German Artists Call for More Public Art

Pae White Magic Carpet (2012) on display at BER airport Photo: Berlin Airport

The German Association of Visual Artists (BBK) has called on Germany’s states to do more to promote the production of public art, reported the dpa.

BBK president Werner Schaub has been a member of the panel that advises the federal culture ministry on public art projects since 2003. He suggests that the states follow the federal cultural ministry in establishing a strict set of guidelines that mandate the production and display of artworks in government buildings and other publicly-funded structures.

“The federal government has been exemplary on this topic. It would be good if the states would follow suit,” Schaub told the dpa. “With over 10,000 artworks in publicly accessible buildings, the federal government probably has the largest art collection in Europe, if not the world,” he added.

According to guidelines set by the federal government 0.5–1.5 percent of the construction budget for public buildings must be set aside for the creation of art, which is then displayed in the completed structure. The artworks are selected by an independent panel. “No state does this as consistently or as well as the federal government,” said Schaub.

Schaub pointed to Berlin’s new airport, Berlin Brandenburg International, as a recent successful public art initiative. Six international artists created artworks for the airport responding to the theme of air and land (see “With Mounting Delays, Will Berlin Airport’s Public Art Grow Stale?“). The Californian artist Pae White’s bright red flying carpet, Magic Carpet (2012), is currently on display in the check-in hall. “Although the airport isn’t finished yet, the art is already on display,” Schaub explained.

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