George Bernard Shaw once wrote: “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” Open Field is the Walker Art Center’s three-year experiment in participation and public space. Taking place outdoors in the summer months, the project invited artists and visitors to imagine and inhabit the museum’s campus as a cultural commons—a shared space for idea exchange, creative gatherings, and unexpected interactions. The Walker’s backyard was home to numerous activities, from conversations to performances and temporary sculptures. This volume discusses Open Field’s genesis, exploring the meaning and impact of public practice for institutions.
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