10 Fascinating Crowdsourced Artworks


The crowdsourced art movement invites creators, participants, and viewers to connect, share and present different perspectives, and confront or challenge events and ideologies in fascinating ways. The most recent example of crowdsourced art has offered a space of healing for Americans in a President-elect Donald Trump world. We explore that installation and other collective artworks, below.

Subway Therapy

This project comes from Matthew “Levee” Chavez and allows New York subway riders to share their thoughts, fears, and other emotions. “Subway Therapy is about making people smile, laugh, and feel less stress. If someone wants to get something off their chest or has a burning question, I’m happy to be there for them. I believe that people grow and learn through dynamic conversation.”

Learning to Love You More

Artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher published assignments for people to follow, like “assignment #61: describe your ideal government.” Participants would support these actions with documentation, videos, photos, and audio. This was eventually turned into a book and the collections were exhibited at various museums, including the Whitney.

Before I Die

Candy Chang’s Before I Die invites people to share their reflections on life and personal hopes and dreams in a public space. The project has since grown to more than 1,000 walls in 70 countries.

The One Million Masterpiece

More on the One Million Masterpiece: “How can you create a true snapshot of our global society, and sum up its diversity in one single picture? Simple. Get together one million ordinary people from all around the world, and get them to work on the picture together in the world’s largest ever artistic collaboration. A collaboration where everyone is equal, where all outcomes are valid.”

Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks

From the project website:

For TED’s 30th anniversary, artists Janet Echelman and Aaron Koblin collaborated to create Unnumbered Sparks, a monumental interactive sculpture in the sky. Choreographed by visitors in real time through their mobile devices, at night the sculpture became a crowd-controlled visual artwork on a giant, floating canvas. The sculpture spanned 745 feet between buildings in downtown Vancouver, Canada from March 15-22, 2014 (map). At night, it came alive with illumination. Visitors with smartphones and tablets were able to paint vibrant beams of light across the sculpture at a remarkable scale: small movements on their phones became hundred foot long trails evolving and combining with fellow participants.

This Exquisite Forest

More on this collaborative animation:

From 2012 – 2014, visitors to this site could use an online drawing tool to create a short animation. Other visitors could then build off of that animation, resulting in branching, ever-evolving narratives resembling trees. The project was conceived by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin, and produced by the Google Data Arts Team and Tate Modern. It makes extensive use of Google Chrome’s advanced web technologies, as well as Google App Engine and Cloud Storage. A physical exhibit at Tate Modern was open for over one year beginning on July 23, 2012 and allowed visitors to participate using digital drawing tablets. As of August 1, 2014, the project is closed to new animations but the site is still open for those who wish to browse the forest of animations. Thank you to everyone who participated.

The Johnny Cash Project

The Johnny Cash Project invites participants to “share [their] vision of Johnny Cash, as he lives on in your mind’s eye. Working with a single image as a template, and using a custom drawing tool, [people] create a unique and personal portrait of Johnny.” Everyone’s creations are combined to make up a new music video for “Ain’t No Grave.”


SwarmSketch collects drawings of the collective unconscious. From the website: “Each week it randomly chooses a popular search term which becomes the sketch subject for the week. In this way, the collective is sketching what the collective thought was important each week. A new sketch begins after one week, or after the previous sketch reaches one thousand lines, whichever comes first.”

Urs Fischer

From MoCA’s website:

At The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Fischer has undertaken a vast collaborative project contributed to by 1,500 individuals invited to come and work in clay in the weeks preceding the exhibition opening. All were asked to join him in making figures and animals out of clay-familiar forms to all, allowing for variation within a theme so that the possibilities for style, structure, scale, and finish are open to exploration while the overall refrain remains the same. Scattered throughout the expansive space of The Geffen, the clay forms are interspersed with Fischer’s works, including the massive wax sculpture Untitled (2011), which takes the form of Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women (1579-83). Subjected to a process of melting through the controlled burning of strategically located wicks, the work brings together the ephemeral and the monolithic. Outside the museum, a reversal of this process has taken place as Fischer has transformed a small-scale clay sculpture into a colossus. Further reflecting on this method of conversion, Fischer’s photo-illusionistic wallpaper re-creates the environment of the studio of the New York-based artist Josh Smith. Fischer leads the viewer through the carefully orchestrated exhibition, from one spatial experience or visual scenography to another, bringing together the apparently disparate parts of the tale to create a landscape of fragmented figures, ruins, and fracture.

Photo via Brooklyn Street Art, © Jaime Rojo

The Neighbors

More on the first US museum exhibit of the work of Paweł Althamer:

Over the course of the exhibition, the blank white space of the New Museum’s Fourth Floor gallery is transformed through the gradual accumulation of drawings and paintings by Museum visitors and a wide array of invited community organizations. Althamer also activates the exhibition through a sculptural workshop in which the artist and his collaborators will produce new works during the course of the show. The New Museum provides all paint and drawing materials for this installation (please do not bring outside supplies).