This short exploration of art and cities will begin with an overview of some thinking on cities as social entities; then look at how certain cities have been key sites for the production and consumption of art; and finally look at how artists have variously responded to the changing natures of cities, finishing with an overview of an exhibition ‘Metropolis’ as an example of how a wide range of international contemporary artists have approached the subject.
How cities have been conceptualised
Over the centuries, cities have had a bad press. In mid-nineteenth century literature, cities were, literally, Dickensian. To Rousseau cities were ‘the abyss of the human species’. Cities, in 1880, were reported in terms such as: ‘Every room housed a family, often two’ or ‘In a cellar were father, mother, 3 children and 4 pigs.’ Such reflections magnified the Victorian fear of city dwelling poor, with the urban masses being described as a ‘tumour’ or ‘a colony of breeding animals’.
These legacies from the past located cities as the cause of problems such as overcrowding, disease, criminality, rootlessness, hopelessness and so on down a long and depressing list. At best there was ambiguity, with cities also potentially being places of pleasure and success for the few.
In C20th sociology, cities have been the Chicago of the growing urbanisation in the first half of the twentieth century; New York as a place of bystanders; the city as a place of social consumption as much as production; the city as a place of social inequalities and injustices. Politically the city has been a place of strong mayors and crackdown on crime in the face of flights to the suburbs abandoning a hollowed-out inner core to the place. The negative imagery retains a lot of its power even now.
During the modernity of the C20th, cities have been reconceptualised a number of times:
1930s: Cities as changing, growing, adapting interactions as large numbers of people migrated from rural to urban. The focus tended to be on individual motivations; group cultures; spatial shaping of patterns of behaviour; responses to change, freedom and authority etc.
1950s/60s: Cities as the outcomes of planning and design; recognising the contradictory objectives of different groups etc.
1970s/80s: Influence of economic and politics; ideologies and ways of thinking about things; structural causes of spatial patternings etc.
Cities continue to be heterogeneous but, across cities aspiring to be modern, there are common issues being dealt with. These include housing, jobs and incomes, transportation, engagement and inclusion, revitalisation of neighbourhoods, and sustainability. These feed into the context within which many artists now work.
Only recently have there been substantial arguments that cities can act as the solutions to social problems rather than their cause. This is not to say that modern cities are problem-free. It is to say that modern cities have problems, not are problems.
Going further, Richard Florida suggests that not only can cities be viewed more positively, they are to a large degree necessary for creativity to flourish at scale and at pace. A Creative City is one with a critical mass of creative entrepreneurial people (artists, poets, writers, engineers, technicians, games developers and coders, academics, photographers etc) living, working and socialising together in close proximity. This creates easy opportunities for ideas to spread and bounce off each other; opportunities for things to develop and for new things to happen. The creative city has a dynamic population. Incomers bring different cultures and ways of seeing/understanding. Members of the creative class are attracted to places because of the ambience – restaurants, coffee shops, theatres, galleries, decent housing, good schools, interesting outdoor art, green spaces, and so on. Given the right conditions many cities can become creative hubs within which art can flourish.
Through the millenia, many different cities, across a number of cultures, have been associated with establishing their particular forms of creative endeavour. From ancient times onwards, creativity has blossomed in places as diverse as Alexandria, Baghdad, Timbuktu, city states of ancient Greece, Rome at the peak of the Roman Empire, Renaissance Florence …
This clearly establishes the city as a platform for creativity. Sometimes this has been geared more towards science, astronomy and invention. Sometimes the art has been associated with geometric design and the patterns of nature. In many cases, though, artists have used the city as a stimulus: as a source of subjects and ideas. Artworks have captured the multifarious forms of city life and have illustrated something of both the uniqueness and the universality of cities.
For various artists, the city has been a place of disorder; a place of both creation and destruction; and a place for observing the fluidity of human interactions. Artworks have been used to try to capture insights and ways of seeing; to bring to the fore the city’s hidden narratives; to create portraits of places and, through these, to bring out the nuances of human behaviours and values.
Cities that have, in their time, acted as turning points for art
Many cities have had their local art schools and their small groups of local artists, but a few had much wider networks of creative people and were able to push art forward on a broader front and with greater intensity. Certain ones have, at different times, become centres for the production, consumption and exchange of art to the extent that they created leverage in the development of art internationally.
Three such cities are selected here as being places that enabled key turning points in art development. These are Paris (1860-1910); New York (1950-1980); and London (1990-2010). This is not to say that these were the only cities that can be linked to changes in art (another one might be Berlin in the early C20th).
Paris (1860 – 1910)
For much of the C19th, Paris was competing with London and Berlin for European pre-eminence. The city reached its artistic prime in the late C19th/early C20th.
Like other cities, the Paris of this time was a place of constant, large-scale physical and social change: rural decline and urban growth, increasing industrialisation, the widespread establishment of banking and credit, and so on. It was a place of growing modernity: gas lighting, city boundaries moving outwards as populations grew; the coming of railways; the establishment of sanitisation (after a cholera epidemic).
The crowded centre of the city was, at one time, a network of closely packed neighbourhoods. Baron Haussmann was chosen by Napoleon to carry out a massive urban renewal of Paris. The central area was cleared for the construction of opulent buildings on wide tree-lined boulevards. Within these redevelopments, old artistic neighbourhoods started changing. Under ‘the invasion of the Boulevards’ the displaced poor were forced into shanty towns at the edge of the city or to seek cheaper living in villages just outside the city.
There was a well-established French tradition of art teaching, exhibiting and selling, based in the city. By mid-C19th, Paris had its Art Academies, the Louvre and its system of Salons. Itwas the creative centre of the Western art world, but things were opening up. For artists moving to Paris, at this time of great uncertainties, an attraction was its increasingly bohemian culture, anti-bourgeois attitudes, artistic and sexual freedom.
It became home to a shifting colony of painters that grew in size and diversity over time. It attracted painters from across France, but also from other countries. Painters were surprisingly mobile internationally given the difficulties of travel at the time. Those settling in Paris to study art included a number of women artists, even though they were excluded from the traditional Schools and had to seek out alternatives. These traditional structures were soon under attack (eg when Monet and others held exhibitions independent of the Salon system) as artists brought new attitudes into the city.
The rural village of Montmartre was painted by Van Gogh in 1886-87, preferring its fields and allotments to the urban landscape of Paris itself. Even when it became incorporated into the city’s outer area, Montmartre kept its distinctive old buildings and steep narrow streets. It was a poor working-class area with cheap accommodation. Many artists lived there, as did students, musicians, writers etc. These settlers brought cabarets, bars, cafes. Montmartre was soon a bustling area, filled with artists’ discussions – resembling Florida’s notion of a creative cluster.
In the last decades of the C19th, Paris was a place where a great variety of painters lived or worked. The extensive list includes Manet, Gaugin, Renoir, Seurat, Pissaro, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Rousseau, Monet and others. The young Matisse was in the city, as was George Braque. Pablo Picasso left Barcelona for Paris in 1904 and started into cubism with his 1907 Les Demoiselles D’Avignon. Other styles were introduced via Robert Delauney, Fernand Leger and others. Whistler and John Singer Sargent were among the American painters who were in Paris to learn to paint and to establish a reputation. Extending the mix were writers and photographers. The first permanent photograph by Nicephore Niepce had been taken in Paris in 1825. The city became a home of surrealist photography. Eugene Atget became known for his depiction of street scenes and his distortion of shapes for creative effect.
By 1900 Paris had assumed a position as the cultural capital of Europe. This was confirmed by the 1900 Paris Exhibition, a World Fair built to exhibit the wonders of the world. A large selection of paintings were included in the displays.
In 1910 Chagall moved to Paris from Russia. The Russian Ballet performed there. The city welcomed the new and the shocking. Fauves, Cubists, Futurists and the end of the Impressionists were all living and working in Paris, on and off, and exhibiting there. The city was a babble of new artistic languages and new creative approaches that was to last until the outbreak of the First World War. Its influence as a centre for art and artists continued beyond that but some of the intensity had gone.
New York (1950-1980)
1950s New York did not emerge from nowhere as a focus for art. For more than a century it had been a destination for local artists. 1870 saw the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the first Armory Show was in 1913.
American art of the 1940s was already moving away from the constraining political ideologies of the 1930s. During the war many New York American artists left to join the US armed forces. Those remaining (Rothko, Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman etc) were joined by artists who had moved from Europe to avoid the warfare there and who brought with them some of the Surrealism and other trends from that continent. Jazz was entering the mainstream (Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Mingus); film and theatre flourishing. The US/Europe interplay was both ways. Incoming artists influenced the art of New York, but the New York of the mid C20th was a new experience for some of the artists from the European tradition and affected their art: a single example of which would be Mondrian and his Broadway Boogie Woogie (1943)
After the Second World War, the international focus for art developments moved substantially from Europe to New York. That city, at least for a while, became the world’s leading edge for a flourish of new artistic thinking and practices.
The work of Braque, de Chirico, Dali, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Kandinsky, Fernand Leger, Joan Miro, Picasso and others had already been shown at the Art of This Century gallery in New York which became a meeting place for the different traditions and laid some of the foundations for what was to become known as the New York School – an informal network of poets, painters, dancers, musicians active in the city in the 1950s/60s. At the centre of the group was the poet Frank O’Hara who was also a curator at the Museum for Modern Art and through these links various art forms were brought together and improvised off each other.
One of the most significant shifts around this time had been the emergence of Abstraction as a definitive approach in art. With Jackson Pollock this took the form of the highly gestural, all-over, drip paintings which were ‘not about something’ (Pollock) but about the action of doing and expressing. With Barnett Newman, and others, it became about abstract ideas being expressed through fields of pure colour placed next to each other.
As a city, New York in the mid1960s was undergoing its own set of ongoing redevelopments. Whilst some areas of New York were high-cost, there was sufficient availability of low-cost living and working space for artists to gather in particular neighbourhoods. Out of these grouping grew some new approaches as reactions to abstraction and expressionism, and which led to the emergence of other art forms. One was Pop Art, with its focus on commercialism and consumerism; the influences of the advert and the commercial image; the use of techniques from movies, comics and newspapers (as with Lichtenstein’s cartoon-style paintings); the use of readily available objects (soup cans, boxes) and paintings/sculptures based on the everyday – the American flag (Jasper Johns), the hamburger (Claus Oldenburg). New York artists began operating very much within their own new American culture – celebrating the mass-produced world. A key figure in all of this was Andy Warhol and his The Factory studio.
1967-1972 saw a blossoming of new avant-gardes in the city. The Summer 1972 edition of the influential ArtForum magazine had Robert Smithson arguing for Land Art, and Sol LeWitt’s ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’. There were the happenings, video and film art of Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono and the Fluxus movement; the performances of Allan Kaprow, Robert Whitman and Carole Schneemann; the minimalism of Carl Andre’s flat metal plates and simply stacked bricks or of Donald Judd’s box arrangements and Dan Flavin’s single neon tubes. There were more conceptual works (Joseph Kosuth; Bruce Naumann); and site-specific art (Richard Serra; Gordon Matta-Clark).
New York became a melting pot of broad-based, cosmopolitan creative development, both out on the streets and heavily promoted via large-scale exhibitions. Art increasingly became about the medium and the performance of the artist, and began to be about the celebrity nature of art.
By the late 1970s things had starting to change. The nation was dealing with the aftermath of the Vietnam War. New York was heading into a recession and rapidly became more defined by its social problems than by its creative enterprises. New York continued as a centre for art but had lost its developmental uniqueness.
London (1990 – 2010)
London had had it creative urges and groups of artists before – the Bloomsbury Group of artists and writers (1905-1935) and the 1950s post-war bohemian society of the London School led by Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud; the opening (1950) of the Institute of Contemporary Art gallery; the 1951 Festival of Britain; and the coronation of a new young queen (1953).
These formed a base for later sets of developments. London was the venue for a number of significant exhibitions: ‘This is Tomorrow’ ,1956, at the Whitechapel Gallery (part of the reaction to US abstract expressionism and the path towards Pop Art); ‘New Generation’. 1965, at Whitechapel (focusing on emerging UK talent). There were a number of art schools in London – Central St Martins; Slade; Chelsea; Goldsmiths – which could give new ideas a wider dissemination. There seemed to be a slow evolution of art in the city.
But something different emerged from the1970s Winter of Discontent, 1980s Thatcherism and its restructuring of economy, punk, the Falklands War, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and the end of the Cold War. By the late 1980s London was undergoing a rapid cultural transformation, driven by a widespread interest in contemporary art.
De-industrialisation and the closure of parts of London’s dock areas released large empty spaces for other uses. In 1985 a large building was repurposed into the original Saatchi Gallery. Initially this showed American minimalists eg Donald Judd. The ‘New York Art Now’ show (1987/88) had vacuum cleaners by Jeff Koons and his stainless steel Rabbit (1986). He also showed Warhol, Serra, Kieffer, Polke, Richter and others. These shows inspired a whole set of students.
In 1988 Damien Hirst used a former docklands administrative venue to showcase the work of his fellow students at Goldsmiths College – the ‘Freeze’ exhibition. Other exhibitions followed, in galleries and as temporary pop-ups in shops, offices etc.
A flurry of activity followed. In 1991 Frieze magazine was launched, the Turner annual art prize aimed itself at new young British artists.
Early in the 1990s, London’s commercial contemporary art market largely collapsed because of a major economic recession. Galleries closed. A trend for artist-led activities replaced them. Central to these activities were the upcoming contemporary artists. Charles Saatchi collected them, championed them and promoted their work as something new and relevant to the changing London of the time. His background in advertising gave new artists and their work a high degree of public exposure.
Contemporary art works began to enter popular conversation: Damien Hirst’s A Thousand Years (1990) – a work consisting of a rotting cow’s head, flies and an insect-o-cutor lamp; Damien Hirst’s 1992 shark art work (The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living); Marc Quinn’s Self (1991), with his head cast from his frozen blood; Rachel Whiteread’s House (1993). A few works appeared time and again in the media and took on iconic status as representations of all that was going on through this London outpouring of culture.
The group of Young British Artists (YBAs as they were soon badged) was initially wider than London, but London soon became a focus for their developments. The group congregated around older East End areas. They hung out together and were interconnected through a set of social and personal relationships rather than a unifying aesthetic approach. Young London-based artists, and their art, began to gain a much wider reputation. In the mid-1990s their work formed the basis of several international shows eg ‘Brilliant! New Art from London’ in Minneapolis. Saatchi ran a series of exhibitions under the title Young British Art. This was followed by a second wave of New Contemporaries (Tracey Emin, Tacita Dean, etc).
A key moment was the 1997 ‘Sensation’ exhibition at the Royal Academy. This was essentially a display of Saatchi’s extensive collection. It catapulted the work to further exposure and added to an acceleration of the London-focused developments in art.
The artists became noted (and promoted) for shock tactics, for the use of disposable materials, for their use of marketing, for holding onto images of ‘bad boy’ celebrity and for the ambiguity of Saatchi’s strong links to Thatcherism. The somewhat mythical status of YBAs fostered an aura around contemporary art.
This coincided with the time of the new Blair government, a time of BritPop and Cool Britannia. Having lost an empire, Britain would have an increasing role in the world through the soft-power influence of culture. UK culture, and BritArt in particular, became an export (culturally and financially). It was nationalism of a seemingly acceptable kind.
A legacy of Thatcher’s 1980s was an air of enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit. British art had, in those 1980s, gone through the intellectual constraints of heavy theorising. Now the idea was ‘just get on with it’, getting things done, doing it yourself (and a trend to focus on the self).
The London-based artists got wider and wider recognition. In 1998 Rachel Whiteread took her signature casting approach to New York with a commission to do a resin cast of one of the city’s iconic rooftop water towers. In 1999 Tracey Emin was nominated for the Turner Prize for her My Bed (a rumpled bed surrounded by everyday detritus) which fuelled even more of a media impact.
The seemingly endless local expansion of art, and interest in art, continued. Tate Modern was created as a major art gallery from a refurbished power station and a spate of smaller new contemporary venues emerged. At the same time, it felt as if the context was shifting.
London itself was changing as a city. Property prices were rocketing, hedge fund money was looking for new investments, Russian oligarchs and the global super-rich were eyeing London as a more attractive place to have interests. Global capitalism was swallowing the art market. Artists were either getting rich or being priced out.
At a politically charged time, the works of the YBAs was accused of being apolitical. Hirst was concerned with large themes of death, life, religion. Emin was doing personal confessionals (even if these addressed topics of rape and abortion). There were exceptions: notably Jeremy Deller’s, 2001, Re-enactment of the Battle of Orgreave (a 1984 violent running confrontation between police and miners).
The excitement of BritArt was beginning to feel overhyped, vacuous, brash, lacking in novelty and substance. A number of the once-radicals were getting retrospective exhibitions. The Blair government was losing its shine. Post 9/11, and post the financial crash, the focus of the global art market moved on. Some artists moved on with the changes, others seemed to get stuck in the time of the YBAs. By 2009 the director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery felt able to declare that the flourish of the YBA moment was over, but that they had started something that would continue to have its effect on the art of the future.
Cities and the artistic experience
Paris was a city of many parts: bourgeois families having picnics in pleasure gardens or strolling by the river; working people struggling to get by; the somewhat bizarre world of bars and absinthe, circuses, dance halls. There were women artists, women intellectuals, women meeting for coffee. There were washerwomen, maids and all the workers who worked so that the lives of others could be maintained. There were also women needing to take up prostitution, living more fleeting, unstable lives. Artists had all these social relations to capture. There was also the changing physical layout of the city.
Despite all this, artists captured just a few fragments:
Paris Street: Rainy Weather (Caillebotte, 1977) has well-fed bourgeoisie in open vistas with working people in the background.
Woman Sitting outside a Café (Degas) contrasts rich and poor. His portraits of dancers practising could be set in any city.
Monet painted La Gare St Lazare (1877) but more in ways concerned with light than to explore the coming of the railways.
Bar at the Folies-Bergeres (1881) by Manet captured something of the life of the city, even if his characters were more compositionally posed than showing something of the city’s real-life interactions.
In the later Paris, Utrillo painted scenes of Montmartre but from an intent to precisely record his surroundings (which just happened to be Paris).
It was, more notably, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec who focused on the world of dancers, prostitutes, pimps, cabaret, etc as closely observed things emblematic of the city at the time (eg A Dance at the Moulin Rouge, 1889/90).
The social and liberal changes in 1960s/70s New York, and the physical redevelopments underway in the city, might have given artists a lot of urban subject matter. There was, however, more of a focus on the performance of the artist, and on method, rather than on New York as a busy modern city. One example that did address the city as a political process was Hans Haake’s Shapolski et al, Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, as of May 1, 1971 which was an exploration of business dealings in the city.
Little of the work of the Young British Artists was based on any kind of depiction of London as a city. It was a place that gave them their momentum, but not a place they needed to reference in their work. YBA art was individual, personal, immediate: a reaction against intellectual obscurity and global tendencies. City issues could have woven through these but, in general. didn’t. One example of a work that did connect with issues of the city was Rachel Whiteread’s Untitled, House (1992). Methodologically, this was about casting of negative spaces but it was also connected to a need to preserve something of the old city in the face of loss. It referenced rapid gentrification, which one could extend (with hindsight) to a possible concern that art may itself become gentrified, or may have to become somewhat nomadic as its established footholds were demolished.
More recently, Henri Lefebvre has asserted that the future of art will be urban. Cities still act as focal points, each in its own way, and each with a potential to provide rich material. How does this show through in recent contemporary art?
Some cities have seen art-as-destination as a way to sustain local economies by attracting visitors to highly architectured new galleries, blockbuster exhibitions, art fairs and biennales. A frequent strategy has been for these cities to build a reputation for public art, art trails, sculpture parks, creative industries, art as experience, and so on. In a way the past motivations of civic art collections in galleries has been supplanted by public art on the street as the city’s promotion of itself. The public art in cities takes a wide variety of forms: street art painted on walls, installations on empty plots, signature pieces at key tourist spots, riverside trails linking a Creative Quarter with a Heritage Quarter or Retail Quarter, art built into the fabric of the city’s buildings (as well as the artistry of some iconic buildings themselves).
City life can be both method (walking the city) or a subject. One example that brings these together is the work of Larissa Fassler’s psychogeographic cartographies, mapping the use of some of Berlin’s public squares and places of transience eg Kottbuser Tor, 2008.
It is to be expected, with the flourishing of art activities and art markets in many more countries, that art development will be taking place at different paces and different scales in a larger and more diverse set of cities. These processes are still emerging – via cities in Russia and China, as well as African and Middle Eastern cities. This may mean that no single city is likely to emerge as a future fulcrum for pivoting in the developments in art. Shifts may happen in lots of smaller, more fragmented ways.
The modern city seen through the Metropolis exhibition.
The 2013 exhibition ‘Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city’, in Birmingham, was billed as a showcase of more than seventy international contemporary artworks (made between 2005 and 2012) which focused on interpretations of modern city life.
The wide range of artworks with their artist and curator texts gave an overall picture of the modern city as having a number of features.
Cities are places to work, live, shop, visit, and seek refuge. Often the city is divided, with designated areas for commerce, entertainment, shopping. It has its boundaries: its insides and outsides. The city is in constant flux: bustling, shifting with constant change. Upheavals and transformations, It is a place of comings and goings, with its distinctive places for arrivals and departures. The urban context physically and socially shapes lives through interplays and interactions.
The city has a physical cityscape; its unique built environment. This forms part of the context within which people live their lives. City infrastructure includes high rise flats, apartments, houses, transport systems, iconic buildings. peripheral estates. It can have linked open public spaces as well as empty, fragmented places and small, quiet places, tucked-away places.
Such places act as stage sets that can be unsettling, chaotic, jumbled, noisy, bustling and hectic. The city can be bewildering, alienating, anonymous and uncertain. Areas can become a source of tension and unease, battlefields and places of struggle, involving a degree of dissent and competition; or characterised by disparities, differences, exclusions, destitutions, unfairnesses and inequalities.
Because of the scale of the city there is also a grandeur that can be futuristic, mesmerising and hypnotic; visually overwhelming in its extravagance and excess.
At the same time the city can be contemplative: abstract, fragile, with layers of meaning that are sometimes not easily apparent. Each city may have its own visual language, its unique sets of signs and symbols. In addition to the mundane everyday street scenes, cities can be imagined places: mysterious
The city is much more than its infrastructure. It is predominantly a set of social interactions: the movement of people setting up patterns, producing ‘flow’; people, separately or collectively, negotiating and navigating public places; individuals within the crowd – establishing the rhythms of the city.
With so much going on, all at the same time, there is a need to match freedom and control. Boundaries are constantly being established, but also constantly being challenged; things may be overlooked and ignored or may be taken note of and acted upon; technology can be used for benefit, for surveillance as well as for outright control.
The works that formed the Metropolis exhibition capture diverse aspects of what a metropolis might signify. They catch the diverse, fragmentary moods of the modern city at the beginnings of the twenty-first century. There are traces of ideas of older cities just as those residues linger on in city life in reality. In a few of the works there are also hints of what the modern city is always about to become.
Cities have made key contributions to creative developments. This still holds true today.
Cities have been conceptualised in different ways – sometimes being seen as the problem and sometimes being seen as crucibles of creative futures. Each of these can influence the art of the time.
Cities are not fixed, unchanging entities. They evolve and redevelop. It is at times of rapid changes in physical and social infrastructures that momentum has been given to new developments in artistic thinking and practice.
In their different ways, Paris (1860-1910), New York (1950-1980) and London (1990-2010) have acted as incubators and accelerators of creativity, with sufficient impact to lever a changed direction in art development internationally.
In each of the three cases, there were commonalities. Artists were moving there, mixing and mingling their ideas and approaches. There were low-cost premises available to allow artists to live and work in close proximity. There were support systems in terms of art schools, galleries and collectors.
There has been a quickening of the speed of change. Paris shifted the nature of art over 50 years, New York over 30 years and London over 20 years or less. In a post-modern, internet-fuelled, globally connected context, the emergence of comparable momenta for creative change via cities is possibly more likely to be of shorter durations and more widely dispersed geographically. A wider range of cities have now become foci for arts development. Some have seen public art as key to their future. Future significant developments may reside less in certain single cities and may be more dispersed and fragmentary.
Although the city was the enabler of art developments in these three cases, the city itself was represented less and less as a subject in itself. Such works do exist and can be brought together to get a fix on the relationships between art and the contemporary city.