New York

Luis Jimenez

Alternative Museum

There is a tendency to approach public art timidly. Scale can, of course, be inflated to bravado proportions, but other dimensions are often reduced. In the search for common themes and shared associations, many artists digress to a muddled, simplified esthetic. The intentions may be good, but the works are blandly uncommunicative. No-brand, generic public art ignores everything but an anticipated majority, but the idea of a public is an abstraction; “the public” does not really exist. “Public” implies a transcendence of pluralism toward a meaningless neutrality. Pollsters perpetuate the idea of “the public,” but triumphant moments in art and elsewhere often involve unpredictable and surprising behavior and events, and we are refreshed by the revelation of the fallaciousness of our generalizations.

The bold work of Luis Jimenez has reconstituted and invigorated the concept of public art.

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 1984 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.