Art and the City: Worlding the Discussion through a Critical Artscape, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Art and the City

Worlding the Discussion through a Critical Artscape, 1st Edition

Edited by Jason Luger, Julie Ren


246 pages | 39 B/W Illus.

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Artistic practices have long been disturbing the relationships between art and space. They have challenged the boundaries of performer/spectator, of public/private, introduced intervention and installation, ephemerality and performance, and constantly sought out new modes of distressing expectations about what is construed as art. But when we expand the world in which we look at art, how does this change our understanding of critical artistic practice?

This book presents a global perspective on the relationship between art and the city. International and leading scholars and artists themselves present critical theory and practice of contemporary art as a politicised force. It extends thinking on contemporary arts practices in the urban and political context of protest and social resilience and offers the prism of a ‘critical artscape’ in which to view the urgent interaction of arts and the urban politic. The global appeal of the book is established through the general topic as well as the specific chapters, which are geographically, socially, politically and professionally varied. Contributing authors come from many different institutional and anti-institutional perspectives from across the world.

This will be valuable reading for those interested in cultural geography, urban geography and urban culture, as well as contemporary art theorists, practitioners and policymakers.


"This thought-provoking anthology is the fruitful result of a concerted effort by academics, arts practitioners, and art-activists, offering an original critique of how today’s urban artscape is being critically reshaped from the local to the global. The collection attends to the subversive potential of urban public-art practice, while providing an apt reflection on its constructive role as catalyst for social, political, environmental and geopolitical challenges. Multidisciplinary in approach, the richly illustrated case studies, traversing the Global North and South, reveal how local / global grassroots artivism and arts movements may boost citizen participation, bridge social and cultural difference, and claim both public and institutional spaces for promoting better alternative urban futures. Luger and Ren’s edited compilation is essential reading for students and scholars concerned with the urban nexus of art-making, space, identity and resistance." Martin Zebracki, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK.

Table of Contents


Harriet Hawkins


Julie Ren

1. How Colour Replaces Fear

Yazmany Arboleda and Nabila Alibhai

2. The Collective Moment: Post-Museum's Rowell Road Period

Jennifer Teo and Woon Tien Wei

3. Art/Movement as a Public Platform: Artistic Creations in the Sunflower Movement and the Umbrella Movement

Pei-yi Lu and Phoebe Wong

4. Ghana ThinkTank: Mobility, Reversal and Cultural Differences

Gretchen Coombs

5. Diversifying the Stage of Policymaking - A New Policy Network in Berlin's Cultural Field

Friederike Landau

6. Alternative Art Schools in London: Contested Space and the Emergence of New Modes of Learning in Practice

Silvie Jacobi

7. RENT Poet: Commodity, Respectability and Scam in Los Angeles

Brian Sonia-Wallace

8. Artist Activism as Essential Threshold from the 'Peaceful, Rational, Non-violence' Demonstrations towards Revolution: Social Actions in Hong Kong in the pre-Umbrella Movement Era

Liza Kam

9. The Climate Games: Space, Politics and Resistance at the COP21 Paris

Ben Parry

10. New Genre Public Commission? The Subversive Dimensions of Public Art in post-Fordist Capitalism

Thierry Maeder, Mischa Piraud and Luca Pattaroni

11. Unpacking Public Places in Gothenburg - The Event City: Becoming a Cannibal

Marika Hedemyr

12. Our House in the Middle of the Street

Nela Milic

13. Crowd Creations: Interpreting Occupy Art in Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

Sampson Wong

14. #Beirut, Urbanism and I: Framing the City through Space, Identity and Conflict

Luisa Bravo


Jason Luger

About the Editors

Jason Luger is an urban researcher and Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, United States.

Julie Ren is a Fellow in Human Geography at the London School of Economics, United Kingdom.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Urbanism and the City

The Routledge Critical Studies in Urbanism and the City Series offers a forum for cutting-edge and original research that explores different aspects of the city. Titles within this series critically engage with, question, and challenge, contemporary theory and concepts to extent current debates and pave the way for new critical perspectives on the city. This series explores a range of social, political, economic, cultural and spatial concepts, offering innovative and vibrant contributions, international perspectives, and interdisciplinary engagements with the city from across the social sciences and humanities. It will appeal to upper level undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as scholars, working in urban studies, planning, geography, geohumanities, sociology, politics, the arts, cultural studies, popular culture, philosophy and literature.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography