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Free Content Retro-Spective: ‘Places with a Past’ – New site-specific art in Charleston, Spoleto Festival USA, 1991

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Adopting the form of a retrospective review of the temporary site-specific public art programme curated by Mary Jane Jacob at the Spoleto Festival in 1991, this article contextualizes the project with reference to both subsequent critical responses and the broader informal professional reception of the programme. Consideration is given to the contestation of traditional museum practices; the construction of counter-histories; questions of affect and ethical positioning; questions of mediation and the conditions of critique; and the reputational stakes involved in experimental public art outside the traditional centres of the contemporary art world. The article concludes by asserting the importance of attending to everyday operational and reputational practices in constructing critical accounts and analyses of public culture.
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Keywords: Mary Jane Jacob; Spoletto Festival; cultural democracy; museum-without-wall; reputational economy; site-specific sculpture; spublic culture

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media

Publication date: 01 January 2011

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  • Art & the Public Sphere provides a new platform for academics, artists, curators, art historians and theorists whose working practices are broadly concerned with contemporary art's relation to the public sphere. The journal presents a crucial examination of contemporary art's link to the public realm, offering an engaged and responsive forum in which to debate the newly emerging series of developments within contemporary thinking, society and international art practice.
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