Forms of Public Art

The five major categories of public art are stand alone, integrated, applied, installation and ephemeral, though the boundaries between these terms often overlap.

  • Stand alone: Stand alone describes artworks that are three dimensional and freestanding rather than embedded into the structure of a building or built space. The work may be a singular piece, a series of related works or an installation. Works of this nature have traditionally been associated with permanent materials (such as marble or bronze); however contemporary artists have expanded their practice to include materials such as found objects and multimedia.
  • Integrated: Integrated artwork refers to art that is integrated into a building, or built space, such as ceilings, walls, glazing, screens and floors. The work has the potential to span both the interior and exterior spaces of a built structure. Integrated artwork may also assist in defining or separating space.

  • Applied: Applied artwork refers to work that is applied to an interior or exterior surface. This may include commissioned paintings, tapestries and murals.

  • Installation: Installation art is where the artwork and the site are integral to each other. The artwork could be comprised of a number of elements but the ensemble may be viewed as a whole. The space may be created with a particular work in mind, or the artist may respond to a given space (e.g. Antony Gormley’s ‘Inside Australia’, Lake Ballard).

  • Ephemeral: Ephemeral artwork describes non-permanent work that can include temporary installations, performance art, dance, or exhibitions.

Click the relevant links to view local, national and international examples of the public art forms above.