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
Tania Bruguera
Tatlin’s Whisper #5 2008
© Tania Bruguera

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.

related terms and concepts

explore this term

Suzanne Lacy: Silver Action

Artist Suzanne Lacy invited hundreds of older women to celebrate their roles in some of the greatest political protests of ...

The Tanks: Suzanne Lacy

On 10 May 1987 in Minneapolis, 430 women over the age of 60 gathered to share their views on growing ...

selected artists in the collection

selected artworks in the collection

Mark Dion Tate Thames Dig


Tania Bruguera Tatlin’s Whisper #5


Suzanne Lacy The Crystal Quilt


Cao Fei Whose Utopia?


new genre public art at tate

Tate Modern Performance

BMW Tate Live: Suzanne Lacy: Silver Action

3 Feb 2013
Suzanne Lacy event at Tate Modern. video coverage of hundreds of women over the age of sixty converging on The ...
Tate Modern Exhibition

Tania Bruguera: Immigrant Movement International

7–15 Aug 2012
Tania Bruguera takes up residence in The Tanks, Tate Modern with her socio-political project, Immigrant Movement International
Tate Modern Talk

BMW Tate Live: On Publicness

29 Sep 2014
On Publicness is the second event in the Talks series and will take place 29 September 2014 at Tate Modern ...