It has been 20 extraordinary and exciting years since SCAPE Public Art began to revolutionise the open spaces of Ōtautahi Christchurch – and public arts practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. This bold initiative stepped outside the gallery and into the streets, to make contemporary art, both national and international, truly public in a fresh and invigorating way. And it did so, uniquely for this country, by involving industry and business, and the city’s various communities, in commissioning and realising arts projects and permanent works.
Out There: SCAPE Public Art 1998–2018 tells the story of this fruitful association and celebrates two decades of achievement since SCAPE’s first biennial, then known as Art & Industry, was held in 2000. Drawing on more than 100 interviews with the originators and supporters of SCAPE, and with many of the more than 230 artists who have been involved, well-known arts commentator Dr Warren Feeney has written a lively and appealing account. He considers both the stunning works made possible by SCAPE and the unexpected and beneficial partnerships that have developed in Christchurch, particularly after the 2010–11 earthquakes.
Fascinating, richly illustrated and superbly designed, Out There: SCAPE Public Art 1998–2018 is a beautiful and significant book. No one interested in the visual arts will want to be without it.