utrecht,-the-netherlands

View of “Can Altay,” 2011.

Can Altay

Casco Office for Art, Design and Theory

View of “Can Altay,” 2011.

The appearance of public art is often the result of top-down decision-making or capital-driven urban regeneration. In “COHAB: An Assembly of Spare Parts,” Can Altay reviewed the genre, examining its reception at street level by the people who live with it and, in turn, addressing what he evocatively called the “agency” of artworks that persist in our environment.

As his object of study, Altay took Utrecht, a city famous (or notorious) in Holland for its more than four hundred public artworks. His exhibition was structured around “assembly points”—wooden units echoing the architecture of postwar social housing—which were surrounded by charts that mapped the bursts of public art in Utrecht in each decade since the 1920s (Territorial Enquiry; all works 2011), faux-bureaucratic forms inviting the audience to share their thoughts on art in urban spaces (Public Form), and

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