n De Arte - The art of public space : Curating and re-imagining the ephemeral city, Kim Gurney (Ed.) : book review




Kim Gurney's new book, The art of public space, has one of those subtly clever titles that piques the imagination: 'art' as in the work itself and 'art' as in the skill required to enact it. It brings to mind the celebrated metropolitan cultures of fin-de-siècle European cities like London, Paris and Vienna - cities that have long projected an image of a mature and democratic public culture, held together by shared civic and cultural values that express themselves in the way people come together in public spaces. The subtitle, however, Curating and re-imagining the ephemeral city, sets up a slightly different expectation: Johannesburg's 'ephemerality', we grasp from the outset, is no plus. On the contrary.


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