Artist, sculptor, and photographer Rose DeSiano joined us to explore the ethical dilemmas raised by works of public art. Public Art is a service to the community, but questions arise from aspects of its planning, placement, purpose, and relevance.
What is its role as a method of activism, bringing topics of social importance to the surface? How can the physical artwork become a conduit for community concerns? Who makes the decision on what art will be installed, and do the decision-makers represent the local residents? Can it be used to fundraise for non-profit social service organizations?
Rose DeSiano brings together photography and sculpture into a public art practice. Her artwork examines cultural symbolism, the collective consciousness, and is interested in bringing to the surface lost or undiscussed topics of history. Using art in public spaces to foster community, DeSiano sees public art as an act of advocacy and activism.
Commissioned by multiple cities, her photo-sculptures have appeared throughout New York City (most recently in Prospect Park), in San Diego, and Cleveland, and have received multiple awards, including the Uniqlo Parks Grant and FLOW.17 Public Art Award. Her gallery artwork has been exhibited in solo shows in the US and Europe, featured in several group museum exhibitions; Bronx Art Museum, Allentown Museum of Art, Heritage Museum of Málaga, and has been included in international art fairs; Photoville, FOTOFOCUS, and Orange Changsha Photo, China. She is also currently the 2021 Artist in Residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
Her work appears in numerous publications including; Hyperallergic, Vogue, Time Out, ArtNews, and UK’s Aesthetica. DeSiano has her MFA from Art Center, LA, her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of Arts. She currently lives in NYC and is a Professor of Art at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Visit her online at desiano.com and on Instagram @rosedesiano.