Glossary

What is New Genre Public Art?

The term new genre public art (NGPA), refers to public art, often activist in nature, and created outside institutional structures in order to engage directly with an audience. The term was coined by the American artist, writer and educator Suzanne Lacy in 1991, to define a type of American public art that was not a sculpture situated in a park or a square


The definition was first used in a public performance at the San Francisco Museum of Art and later in Lacy’s book Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art. Lacy defined new genre public art as being activist, often created outside the institutional structure which brought the artist into direct engagement with the audience, while addressing social and political issues.


Beyond the Monument: Unlike traditional public art focused on static objects, New Genre Public Art (NGPA) emphasizes process and engagement over finished products.


Activism in Action: NGPA is often socially and politically charged, addressing issues like environment, community, and identity. Think performance art, installations, and interventions that spark dialogue and action.


Beyond the Gallery: NGPA thrives outside traditional art institutions, often in public spaces like parks, streets, or online platforms, directly connecting with the public.


Collective Creation: NGPA encourages collaboration and participation. Artists work with communities, blurring the line between artist and audience, creating shared experiences.


Ephemerality is Key: NGPA often embraces impermanence, using temporary materials and experiences to challenge traditional ideas of art as fixed and everlasting.


Key Figures: Suzanne Lacy, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Guillermo Gómez-Peña are pioneers who defined and shaped the movement


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