Art Term

New genre public art

The term new genre public art, refers to public art, often activist in nature, and created outside institutional structures in order to engage directly with an audience

Tania Bruguera
Tatlin’s Whisper #5 (2008)

The term was coined by the American artist, writer and educator Suzanne Lacy in 1991, to define a type of American public art that was not a sculpture situated in a park or a square

The definition was first used in a public performance at the San Francisco Museum of Art and later in Lacy’s book Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art. Lacy defined new genre public art as being activist, often created outside the institutional structure which brought the artist into direct engagement with the audience, while addressing social and political issues.

In 1993 an exhibition called Culture in Action presented a series of works that could be defined as new genre public art, like Mark Dion and his Chicago Urban Ecology Action Group who created an installation about the ecology of their neighbourhood.

Selected artists in the collection

Selected artworks in the collection

New genre public art at Tate