Faculty Book: Harriet F. Senie

Harriet F. Senie

The Tilted Arc Controversy
(University of Minnesota Press, 2001; 224 pp.)

book cover image Senie discusses, in a rich, journalistic style free of art-world jargon, Richard Serra's controversial public sculpture "Tilted Arc," a 10-foot-high, 120-foot long curved wall of self-rusting steel that was installed in New York's Federal Plaza in 1981 and removed, after a lengthy public debate, in 1989. While one part of the nation's arts funding debate was focused on censorship in the performance arts and photography (Karen Finley and Robert Mapplethorpe most notably), another was asking whether the removal of the government-commissioned abstract sculpture—called the city's worst public sculpture by the New York Times and the Village Voice—was poetic justice or a dangerous precedent that would scare commissioned artists from doing serious, engaging work. Senie is a professor of art history at City College and The Graduate Center.

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Submitted on: DEC 4, 2001

Category: Art History, Faculty Books