We all love public art, not just because we can enjoy it without going to a museum, but mostly because it is so powerful in shaping the fabric of urban space, and has the power to become a local landmark – sometimes even a global one. Public art ends up in travel guides and tourists’ checklists. It also has the power to represent the culture or history of a place, or to even define it.

Sculptures and installations can be interesting pieces that play a role in art movements. They can be very meaningful or symbolic of traditions. Some of them become icons. People have strong relationships with the art of their respective cities, they can love it or totally hate it.

Either way, no one can deny that not all public art is stylish. That’s why I made this list of some art installations I find very cool. I have already visited some of these, and others – I’d love to visit.

Love Sculpture

Love started as a pop-art graphic in the ’60s, created for MoMA’s (Museum of Modern Art) Christmas card, and became hugely popular after it was replicated into United States postal service stamps.love_symbol_stamp_art_red_sign_united_states_postal_usa_americaIts popularity grew worldwide as it was printed on tee-shirts, and cast into fashion jewelry, etc with countless adaptations.love_symbol_tee_t_shirt_fashion_graphic_art_sculpture_american_clothing

The Love sculptures are now installed in many cities all over the globe, including New York, Vegas, Tokyo, Taipei, Singapore, Vancouver.love_symbol_public_art_sculpture_new_york_usa_america_square_red_streetPlus: it has even crossed language borders and has been made into Spanish with the words ‘Amor’ in Milan, and in Hebrew installed in Israel.love_amor_public_art_sculpture_milan_italy_europe_red_symbolNow that’s what we call true love!

Forever Marilyn

Forever Marilyn is a 26-feet tall giant statue of Marilyn Monroe, inspired by her memorable scene from the movie ‘The Seven Year Itch’.forever_marilyn_monroe_statue_sculpture_chicago_tribune_pioneer_court_magnificent_mile_white_dress_nightThe statue was first unveiled in 2011 at Pioneer Court, Chicago, where I had the pleasure of seeing it.forever_marilyn_monroe_statue_sculpture_chicago_tribune_magnificent_mile_white_dress_night

But what was loved by the tourists was so unpopular with the locals, and was vandalized thrice with paint and graffiti, that it was finally shifted to Palm Springs, California in 2012. The statue has now found home in New Jersey.forever_marilyn_monroe_statue_sculpture_new_jersey_city_giant_palm_springs_white_dress

Marilyn in the statue wears her famous white halter dress, which I featured in my article The Most Iconic White Dresses in Hollywood Movies. It may have been controversial, but is nonetheless iconic, just like her fashion. And herself.

The Roses

Two-storey tall fibreglass and steel flower sculptures titled ‘The Roses’ were installed on Park Avenue in January 2011. Brilliantly executed, the ‘Roses’  brightened up the snowed-in city street. The roses were in shades of pinks and reds, all different shapes, complete with stems, bees and all. Plus, petals were ‘strewn’ about the streets, too!roses_public_art_sculpture_new_york_street_usa_america_pink_red_large_bigThey served as reminders for the locals that spring will arrive sooner or later. I love the idea. So simple, yet so elegant. These are flowers that may not be fragrant, but they don’t die in the snow either.roses_public_art_sculpture_new_york_street_usa_america_pink_red_large_big_petal_snow_winter

Umbrellas in Águeda

One of the reasons fashion and art often go hand in hand is color. Color plays an important role in both, and can make or break its aesthetic. That’s why this umbrella installation in Águeda, Portugal is not only loved by the locals, but also attracts many international tourists. They provide shade in the hot streets, while casting bright reflections on passers beneath.
umbrellas_colorful_color_installation_public_art_sculpture_portugal_street_europe_beautiful_floatingAnd check out how they look like they’re just magically floating in the sky, brilliant charms of color.umbrella_colorful_color_installation_public_art_portugal_europe_red_beautiful_floating

Bubbles – Tall Tree and the Eye

I was not new to Anish Kapoor’s work when I first got a chance to view it in its glory at Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao that had an exhibition of miniature replicas of his popular work. Anish Kapoor of Cloud Gate fame that is lovingly known as the Bean by Chicago locals, is one of the most money-making installation designers. But what’s more – his work is loved immensely by the people.

anish_kapoor_bubbles_sculpture_steel_tall_eye_and_the_tree_bilbao_guggenheim_indianHis sculptures are iconic, and some of his art has inspired fashion too, such as Prabal Gurung’s Spring Summer 2013 collection:
anish_kapoor_sculpture_fashion_inspired_prabal_gurung_red_layered_dress_runway

This interesting installation is made of stainless steel spheres that are stuck on top of one another, rising like champagne bubbles, stacked in such a delicate-looking composition that we are amazed how it just stands like that.anish_kapoor_bubbles_sculpture_steel_tall_eye_and_the_tree_bilbao_guggenheim_museum

That’s just some of the public art I love. If you liked it, lemme know below because I plan to write about more art in the future, and your thoughts matter to me! Also, lemme know which pieces of public art you find the most stylish. Until then, ta!! 🙂

Read next:
Styling the Streets – Most Fashionable Public Art in the World

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Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion. Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That's how it evolved over centuries and that's how it's been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives. Shilpa's work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times. Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book "Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India". Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email contact@shilpaahuja.com

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