Public Art 1945-95

BookPublic Art 1945-95

Public Art 1945-95

Introductions to Heritage Assets

Historic England Guidance


January 22nd, 2016





This short guide provides an overview of the main trends in post-war public art.

Statuary has long been a feature of our townscapes, but the proliferation of public art following the Second World War was rather different. Public art is defined here as fixed artworks which members of the public are able to access and appreciate.

Works may be sited in the public, civic, communal or commercial domain, in semi-public or privately owned public space, or within public, civic or institutional buildings. Artworks which form part of the structure or decoration of buildings may also be categorised as public art. Post-war public artworks, which number several thousand, comprise everything from abstract, fine art sculptures to concrete reliefs and fibreglass murals. They are sited not only in formal settings but also in everyday locations such as schools, shopping centres and office plazas. Their artists ranged from the internationally known to the totally unknown.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
1. Historical Background
2. Development of Post-War Public Art
From 1946 to the 1960s: Sculpture
From 1946 to the 1960s: Murals
The 1970s and 1980s: Sculpture
The 1970s and 1980s: Murals
The 1990s onward
3. Associations
4. Change and the Future
5. Further Reading
6. Acknowledgements