Public art can leave a lasting impression. As buildings rise and fall and memories of neighborhoods change, the core of a city can be mapped by coordinates that art lovers know. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of New York’s Public Art Fund—founded in 1977 and engaged in the decades since with such artists as Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, Guerrilla Girls, Olafur Eliasson, Ai Weiwei, and scores more—ARTnews asked current director and chief curator Nicholas Baume to tell us about some of his favorite pieces around New York. Public art, he said, “forces artists to rethink how they work. It can be challenging, but it can also open doors—to new materials, thematics, scales.”
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