Art in Public Places: an archive of the Public Art Development Trust
29 May – 29 August 2009
Exhibition in the Upper Sculpture Study Gallery, Leeds Art Gallery
Established in 1983, the Public Art Development Trust (PADT) defined public art in the UK for twenty years.
Julian Opie, 'Proposal for the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain' (2002) Courtesy of the artist / Leeds Museums and Galleries (Henry Moore Institute Archive)
Julian Opie, 'Proposal for the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain' (2002)
Courtesy of the artist / Leeds Museums and Galleries (Henry Moore Institute Archive)
Responsible for commissioning new sculpture, the Trust enabled such well-known artists as Julian Opie, Cornelia Parker and Katarina Fritsch to produce site specific works dealing with aesthetic, social and environmental issues.
This exhibition celebrates the archive of the PADT which was acquired by the Henry Moore Institute in 2005. Tracing projects generated by the Trust – realised and unrealised – the material gives a unique insight into the evolution of public art and charts a major shift from permanent bronze and stone figures to temporary interventions, installations and projections.
Early projects commissioned by the PADT had a traditional feel but as time went on works were increasingly experimental. Working with contemporary British and international artists, including Daniel Buren, Anya Gallaccio, Grenville Davey, Magdalena Jetelova, Langlands and Bell and Vong Phaophanit, the Trust generated hundreds of projects. These were developed in collaboration with a wide range of organisations – public bodies and private developers, architects and individuals – including London Transport, British Rail, British Waterways and many local and regional authorities. The projects ranged from small-scale interventions to major urban developments and encompassed a wide variety of media.
The archive of the PADT records the development of realised and unrealised works and in some cases their history after installation (and their occasional demise). As such it offers a rare insight into a range of public art projects, including some which have never been brought to public attention and others which no longer exist.
Featuring previously unseen material from this fascinating archive, Art in Public Places displays drawings, film, letters, photographs, maquettes and audiotapes. In doing so it gives a snapshot into the complexities of public arts organisations and a view into how sometimes controversial projects played out through ephemeral and documentary material.