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Joan Marter

(b New York, Sept 8, 1940).

American environmental artist. Johanson is known for art projects created in the natural landscape that solve environmental problems. She is considered a pioneer in ecological art and has made permanent installations in gardens and parks in the United States and abroad. Johanson was born in New York City, where she was a frequent visitor to parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. She graduated from Bennington College where she studied with sculptor Tony Smith. While at Bennington (1958–62) she also met artists Kenneth Noland, David Smith, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline and Philip Guston. In 1964 Johanson completed a master’s degree in art history at Hunter College.

A publishing project offered her the opportunity to catalogue the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, who became her mentor. Johanson’s paintings from the 1960s were Minimalist, as she explored the optical effects of colors. In 1966 she began producing large-scale sculpture, also Minimalist in style. ...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Active in New York and Colorado.

Born October 1959, in Athens (Ohio).

Sculptor, landscape artist, architect.

Environmental Art, Land Art.

Maya Lin studied architecture at Yale University, obtaining a BA in 1981 and an MA in 1986. In 1987, Yale awarded her an honorary doctorate in fine arts. She taught in the Yale art history department, the school of landscape design at Harvard University, and the Phillips Exeter Academy. She also worked as a design consultant and an architectural designer....

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

The first national parks were conceived to preserve the natural wonders of a primeval American wilderness that served as inspiration for American painters and photographers. American landscape architecture and park design were central to the emergence of the National Park System at the end of the 19th century, and the permanent conservation of threatened areas of natural beauty. Photography and landscape painting strongly influenced the aesthetic appreciation of unspoiled nature. Photography informed the construction of pictorial spaces, distances, situated views in unexpected places, lighting, angle of view, framing of the view. The overwhelming experience of America’s natural places influenced painters, such as Thomas Cole, Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt, and naturalists, such as John Muir, whose emphasis on the transcendental vision of wilderness began to shape a desire to conserve these places as national symbols of America. Moran’s paintings of Yellowstone Park were influential in designating Yellowstone as America’s first national park on ...

Article

City parks are areas of land specifically allocated for public recreation. The word ‘park’ was originally used to define enclosed pieces of land stocked with wild animals and managed for hunting purposes. Parks such as the Tiergarten in Berlin, the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, and the Royal Parks in London were established as royal preserves in or adjacent to capital cities. Informal public access to the London parks was allowed from the early 17th century.

Boston Common, established in 1634 as pasture owned in common by the citizens, is the oldest public urban park in North America. The first walkway on the Common was created in 1675 and the first tree-lined pedestrian mall was planted in 1728. Equally, Mount Auburn Cemetery (1831) in Cambridge, MA, and subsequent urban cemeteries of the period, performed many of the functions of a public park. But the 843-acre Central Park (...

Article

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.

Intellectually, the roots of contemporary public art can be found in the ludic and the architectonic: in the playful public interventions epitomized in the 1960s by the ...