Going Out: The Cosmos of Art

Artists have often complained that the museum is a mausoleum. They have also celebrated the vitality of popular culture and street life. But how far does art go when it goes out into public space?

The conventional answer is that art is not only going beyond the walls of the museum, and getting closer to everyday life. In going out it also activating the a spirit that energizes people into becoming publics. Art is therefore not just going into public space, it is a crucial force in making publics. This argument has great purchase. It connects art with the energy of the urban and natural environment, and it uplifts the citizens in all of us. In short, it strengthens the civic purpose and civilizational principles of art. However, I want to consider the cosmic dimension, or what might be termed as the widest possible sphere in which art belongs and contributes. Artists have always looked upwards and downwards. Art holds both a celestial and terrestrial gaze. In this lecture, I want to extend the outward sphere of artistic interest beyond the environment of the earth, and consider the significance artistic claims that extend the space of public art all the way to the cosmos.

Subscribe for updates