Interview by Christopher Jagers (CEO, SlideRoom) with Jay Sullivan, Professor of Sculpture and Chair, Division of Art: Meadows School of the Arts. This interview will be posted in two parts: 1) In the Public Eye and 2) Behind the scenes.
Part I: In the Public Eye
CJ: When I first asked you to do an interview with you about "Public Art," what did you immediately begin thinking about?
JS: I first thought of Foucault's idea of Heterotopias: spaces within a space, where a certain kind of special activity can take place, both within and also slightly outside of society. Classic examples of this are hospitals, insane asylums or graveyards. These are places where society can have safe conversations about things that they don't want to deal with all the time or everywhere. Ironically, when I think about Public Art, I think about the Percent for Art Project and this notion that we seek to beautify train stations, airports and other things. There is a heterotopic feel about that. On one hand, it is defining certain structures (usually municipal) as being public in a way that other spaces (like major street intersections) are not. For instance, if I put a big sculpture at a major street intersection, I could get into more trouble (aesthetic) than if I put the same piece of sculpture in a train station—the spaces are “public” in different ways and we expect different things to happen there.