Since 1977, the Public Art Fund has worked with over 500 emerging and established artists to produce innovative exhibitions of contemporary art throughout New York City. By bringing artworks outside the traditional context of museums and galleries and into public spaces, the organization provides a unique platform for an unparalleled public encounter with the art of our time.
Founded by Doris C. Freedman, the Public Art Fund was formed by the consolidation of two organizations, City Walls and the Public Arts Council.
Public Art Fund works with established artists to commission new projects and curate exhibitions of existing artworks not previously seen in New York City. The organization also collaborates with city museums to expand their reach beyond gallery spaces. Once a year, the Public Art Fund has an open call for New York-based emerging artists called In the Public Realm. This program enables today’s most promising artists to conceive, develop and realize innovative works for the city’s public spaces. Additional outreach is provided through Public Art Fund Talks, a series of discussions and presentations by today’s most influential artists. Public Art Fund also publishes exhibition catalogs and a semi-annual magazine, which provides supporters and the general public with an overview of the organization’s diverse activities and accomplishments.
A sampling of recent exhibitions and presentations include Richard Wood’s wall and door and roof at City Hall Park (2009); Julie Farris and Sarah Wayland-Smith’s A Clearing in the Street at Collect Pond Park in Lower Manhattan; Olafur Eliasson’s The New York City Waterfalls along the shorelines of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Governors Island; Chris Burden’s What My Dad Gave Me at Rockefeller Center (2008); Alexander Calder in New York at City Hall Park (2006-07); Sarah Morris’s Robert Towne at Lever House (2006-07); Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror at Rockefeller Center (2006); Janet Cardiff’s Her Long Black Hair in Central Park (2004); and Jeff Koons' Puppy at Rockefeller Center (2000).