Jack Becker: Hiding in Plain Sight: The Challenge of Making Public Art Public

Please join the Friends of the Institute on October 8 for Jack Becker’s talk: “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Challenge of Making Public Art Public.”

Jack Becker has been in the field of contemporary public art for more than 43 years as an artist, producer, curator, writer, publisher, arts administrator, and more. Despite the omnipresence of public art, Becker contends it remains unknown, overlooked, and misunderstood. “It’s no wonder people aren’t sure what it is,” Becker says, “It’s not taught in schools—even in many art colleges—and audiences have no idea where it comes from, who created it, what it means, what it takes to produce or how it was selected.”

Today public art has gained currency. While the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered many museums, galleries, and theaters, public spaces have remained open and public art more present, and topical, in our cultural lives. With the civic unrest following the murder of George Floyd, countless murals have gone up and statues have come down. Yet what have we learned about the field, and what has the field learned about the power of public art to improve our lives? Becker will share his thoughts, reflect on insights gained during his decades-long career, and engage audience members in a dialogue about the many challenges facing the field.

Jack Becker is a Minneapolis-based artist, founder of the nonprofit Forecast Public Art, and founding publisher of Public Art Review, an international magazine devoted to contemporary public art. He grew up in St. Louis, where he studied theater and visual arts with a focus on collaboration, experimentation, and interactive installation work. He is currently an active member of the local art-car community. In addition to Forecast, Becker served as Art in Public Places coordinator for the City of Minneapolis and Arts Development Manager for the City of St. Paul. Becker received the 2007 Award of Excellence from Americans for the Arts and the 2014 Public Art Dialogue Lifetime Achievement Award, a program of the College Art Association. In 2016, he received the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.

Reserve your ticket at artsmia.org or by calling 612.870.6323. Tickets are available for Friends members on September 15, and the general public on September 17.

A Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lecture