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Uncommon Commons: Who is The Public in Public Art?

Pershing Sq and Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, CA postcard 1955

Uncommon Commons: Who is the Public in Public Art?

Tuesday, November 17, 4pm PDT
To join, RSVP here.

As the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to force many of us to conduct much of our lives outdoors, we at MOCA believe that it is an opportune time to focus our programming on outdoor art in the public sphere. In doing so, we aim to call attention to the spaces that host these artworks and the ways that art, site, and public may work in tandem to create civic discourse. As part of this effort, we have organized Uncommon Commons, a series of virtual panel discussions that investigate the relationship between outdoor artworks, public sites, and the people that visit them.

Over the last decade, the discussion regarding public artworks, specifically monuments, and their impact on the communities that live with them has become polemical. Many artworks’ place in the community has been called into question as they no longer, or perhaps never have, reflected the histories, perspectives, and hopes of the people that engage with them on a daily basis.

However, new models are emerging for creating positive dialogue between art and community interests. In this second presentation in the series, we assemble a panel of artists, curators, and civic arts commissioners who engage and rely on their communities to inform their decisions regarding the content or form of the artworks that will become part the urban landscape. Together, we hope to investigate how to create artworks that are responsive to the political, historical, and emotional communities they represent.


Judy Baca
One of America’s leading visual artists, Dr. Judith F. Baca has been creating public art for four decades. Powerful in size and subject matter, Baca’s murals bring art to where people live and work. In 1974, Baca founded the City of Los Angeles’ first mural program, which produced over 400 murals and employed thousands of local participants, and evolved into an arts organization known as the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC). She continues to serve as SPARC’S artistic director and focuses her creative energy in the UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab, employing digital technology to promotes social justice and participatory public arts projects. She is an emeritus Professor of the University of California Los Angeles, where she was a senior professor in Chicana/o Studies and World Art and Cultures Departments from 1980 until 2018.

Ligeia Gorre 
Ligeia Gorre is an Arts Manager with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), Public Art Division. Ligeia manages a multi-tiered arts program for DCA in partnership with Los Angeles World Airports featuring temporary exhibitions, performance, special initiatives, and new commissioned public art and conservation projects. She created the art program for the new Midfield Satellite Concourse scheduled to open summer 2021 at LAX. The inaugural exhibition presented by a local curator from The Underground Museum will feature artists working in video, sound, and new media. Ligeia received a Master of Public Art Studies degree at University of Southern California, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at University of California, Davis and is a Certified Permaculture Designer Trainee from the Permaculture Institute USA and the Permaculture Academy of Los Angeles.

Asuka Hisa
Asuka Hisa is the Director of Learning and Engagement at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). She curates and produces programs for museum and community audiences with a focus on social action. Prior to museum education, she taught art in France and in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD). In Fall 2019, she was the lead curator of CURRENT:LA FOOD, a public art triennial with the City of Los Angeles’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Public Art Department. In Winter 2020, she was a visiting professor for UCLA’s School of Art and Architecture to teach a course on learning and engagement in contemporary art museums. In Winter/Spring 2020, she organized ICA LA to be an official Vote Center for the Presidential Primary Elections. During COVID-19, she initiated the Field Workshop: Action Projects at ICA LA with 10 short-term residency projects with between January and September, 2020. She received her B.A. from Barnard College and her National Diploma of Art from the Ecole des Beaux Arts, France. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

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