By Jonathan Sieg–
Stop reading this and take a second to look around you. Are you in the SAC, frolicking in all its grey concrete glory? Or a building of red brick? Perhaps you’re waiting for your next class on a bench, soaking in the hazy, “fresh” air of Louisville, under the expansive branches of an aged Tulip tree. Now think about what feelings your environment evokes. Do you feel a stark, gloomy separation from nature in an imposing maze of concrete and bland dry wall? Of course, you may feel the warmth of home as red bricks conjure up sentiments of your parent’s brick fireplace.
On the other hand, the trees offer a unique connection to the landscape and to all living things, as you realize your environment is as alive as you are. As urbanization increases and man-made environments impact more and more people, the need to develop public spaces that prove ascetically pleasing, functional, environmentally conscience, and inspiring become more crucial. The Speed Art Museum is going to bring this significant but often disregarded topic to the forefront of the public eye with their lecture series “The Contemporary Art Park,” in honor of the future Elizabeth P. and Frederick K. Cressman Art Park and Piazza at the Speed Art Museum.
The lecture will feature renowned speakers, from a variety of backgrounds, discussing art and its function in public space. Respected international art museum curator, Marc Pottier, will be the first speaker. Pottier will be discussing the impact and necessity of art parks for initiating interdisciplinary dialogue about the utilization of public spaces. A native of Brazil, Pottier has made significant strides in organizing contemporary artists, as illustrated in his book “Made by Brazilians.”
Also discussing the integration of art with the public, Liana Brazil will give a lecture which will detail how technology can be incorporated with art to provide a modern, and relevant, experience for a 21st century public. Brazil will be representing an organization, also based out of Brazil, called “SuperUber,” which specializes in the integration technology and media across all design disciplines.
Lastly, the series will feature Lord William Burlington, a staple name in the Contemporary Art world. An Irish art entrepreneur, Burlington has hosted several lectures and exhibitions in his castle-home, and will provide a European perspective to the topic.
The lectures will offer an in-depth look into the minds of today’s top designers and illustrate the importance of art and its place in the public sphere. The lectures will be held at the Kentucky Center starting on Feb.12. They will be about 45 minutes long, with a 10 minute Q&A session after. Tickets are free for U of L students. More information can be found on the Speed Museum’s website: http://www.speedmuseum.org/speed-lecture-series.html.
Now, more than ever, having an understanding about public space is vital to a strong, vibrant community. This is a great opportunity to gain a deeper understanding about the issue, and what can be done to influence how these public spaces are best utilized.