Site Specific Art

About

The idea, which came to prominence in the 1960s, that the physical location and surroundings of an artwork are inseparable from its identity. This concept arose as a result of 1960s artists’ increasing interest in the physical contexts of their artmaking, specifically how different contexts could change (and more importantly, complicate) the experience of an artwork. The best-known example of this type of work is Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc, which Serra created specifically for a public plaza in Lower Manhattan in 1979 and that was commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts. Public outcry against the work was intense, and as a result, the work was removed in 1989. It was never re-installed anywhere else, as Serra had been contracted to create a site-specific work solely for the plaza; accordingly, he argued, “to remove the work is to destroy the work.”