Jeff Koons, Puppy, resting at the Bilbao Guggenheim after its purchase in 1997, and on tour at Rockefeller Plaza in 2000.
Richard Serra, Tilted Arc from 1981. The curving wall of raw steel, 120 feet long and 12 feet hig, intersected Federal Plaza in New York City, making it necessary for passerby to circumvent the piece when walking through; apparently it was enough of a hindrance to spur a 4-1 public hearing verdict demanding the artwork be removed by 1989.
Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfalls project for New York City (2008), sponsored by the Public Art Fund. Four man-made waterfalls were installed along the East River waterfront, delighting viewers but causing controversy due to environmental and fiscal concerns.
French duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude installed unfurling orange “gates” along 23 miles of footpaths in Central Park in February 2005.
Roxy Paine’s Conjoined stainless-steel tree sculptures, on view in Madison Square Park in 2007 before later decamping to the rooftop of The Met.
Takashi Murakami’s Reversed Double Helix, a solo exhibition on display in Rockefeller Plaza in October 2003.
Chicago is big on public art as well, carving an enormous exhibition plaza in Millennium Park, right on the waterfront next to The Art Institute. While not always entirely respectful of public art pieces, or highbrow for that matter, Chi-town’s got one artwork to put other public installations to shame.
Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, Chicago. Referred to by locals as “The Bean”, it weighs in at over 110 tons, and its dimensions measure 66 feet long by 33 feet high, and its seamless stainless-steel surface is the result of thousands of hours of polishing.
For more, check out New York’s Public Art Fund archive, and let us know what you think makes good public art in the comments.