations in landscape, environment or urban design....

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Elise Madeleine Ciregna

Stonecarving throughout American history has been utilized for various purposes: utilitarian work such as paving, roofing and hitching posts; and ornamental work, such as architectural elements, gravestones and monuments, and sculpture. America’s first professional stonecarvers were mainly trained, skilled artisans from England and Scotland. These men were often called “statuaries” because they were capable of producing highly ornamental carving and sculpture, similar to the work of trained academic sculptors. There was little call for such highly decorative work in the colonies, but as urban centers gradually formed, stone masons found plenty of work in newly emerging cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and New York....