In June 2016, Claire Doherty visited Melbourne to work with artists on projects around the Queen Victoria Market, as part of the City of Melbourne’s 2016 Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab, curated by Natalie King.
Doherty shared her insights on commissioning public artworks, working with artists and the major projects in her career to date. ‘It’s not forever’; ‘Don’t waste time on definitions’ and ‘It doesn’t have to look like public art’ – these are among the principles outlined in Claire Doherty’s provocative manifesto, New Rules for Public Art.
The manifesto was published in 2013 by Situations – the groundbreaking Bristol-based public art organisation of which Doherty is director – and it blew a gust of fresh thinking through the art world. Doherty had illuminated some of the tired clichés, as well many of the untapped possibilities, of public art.
‘Believe in the quiet, unexpected encounter as much as the magic of the mass spectacle,’ she wrote. ‘It’s often in the silence of a solitary moment, or in a shared moment of recognition, rather than the exhilaration of whizzes and bangs, that transformation occurs.’ In England, Doherty has been awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievements as an original and rigorous thinker who is committed to new and unusual forms of art production and presentation.
Claire Doherty is Director of Situations, which she initiated in 2002: a UK arts organisation dedicated to commissioning and producing compelling new forms of public art. In 2009, she was awarded a Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Award as an outstanding cultural entrepreneur and in 2016 was made an MBE for her outstanding service to the Arts. Claire is renowned for pioneering new forms of public art, including Theaster Gates’ Sanctum, a programme of 552-hours of continuous performance within a ruined church in Bristol, and the year-long series One Day Sculpture in New Zealand. Claire has also published a number of forward thinking publications on the topic of public art including her latest book Out of Time, Out of Place Public Art (Now).
David Cross is an artist, curator and writer working across performance, installation and public art. His practice brings together performance art and object-based environments, focusing on relationships between pleasure, the grotesque and phobia.
David has exhibited extensively in New Zealand, Australia, Eastern Europe, Canada and the United Kingdom. As a curator he has developed a number of temporary public art projects including One Day Sculpture with Claire Doherty across New Zealand, 2008–09,Iteration:Again in Tasmania, 2011 and more recently Treatment - 6 Public Artworks at Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria.
David is currently Head of Art and Performance Deakin University.