Some of the Best Public Art from Around the World

September 2nd, 2016

Visiting art galleries, whether local or international, is always an enriching experience. You’re exposed to creative works, new ways of thinking, and new experiences. However, some can find the gallery a stuffy atmosphere in which to open your mind to artistic exploration, not to mention the lines, crowds, and cost. For the times when you’d rather take in a work of art at your own pace, in a more open space, there’s public art. A growing trend among world renowned artists, public art is popping up all over the globe – and it’s beautiful! Here are some of the best works of public art from around the world. 

Urban Light – Los Angeles, U.S.A.


Image via collectmoments on Flickr

A popular spot to stop if you’re in L.A. is the ‘Urban Light’ sculpture located outside the entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Created by artist Chris Burden, this installation features 202 street lamps that have been restored from the 1920s and 30s.

Les Voyageurs – Marseilles, France


Image via @persianguy1983 on Instagram

This collection of 10 bronze sculptures found throughout Marseilles were created by Bruno Catalano. They feature realistic humans, on their way to work or going about their day, with large parts of their bodies missing. The sculptures are thought provoking and mysterious – how do you interpret the meaning of the design?

Cloud Gate – Chicago, U.S.A.

Cloud Gate @ Millenium Park Chicago

Image via Peter Ciro on Flickr

Anish Kapoor’s ‘Cloud Gate’ is likely one of the most recognized pieces of public art in the world. Featured as the centrepiece  of the AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park, the sculpture is visited and photographed constantly. Nicknamed ‘The Bean’, this piece is made of stainless steel and was inspired by liquid mercury. This liquid metal appearance is what reflects and distorts the city’s skyline, making for unforgettable and dramatic photo opportunities.

Human Structures – Vancouver, Canada


Image via GoToVan on Flickr

Set in Olympic Village, and designed by Jonathan Borofsky, this colourful sculpture is meant to invoke the notion of people joining together to build a better world. The towering sculpture is made of 64 painted and moulded galvanized steel figures and adds a bright burst of colour to this public space.

Alice in Wonderland – New York City, NY


Image via Talisen on Flickr

A popular spot for tourists and locals alike is this famous Alice in Wonderland sculpture located in Central Park. Created by José de Creeft in 1959 for philanthropist George Delacorte. Delacorte commissioned the bronze statue as a gift to the children of New York City.

The Scallop – Aldeburgh, England


Image via Airwolfhound on Flickr

These 15 foot high scallop shells were created by artist Maggi Hambling. The sculpture is set in a very public place – the beach – and is intended to be viewed, enjoyed and interacted with by viewers.

The Singing, Ringing Tree – Burnley, England

2926947488_a1c7d86b97_oImage via Henry Brett on Flickr

This solitary sculpture, set in a very rural landscape was created by Mike Tonkin and Anna Lieu. Made of galvanized steel pipes, this metallic tree is a wind powered sound sculpture. Depending on the direction of the wind, visitors will be treated to a unique auditory and visual experience.

Digital Orca – Vancouver, Canada


Image via Chris Morisawa on Flickr

This interesting piece of public art was designed by the  famous Canadian author and artist Douglas Coupland and is found adjacent to the Vancouver Convention Centre. The cubic, pixelated depiction of the whale (which is commonly spotted in this region) is said to be a representation of the area’s digital economy.

Maman – Stockholm, Sweden


Image via Helen Simonsson on Flickr

This famous sculpture, composed of bronze, stainless steel, and marble was created by the artist Louise Bourgeois. The travelling sculpture (having had many temporary and permanent homes around the world) can now be found in Stockholm, outside the Moderna Museet, towering 30 feet high! Mamman is the french word for ‘mother’. This sculpture is worth reading up on to explore the philosophy and meaning behind its conception and design.

Les Tulipes de Shangri-La – Lille, France


Image via Bajour on Flickr

The French city commissioned the very famous Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama to create this sculpture. The tulips are meant to be symbols of North-Western Europe, and feature common artistic trademarks of Kusama’s other works, such as the psychedelic style and use of dots.