Public art is usually thought of as the art installed or commissioned in conjunction with a public building such as government offices, a hospital or a university. But there is a whole different type of “public” art, equally visible to the public, but the property and project of private individuals. This is the not-so-official public art that you find in someone’s front yard as you commute to work, visit your grandmother, or take an evening stroll. Some neighborhoods might be considered blighted (and in some locales in the nation subject to eminent domain) because of rusted cars propped up on cinderblocks. But weld that rusted car to some other disparate elements, maybe a moving element or two, and all of a sudden you have cutting-edge assemblage art. In plain site for the public to see.
For this month’s plain site feature, we highlight two pieces of this type of art, within a short stroll of each other. The first is the kinetic art of Cal Vestal. Vestal is represented by galleries in Salt Lake City like Phillips Gallery and Utah Artist Hands and you may be familiar with his work from visits to these galleries. More likely, though, you know his work from a Saturday afternoon jaunt to Liberty Park. The building at 637 East and 900 South, near the Liberty Park entrance has multiple pieces by Vestal spinning, rotating and gliding in the wind while their surfaces reflect the spotlights of the sun. Also near Liberty Park, but on a much less visible side street, you may have noticed the Hansen home at 1083 Lake St. (740 E.), where an assemblage of cattle skulls, deadwood and farm machinery adorns the front lawn.
Is there a favorite piece of not-so-public art in your neighborhood that you love (or hate)? Email us an image of it and we will publish it in our next In Plain Site.
With our In Plain Site byline we feature publicly viewable art, both official and street art, throughout the state of Utah.