Creative Time is a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1973 to support the creation of innovative, site-specific works by professional artists for public presentation in vacant spaces of historical and architectural interest throughout New York City. Its history of commissioning, producing, and presenting adventurous public artworks of all disciplines began in the midst of a significant period in which artists were experimenting with new forms and media that moved their works out of galleries and museums and into the public realm. At this time, New York's citizens were responding to the City's deterioration, which was prompted by the fiscal crisis, with the City Beautification movement. Additionally, the federal government, recognizing the significance of art in society, established the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to herald the role of artists and introduce uninitiated audiences to contemporary art. Creative Time derives its values from this historic impetus to foster artistic experimentation, enrich public space and the everyday experience, and forefront artists as key contributors to a democratic society. Programs sponsored by Creative Time include both the visual and performing arts and are designed to encourage a dialogue between the artist and the community. By presenting new works by artists concerned in enhancing the viewer's perception of a particular environment, sharing with the public the creative process, and using densely populated locations lacking in cultural amenities, these new works have expanded the definition of public art. Creative Time's reputation has not rested on having a readily identifiable home, but on an identifiable programming philosophy, which requires that it move around to take advantage of the city's richness of resources.
Their earliest programs invigorated vacant storefronts as well as neglected public spaces such as the Great Hall of the Chamber of Commerce in Lower Manhattan and the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage. Both landmarks are overwhelming in their visual impact and wealth of history they represent. Until Creative Time's tenancy, the Great Hall had been closed for several years, and the arches for over a century. From 1983 - 2001, Creative Time presented Art in the Anchorage and the imposing and dramatic scale of the Anchorage arches drew thousands to the majestic chambers to view annual exhibitions of emerging creative practices in art, music, theater, and fashion until its closure in 2001 due to national security. Creative Time gained early renown for initiating Art on the Beach on two acres of landfill known as Batter Park City, an area targeted for future residential and commercial development. From 1978 to 1985, this site became a laboratory for artists of all mediums to develop large scale works and often collaborate as interdisciplinary teams bringing together architects, sculptors, performers, musicians. Open free to the public for three months every summer, this unique program presented site-specific sculpture and performances. An eagerly anticipated event on New York's summer calendar of cultural happenings, the event relocated to Hunter's Point Queens for the summers of 1987-1988. The success of Art on the Beach set a model for the presentation of temporary public art which has since been adopted nation wide by city governments and other arts agencies.
Creative Time's Citywide program was inaugurated in 1989 and provided a new forum for further investigation of the parameters of public art. Responding to the impact of censorship and the art community's isolation, Creative Time noticed a need for individual artists to control and initiate the presentation of their work in public places and for the public to have greater access to artists and their process. Creative Time soon spread its programs throughout New York City. Presenting projects on billboards, landmark buildings, buses, deli cups, milk cartons, ATM machines, and the Internet, among numerous other venues, Creative Time broadened the definitions of both art and public space throughout the 1980s and 90s. In particular, Creative Time encouraged artists to address timely issues such as the AIDS pandemic, domestic violence, and racial inequality.
From 1973-1986, Creative Time was under the leadership of Anita Contini and continued until Cee Scott Brown took over as director in 1987. Anne Pasternak stepped in as director in 1993 and continues in this position at present. Today, Creative Time continues to provide hundreds of emerging and established artists with unparalleled opportunities to create ambitious new works that expand their practices and foster career growth. Each year, Creative Time also offers millions of people rare encounters with contemporary art beyond racial, economic, and age factors, thereby enlivening the everyday experience of New York City. While Creative Time delights New Yorkers with skywriting over Manhattan and colorful sculptures in Grand Central Station, it also inspires with projects like Tribute in Light, the twin beacons that rose from Lower Manhattan. Creative Time's alumni community continues to grow as the world's leading artists join the roster next to Vito Acconci, Diller + Scofidio, David Byrne, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Red Grooms, Jenny Holzer, Takashi Murakami, Shirin Neshat, Sonic Youth, and Elizabeth Streb, among thousands more. Lastly, Creative Time has remained committed to promoting collaboration within the creative community, frequently partnering with institutions like the Dia Art Foundation, The Kitchen, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MTA Arts for Transit, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
From the description of Creative Time archive, 1973-2006. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 480489810