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70 Top Contemporary Public Artworks around the World

In this article, learn what makes a contemporary public artwork and explore iconic examples curated by the Artelier team.

What is public art? Embark on an enlightening journey through the vibrant realm of public art with our comprehensive guide. This article explores the significance of contemporary public art, its various types, and the crucial distinctions between public and private art, alongside a curated list of 70 artworks from renowned artists worldwide. All in all, the eclecticism of ideas spanning these listed artists showcase the dynamic nature of contemporary public art available today.

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Deer in a forest surrounding artwork made by stuart ian frost
© Credit to Artist Stuart Ian Frost

What is Contemporary Public Art?

Contemporary public art, beyond traditional galleries, engages communities with innovative installations, sculptures, and murals, addressing social, cultural, and environmental themes. Focused on dialogue and inclusivity, it fosters shared experiences, enriching urban landscapes and reflecting evolving societal values. This powerful tool reshapes public spaces into dynamic canvases, celebrating diversity and challenging norms.

Artwork of giles miller displayed in Clerkenwell close, london
© Credit to Giles Miller Studio

What are the 7 types of Public Art?

Public art comes in various forms, each serving a unique purpose and engaging audiences in different ways. While categorising public art is not always straightforward due to its evolving nature, here are seven common types:

  1. Sculptures and Installations: Often large-scale, interactive, experiences in public spaces

  2. Murals and Street Art: Often urban, colourful and serves to identify specific neighbourhoods

  3. Land Art: Often in rural settings, using the environment and nature as a canvas

  4. Performance Art: Challenges traditional boundaries and engages audiences unexpectedly

  5. Interactive Art: Emphasis on audience participation and relationship with the artwork

  6. Digital and Media-Based Art: Uses technology and usually has interactive elements

  7. Functional Art: Artistic elements integrated into structures to enhance aesthetics and utility

These categories are not mutually exclusive, and many public art projects may incorporate elements from multiple types. The diversity of public art reflects the evolving nature of artistic expression in communal spaces.

public glass sculpture artwork of danny lane located in jesus college, cambridge, england
© Credit to Artist Danny Lane

Why is Contemporary Public Art so important?

Contemporary public art is crucial for urban vitality, catalysing dialogue and fostering shared identity. In the digital age, these installations offer authentic, immersive experiences, enhancing public spaces and attracting residents and tourists. Their prominence boosts a city's appeal, generating social media buzz and amplifying visibility. Recognising the socio-cultural impact, embracing contemporary public art is a strategic investment in community connectivity and urban vibrancy.

public art glass sculpture of danny lane showing stairs in salisbury, england
© Credit to Artist Danny Lane

What is the difference between Public Art and Private Art?

Public and private art vary in audience and location. Public art, displayed in communal spaces, aims to engage communities, fostering shared experiences and conversations with its accessible nature. In contrast, private art resides in personal collections, galleries, or homes, catering to individual tastes. Public art often conveys societal or cultural messages, while private art is typically more personalised, reflecting the collector's aesthetic choices. Recognising these distinctions helps art enthusiasts navigate the dynamic spectrum of artistic expression in public and private spheres.

Assortment of light public artwork display by ghils featuring famous  portraits such as rihanna
© Credit to Artist Ghils

How is Public Art funded?

Public art receives diverse funding from both public and private sources. Municipalities allocate budgets for civic beautification, including public art installations. Government grants, at local and national levels, support artists enhancing public spaces. Private philanthropy, corporate sponsorships, and art organisation partnerships also contribute significantly. Crowdfunding platforms empower communities to financially support local projects. Diverse funding mechanisms, recognising economic and cultural value, ensure the sustainability of public art, thereby fostering creativity and enriching the public sphere.

example of chris wood's colourful light artwork public space overseeing a balcony with towerblocks behind
© Credit to Artist Chris Wood

Do you have a Project that requires Public Art?

As public and landscape art consultants, Artelier has specialist expertise in developing art strategies and commissioning bespoke installations and sculptures.

Our projects have spanned varied public realm spaces, including: mixed use developments, corporate contexts, public parks, sculpture gardens, residential developments, landscapes and temporary installations.

To learn more about our turn-key art consultancy services and our process for commissioning artworks, visit our Public Art page here.


Artists represented by Artelier

child running between danny lane's artworks near paddington basin, london, england, the artwork is called lock level line and is four separate blue glass and metal bronze pillar sculptures
© Credit to Artist Danny Lane

1. Lock Level Line by Danny Lane (2003)

Artist represented by Artelier

Location: Paddington Basin, London, England

The four sculptures made of glass and steel by Danny Lane were transported down the Grand Union canal from the artist's studio as part of an effort to regenerate Paddington Basin.  This artwork was part of a trail containing 22 different installations and sculptures. The sculptures skilfully use light and shadow, animating their position as perpetual dancers with shadows. Note the reflective and luminescent qualities, flexible to London's ever-changing seasons and times of day.

penny half sphere public artwork sculpture made by artist giles miller hanging in broomhill sculpture park, devon, england over a river
© Credit to Giles Miller Studio

2. Penny Half Sphere by Giles Miller (2016) in collaboration with Artelier

Artelier represented by Artelier

Location: Broomhill Sculpture Park, Devon, England

Penny Half Sphere is a harmonious blend of hundreds of reflective stainless steel pennies suspended over a stream. Set within a gridded walnut timber framework, Giles Miller designed it to dynamically rotate in the breeze, casting reflections of surrounding trees and water. The deliberate chaos of light creates a double-sided portal, contrasting and resonating with the woodland. Referencing natural forms, the sculpture seamlessly integrates, appearing like floating pennies in midair. The Half-Penny Sphere is the studio's first outdoor, site-specific sculpture. It was commissioned as part of the Broomhill Art and Sculpture Foundation's annual National Sculpture Prize.

skin deep artwork created by stuart ian frost located in arte sella, italy large piece of wood with engravings located in a forest
© Credit to Artist Stuart Ian Frost

3. Skin Deep by Stuart Ian Frost (2012)

Location: Arte Sella, Italy

Arte Sella, established in 1986 in the picturesque Sella Valley Val di Sella, Trento, is a distinctive international outdoor art exhibition. Beyond a mere display, it embodies an ongoing creative process where artworks evolve harmoniously with nature. Stuart Frost was tasked to create an artwork that upheld a respectful relationship with the environment, crafting three-dimensional pieces from branches and tree trunks. Rarely employing man-made materials, the exhibition elegantly integrates into the surrounding woods, allowing visitors to witness nature-inspired creations that, over time, gracefully return to the natural life cycle.

Jaehyo lee's artwork in a semi circular sculptural form located in arte sella italy with a backdrop of the mountains
© Credit to Artist Jaehyo Lee

4. 0121-1110=115075 by Jaehyo Lee, 2015

Location: Arte Sella, Italy 

Also located in Arte Sella as well as Stuart Ian Frost, is Jaehyo Lee's 0121-1110=115075. This monumental structure explores the essence of sculptural form, delving into its function and role in the natural world. Handcrafted with an acute awareness of human design, Lee skilfully manipulates the multifaceted potential of raw materials.


Renowned light artist Olafur Eliasson showcases the weather project, a round orb of orange light art in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall, resembling the sun.
© Credit to Tom Strickland

5. The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson (2003)

Location: Tate Modern, London

The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson at Tate Modern, London, is an immersive installation featuring a massive, mirrored ceiling and a glowing, artificial sun. The reflective surfaces create a surreal atmosphere, blurring the boundaries between the real and the simulated, inviting viewers to contemplate nature, perception, and the elements.  The installation's popularity highlighted the public's fascination with immersive and participatory contemporary art experiences.

Ai Wei Wei's infamous sunflower seeds, a monumental conceptual installation where members of the public could interact with public art walking on the seeds, as a political statement.
© Credit to Didier Leroi

6. Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei (2010)

Location: Tate Modern, London

Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei at Tate Modern consisted of millions of hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds, meticulously crafted by Chinese artisans. The seeds cover the floor in a vast, textured expanse, inviting contemplation of individuality within a collective, touching on themes of mass production, cultural heritage, and political commentary. Interestingly, the initial interactive element, where visitors could walk on the seeds, was later restricted due to health concerns related to dust inhalation. Ai Weiwei's concept of collective labor and individuality faced challenges, adding a layer of complexity to the artwork's interpretation and experience.

A monumental work, Illuminated River is lit up in a myriad of colours showcasing the architecture of London in a fantastic, luminscent spectacle of light art.
© Credit to llluminated River Foundation

7. Illuminated River by Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (2021)

Location: River Thames, London

Illuminated River transforms London's River Thames with dynamic LED lighting on 14 iconic bridges. The project creates a stunning nightly spectacle, celebrating the city's architectural heritage. It made headlines for its fantastic display and the fact that it's the longest public art commission of its kind globally, spanning 4.5 nautical miles.

An example of brutalist, post-war art, in its lack of decorative style, featuring geometric blocks and raw concrete.,
© Credit to CWhatPhotos

8. Apollo Pavilion by Victor Pasmore (1969)

Location: Peterlee, County Durham, England,

Apollo Pavilion in Peterlee, County Durham, England, is a modernist concrete structure designed by artist Victor Pasmore in the 1960s. Featuring geometric shapes and murals, it was intended as a centrepiece for a new housing development. Despite controversy during its construction, it stands as a bold example of post-war public art.

Angel of the North was a pivotal public art structure that has become an iconic and memorable land art, with the figure's bronze winged arms and geometric body, it stands on a hill overlooking Tyne, UK.
© Credit to Tom Parnell

9. Angel of the North by Antony Gormley (1998)

Location: Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England

The Angel of the North in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England, is a colossal steel sculpture by Antony Gormley. Erected in 1998, it stands 66 feet tall with wings spanning 177 feet. This iconic landmark symbolises the region's industrial heritage and serves as a striking fusion of art and engineering. The Angel of the North has wings angled slightly forward, designed to evoke a sense of embrace and protection for the surrounding community.

Temenos is comprised of a delicate spider-like web connecting two large circular structures by the sea, in Middlesborough.
© Credit to Architects Journal

10. Temenos by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond (2009)

Location: Middlehaven, Middlesborough, England

An impressive public artwork, Temenos is a series of intertwined steel structures standing over 110 feet tall. Created by artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, it serves as a landmark in Middlesbrough's regeneration and emphasises the dynamic relationship between art, architecture, and urban renewal. The word "Temenos" is Greek for a piece of land set apart, often for a sacred purpose, reflecting the transformative impact the artwork has on its surroundings.

A playful interaction with local identity, this large 'message-in-a-bottle' structure plays with curved script and the history of Thomas Cook's messaging throughout British history, a comment on communication.
© Credit to Summonedbyfells

11. Bottle of Notes by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen (1993)

Location: Middlesbrough, England

This unique sculpture, created by the artistic duo Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, resembles an oversized bottle with a message inside. Symbolising communication and creativity, it pays homage to Captain Cook's voyages. The bottle contains etchings of significant moments in Middlesbrough's history.

The message inside the bottle represents the town's historical and cultural narratives, offering a creative and interactive exploration of local identity.

Orange steel pours out of a luminscent bottle in this artwork, appearing unusually, fantastically, curved and bright.
© Credit to Artist Steven Tomlinson via North East Statues

12. Ladle of Steel by Steve Tomlinson (2005)

Location: Middlesbrough, England

Crafted by artist Steve Tomlinson, Ladle of Steel stands as a tribute to Middlesbrough's industrial heritage. This sculpture resembles a ladle pouring molten steel, reflecting the town's historic significance in the iron and steel industry, while celebrating its resilience and transformation over time. Ladle of Steel is situated at the entrance of the Boho Zone, a hub for digital and creative businesses, symbolising the transition from industrial past to a modern, innovative future.

A giant, perhaps somewhat scary and disillusioning, but exceptionally eye-catching, this public artwork features a colossal timber head with a gawking mouth, a suprised expression - nestled between the trees.
© Credit to Kielder Art & Architecture

13. Silvas Capitalis by Rob Mullholland (2018)

Location: Kielder, Hexham, Scotland

The eerie impact arises when the line blurs between imagination and reality, as described by Sigmund Freud. Silvas Capitalis, a colossal timber head by American artists SIMPARCH along Lakeside Way, embodies an imaginary observer witnessing the landscape's evolution over millennia. Crafted from 3000 specially shaped pieces of European Larch, the head invites visitors to enter through its mouth, climb upstairs, and peer out from its eyes, providing an immersive experience. Built without screws or nails, the artwork captures the changing environment over the last century.

A iconic land art sculpture in london, depicitng an aged-bronze horses head, balancing on its nose/mouth, on a plinth in marble arch.
© Credit to Maggie Jones

14. Still Water by Nic Fiddian-Green (2011)

Location: London, England

Nic Fiddian-Green's Still Water is a bronze horse's head, capturing a moment of serene stillness. The artist is renowned for his equestrian sculptures, and this piece, with its exquisite craftsmanship, conveys a sense of tranquility and the timeless bond between humanity and horses. Still Water is part of Fiddian-Green's exploration of the spiritual and symbolic connections between horses and humans, often drawing inspiration from mythology and classical art.

This stunning work showcases a cascade of steel pipes enmeshed together to form a curved right angle shape, beginning smaller and flattening on the curve towards the sky.
© Credit to Colin Gould

15. The Singing Ringing Tree by Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu (2006)

Location: Crown Point, Burnley, Lancashire, England

This unique sound sculpture comprises pipes arranged to harness wind, producing haunting tones. Designed by Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, The Singing Ringing Tree stands on a hill, offering both a visual and auditory experience. Its unconventional form and atmospheric melodies make it a distinctive landmark. The Singing Ringing Tree received the prestigious National Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2007, recognising its innovative design and contribution to public art.

16. Brick Train by David Mach (1997)

Location: Darlington, England

Crafted by artist David Mach, the Brick Train sculpture in Darlington is a striking composition made entirely of bricks. This life-sized locomotive, bursting through a wall, pays homage to Darlington's rich railway heritage. It stands as a testament to industrial innovation and the enduring impact of the railway. David Mach is renowned for his large-scale sculptures using unconventional materials, showcasing a dynamic blend of creativity and craftsmanship. Brick Train is a testament to his ability to transform everyday materials into remarkable works of art.


Skyspace shows a roof that changes colours, adding a sense of atmosphere to the members of public who walk in and out of the glass building below.
© Credit to Jared Opperman

17.   Skyspace by James Turrell (1974-Present)

Location: Various installations worldwide, including: University of Illinois in Chicago; Rice University in Houston; Jardín Botánico Culiacán in Mexico; Stonescape in Napa Valley

Skyspace is a series of Turrell's architectural artworks designed to enhance the observer's perception of the sky and light. His work on the Skyspace series started in the 1970s and comprises more than 75 works worldwide. Visitors experience changing colours and atmospheric effects, engaging with the celestial drama. Each Skyspace is uniquely designed to complement its specific location and surroundings, offering diverse experiences worldwide.

Les Voyageurs shows human life-like figures with fragments, gaps inbetween their bodies, revealing the backgrounds in which they are placed. In this instance, a young man has had his torso removed at an angle, revealing a purple sky in the background.
© Credit to Pat_4light

18.   Les Voyageurs by Bruno Catalano (2013-2014)

Location: Various installations worldwide, including: Marseille-Fos-Port, France; Calgary, Canada; Venice, Italy; Arcachon, France

Les Voyageurs, or The Travellers, are striking bronze sculptures featuring fragmented figures with voids, symbolising the impact of migration. The captivating, incomplete forms evoke a sense of the human condition and the challenges faced by travellers. Catalano's sculptures explore the theme of displacement and reflect the emotional and physical struggles of people on their journeys.

Bicycles are laid one upon the other to offer a maze-like aesthetic, one that is startling and perhaps even unforgettable.
© Credit to Janette Asche

19.   Forever Bicycles by Ai Weiwei (2014)

Location: Various installations worldwide, including Austin, Texas

Ai Weiwei's Forever Bicycle is a monumental sculpture constructed from hundreds of interconnected bicycles, creating a visually striking and intricate network. The bicycles, a symbol of China's rapid modernisation, are skilfully arranged to form a dynamic and complex structure. Serving as a commentary on the tension between tradition and progress, this iconic artwork has been exhibited worldwide, contributing to Ai Weiwei's reputation as a leading figure in contemporary art and activism.

Large metal sculpture depicting an indented heart, in the middle of a cityscape, for viewers to move around.
© Credit to Chironius

20.   Love Me Sculptures by Richard Hudson (2016-2018)

Location: Various installations worldwide, including: Vancouver, Canada; Taipei, Taiwan; Dubai Mall, United Arab Emirates; Donum Sculpture Park, California, United States

Love Me, a heart-shaped sculpture crafted from reflective stainless steel, invites viewers to engage with their reflections. Hudson's work explores the theme of self-love and reflection in the context of urban environments. Richard Hudson's sculptures often use mirrored surfaces, encouraging viewers to connect with the artwork on a personal and reflective level.

A steel structure with drapery all across it's body, and two bronzed arms coming out holdin ga piece of fabric around a metal sphere, in the city.
© Credit to It's No Game

21.   The Force of Nature by Lorenzo Quinn (2008-2019)

Location: Various installations worldwide, including: London, United Kingdom; Venice, Italy

Lorenzo Quinn is the son of the famous actor Anthony Quinn and is renowned for his public art installations that convey powerful messages about environmental and societal issues. Quinn's monumental sculptures depict gigantic hands emerging from the ground, emphasising the powerful impact of nature and human influence. The hands symbolise our ability to shape the world positively or negatively.

Two large golden wings emerge from the black rectangular open structure that holds them, to appear from a certain angle as wings on the skyscraper in the distance.
© Credit to Timeout

22.   The Wings of the City by Jorge Marín (2010)

Location: Various installations worldwide, including: Mexico City; The Hague, Netherlands; Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Marín's bronze sculptures feature winged figures, exploring themes of freedom and transformation. The wings represent the aspiration for harmony and unity in diverse cultures. The sculptures have traveled to significant international venues, fostering cultural exchange and dialogue. By 2020, permanent versions of them have been erected in thirteen cities on four continents.

Light emerges fanstastically through holes in the walls in this large interior space, appearing like sunlight bursting through an open curtain, merging in the centre top of the room.
© Credit to Gerald Grote

23.   SKALAR by Christopher Bauder and Kangding Ray (2021)

Location: Various international locations, including Berlin, Germany.

SKALAR is a mesmerising audiovisual installation that merges the talents of Christopher Bauder and Kangding Ray. The immersive experience explores the synergy between light, sound, and movement through large-scale kinetic sculptures and a captivating electronic soundtrack. With its global touring exhibitions, SKALAR has enthralled audiences worldwide, showcasing the transformative power of interdisciplinary collaboration and pushing the boundaries of sensory perception in contemporary art installations.

This large public art sculpture shos green and red geometric design, merging in the middle at its central clearer gap/hole.
© Credit to Yann Caradec

24. Cupola by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov (2003)

Location: Various locations worldwide, including permanent installations in museums like the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

The Cupola by the Kabakovs is a thought-provoking installation featuring a small, enigmatic cupola placed atop a precarious-looking structure. This piece captures the essence of the Kabakovs' conceptual art, inviting viewers to ponder the symbolic meanings embedded within its structure. Its adaptability to different exhibition spaces allows for varied interpretations, adding a layer of universality to its intriguing narrative on the human condition and the pursuit of transcendence.

Maman is a ginormous spider structure, which viewers can walk around and underneath. Set against a blue/purpleevening sky, the light falls on its underbelly, exposing its intricate angular details within the structure.
© Credit to Joshua Mellin

25. Maman by Louise Bourgeois (1999)

Location: Various locations worldwide, including National Gallery of Canada, the Guggenheim in Spain, London’s Tate Modern, and the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul.

Maman, a monumental sculpture by artist Louise Bourgeois, stands in various locations. Depicting a spider, it is one of the world's largest, measuring over 30 ft high and 33 ft wide, with a sac containing 32 marble eggs. Originally part of The Unilever Series at London's Tate Modern, the stainless steel original was created in 1999, with subsequent bronze castings. The spider symbolises Bourgeois' mother, Josephine, evoking themes of strength, weaving, nurture, and protection.

Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kasuma showcases hundreds of small lights sparkling throughout an interior space to give the illusion of extended depth.
© Credit to Lux & Jourik

26. Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama (2013)

Location: Various locations worldwide, including Broad Collection, Los Angeles, David Zwirner Gallery, New York, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle

Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room, created in 2013, is a mesmerising installation featuring endless reflections of LED-lit spheres within a mirrored space. Viewers step into a seemingly infinite universe, surrounded by sparkling lights that create a surreal and otherworldly ambiance. Kusama's avant-garde work explores themes of infinity, self-reflection, and the boundless nature of the cosmos.The installation's popularity has led to long waiting lines at exhibitions, showcasing the enduring fascination and impact of Kusama's immersive environments on contemporary art enthusiasts.


This bulbous form is shown next to the artist, reaching just above his height as he stands next to it with an orange-painted paintbrush, showing where he has just laid more paint on the green ball like structure.
© Credit to Guiness World Records

27.  World’s Largest Ball of Paint by Michael Carmichael (1977-Present)

Location: Alexandria, Indiana, USA

A quirky roadside attraction, the World’s Largest Ball of Paint began as a small baseball, but can be now seen as a transformative piece of contemporary art. Over decades, visitors have added layers of paint, transforming it into a multicoloured marvel. Tourists can contribute to its growth, and each layer represents a unique story, making it an ever-evolving community artwork. Started in 1977, the ball now weighs several tons and holds a Guinness World Record for the largest paintball.

Bridge over tree shows the intricate reflection of an artists aware of architecture. Formed by angular beams forming 'X' like triangles underneath a pointed white roof, the work forms an upwards triangle at its centre.
© Credit to John Hill

28. Bridge Over Tree by Siah Armajani (2019)

Location: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, USA

Siah Armajani's Bridge Over Tree is a captivating blend of architecture and nature. Located in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the artwork features a functional pedestrian bridge arching over a living tree. Symbolising the intersection of human-made structures and the organic world, the installation invites contemplation on the coexistence of urban development and the environment. Armajani's creation bridges the gap between artistic expression and ecological awareness in a harmonious and thought-provoking manner.

A bronzed gun in the public art sphere, with a fistlike knot tied onto the end of the structure, rendering it useless.
© Credit to Andrea Izzotti via Shutterstock

29.  Non Violence by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd (1984)

Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York City, USA

A powerful symbol of peace and anti-gun violence, Non Violence features a knotted revolver barrel with a twisted, non-functional shape. Placed outside the UN, it serves as a call for disarmament and an enduring reminder of the need for global peace. Inspired by the assassination of John Lennon, Reuterswärd created the sculpture in memory of the musician and as a plea for a nonviolent world.

A figure dances in bronze opposite its hollowed forms, as other bronze sculptures begin to appear to prise themselves away from the metal backdrop from whence they were cut.
© Credit to Artist Zenos Frudakis

30.   Freedom by Zenos Frudakis (2000)

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Zenos Frudakis’ dynamic bronze sculpture, Freedom, captures the struggle for freedom and self-determination. Depicting figures emerging from a block, it symbolises the eternal quest for liberty and the courage needed to break free from constraints. The sculpture has become a symbol of hope and inspiration, resonating with people worldwide.

A large, shiny, silver bean-looking structure, sits below Chicago's skyscrapers reflecting its skyline onto its curved surface, distorting it and simultaneously beautifying it.
© Credit to Gustavo Thomas

31.   Cloud Gate (The Bean) by Anish Kapoor (2006)

Location: Millennium Park, Chicago, USA

Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, affectionately known as "The Bean," is a reflective, seamless sculpture that distorts and mirrors the Chicago skyline. A public magnet, it invites interaction, capturing the essence of the city and its people in its polished surface. The seamless stainless-steel surface consists of 168 polished plates, seamlessly welded to create the mirror-like effect.

A somewhat-kitsch like artwork, a bright red cherry plastic-looking form lies on the tip of a spoon in the middle of a pastoral landscape.
© Credit to Arthistory390

32.   Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg (1988)

Location: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, USA

Claes Oldenburg's Spoonbridge and Cherry is a whimsical sculpture featuring a giant spoon with a cherry balanced on its tip. It's an iconic symbol of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, merging everyday objects with monumental scale to create a playful and visually striking landmark. The spoon's bowl serves as a reflecting pool, adding an interactive element to the artwork.

a large wooden structure that curves at its bottom, nestled inbetween the tall skyscrapers of Pennsylvania.
© Credit to Youtuber via Flickr

33.   Clothespin by Claes Oldenburg (1976)

Location: Centre Square Plaza, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Clothespin is a monumental sculpture by Claes Oldenburg, resembling a common clothespin. Situated in Centre Square Plaza, it stands as a playful and iconic symbol of Philadelphia's commitment to public art, provoking dialogue about the intersection of art and daily life. Initially controversial, the sculpture has become a beloved and recognisable landmark in Philadelphia over the years.

A beautiful image of a yellow-lit Prada store, in the centre of the image, set against a deep blue, orange sunset.
© Credit to Stephen A.Masker

34.   Parda Marfa by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset (2005)

Location:  Las Colinas, Texas, USA

Parda Marfa is a permanent, site-specific installation featuring a Prada storefront in the Texan desert, showcasing real Prada products. It's a curious blend of luxury, art, and isolation, questioning consumerism's place in remote landscapes. The products inside the store are real, but the door cannot be opened, making it an art installation rather than a functional store.

Lines of streetlamps fill this image, lighting up the avenues between them.
© Credit to Mike Humer

35.   Urban Light by Chris Burden (2008)

Location:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, USA

Urban Light is an outdoor installation featuring 202 vintage street lamps arranged symmetrically. Illuminating the entrance to LACMA, it serves as a monumental sculpture, inviting interaction and exploration in the heart of Los Angeles. The lampposts in Urban Light are functional; each one has been restored to working order, contributing to the city's urban landscape.

Giant stone binoculars fill a street, with a car shown in front of it to showcase its large size. It appears almost like a building upon first glance, requiring deeper looking.
© Credit to Musiquegirl via Flickr

36.   Giant Binoculars by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen (1991)

Location:  Chiat/Day Building, Venice, Los Angeles, California, USA

Giant Binoculars is a 45-foot high sculpture, part of the Chiat/Day office building. Its whimsical design adds a touch of humour to the urban environment, transforming everyday objects into public art. The binoculars are positioned to overlook the bustling streets of Venice in Los Angeles, creating a dynamic interplay between art and the surrounding city.

A huge swirl-like land art structure made from rocks and sand, against a desolate ocean backdrop, emerging from the land into the sand.
© Credit to Barcroft Media

37.   Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson (1970)

Location:  Rozel Point, Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA

Huge in scale, Spiral Jetty is a 1,500-foot-long coil of rocks and earth extending into the Great Salt Lake. Its appearance fluctuates with the water level, offering a dynamic interplay between nature and art. Originally created with basalt rocks, the work has become an iconic example of land art, symbolising the ephemeral nature of art and the environment.

Immediately belonging to no-country, neon-orange flags line the street of New York on a pathway, two by two, curving round the streets and grassy-hill.
© Credit to Dennis Yang

38.   The Gates by Christo and Jeanne-Claude (2005)

Location:  Central Park, New York City, USA

The Gates was a temporary public art installation featuring 7,503 gates adorned with flowing orange fabric panels along Central Park's pathways. The vibrant, ephemeral display transformed the iconic park into a visual spectacle. The artists financed The Gates entirely through the sale of their preparatory drawings, collages, and scale models, refusing sponsorship.


Many steel figures, shown in cartoon-like form, appear to be laughing with their backs to one another and expressionistic body language. One such figure has his hands on his knees, crouched forward in a big laugh.
© Credit to Stan F

39. A-maze-ing Laughter by Yue Minjun (2009)

Location: Morton Park, Vancouver, Canada

This installation comprises 14 colossal bronze statues depicting a single figure in various states of uproarious laughter. The exaggerated expressions create an immersive and whimsical atmosphere, inviting viewers to participate in the contagious joy. The artist, Yue Minjun, often incorporates self-portraits in his works, exploring themes of identity and emotion.

A ginormous pixelated black and white whale structure, set against the grassy pastoral land of Vancouver. The whale appears balanced by just its tale, a remarkable public art structural feat.
© Credit to Susan Gittins

40. Digital Orca by Douglas Coupland (2010)

Location: Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, Canada

Douglas Coupland is a Canadian artist and writer known for his exploration of contemporary culture and technology in his works. This public sculpture reinterprets the iconic killer whale in a pixelated, geometric form. The juxtaposition of the natural subject with a digital aesthetic prompts reflection on the intersection of nature and technology.

Facing away from the building and towards the street, a bronze figure sits cross-legged with its legs pulled towards him and his arms embracing them, with a tree growing at the centre of its pelvis.
© Credit to

 41. Alberta’s Dream by Jaume Plensa (2012)

Location: The Bow Building, Calgary, Canada

Jaume Plensa is renowned for his use of language and spirituality in his sculptures, fostering contemplation and connection. This self-portrait cast sculpture features a serene, elongated figure composed of white steel letters detailing numerous Alberta communities with Edmonton being across the chest and Calgary on the back, creating a harmonious blend of language and art. The artwork symbolises the dreams and aspirations of the people of Alberta. The figure hugs a tree, critically turning its back from The Bow and what it symbolically represents (capitalism, oil, and gas).


A metal structure opens up to showcase a delicate-wire like form at its centre.
© Credit to Robert Cutts

42. Floralis Genérica by Eduardo Catalano (2002)

Location:  Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

 Eduardo Catalano's Floralis Genérica is a monumental steel and aluminium flower sculpture that stands in the heart of Buenos Aires. The kinetic artwork symbolises the perpetual cycle of life, with its petals opening and closing based on the time of day. Notably, the sculpture was a gift to the city from the artist, adding an altruistic touch to its captivating representation of nature's beauty and transience.


A blocky, brutalist artwork that showcases rectangular and cuboid forms lined up over a gridded pavement.
© Credit to Brule Laker

43. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe by Peter Eisenman (2005)

Location: Berlin, Germany

Designed by architect Peter Eisenman, this Holocaust memorial consists of 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid. Symbolising the profound loss during the Holocaust, the memorial invites contemplation and reflection. Its stark and abstract design evokes a powerful emotional response, fostering remembrance and education. The memorial site also houses an underground Information Centre, providing historical context and personal stories related to the Holocaust, enriching the visitor's understanding and experience.

A large mural with graphic text below it, showcasing two middle-aged men kissing from a side profile view.
© Credit to Travelstock44

44. The East Side Gallery by Various Artists (1990)

Location: Berlin, Germany

The East Side Gallery is a 1.3 km-long section of the Berlin Wall adorned with over 100 murals. Created by international artists after the fall of the Wall, these vibrant artworks symbolise hope, unity, and the end of division. It stands as an open-air gallery, preserving a historic moment. The East Side Gallery is the longest open-air gallery in the world, attracting visitors with its powerful and diverse expressions of art and political commentary.


A girnomous thumb, also referencing a more phallic-form stands on a circular plinth in front of a large corporate building.
© Credit to 11 h 45

45. Le Pouce by César Baldaccini (1983)

Location: Paris, France

César Baldaccini's Le Pouce is a monumental thumb sculpture in the La Défense business district. Crafted from bronze, it humorously subverts traditional notions of public art. The colossal thumb becomes a symbol of strength and resilience in the heart of a financial hub. César, known for his innovative approach to materials, was a prominent figure in the Nouveau Réalisme movement, challenging artistic norms through unconventional mediums.

Striped circular forms sit one in front the other, gradually becoming taller at sporadic intervals, and more gradual intervals as in some lines.
© Credit to Thierry via Flickr

46. Les Colonnes de Buren by Daniel Buren (1986)

Location: Palais Royal, Paris, France

Daniel Buren's Les Colonnes de Buren features a grid of striped columns in the inner courtyard of the Palais Royal. The rhythmic installation engages with the architectural space, creating a visually dynamic experience that challenges perceptions of public art and its surrounding historical context. Buren is known for his use of stripes as a signature motif. The controversy surrounding Buren's work initially led to its removal, but public demand resulted in its eventual reinstatement in 1986, solidifying its place as a Parisian cultural landmark.

Vivid and unique, these brightly-coloured abstracted forms appear to float above a pool of water in the city of Paris.
© Credit to Victor Fernando R. Campo

47. Stravinsky Fountain by Jean Tinguely (1983)

Location: Paris, France

The Stravinsky Fountain, co-created by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, is a kinetic sculpture near the Centre Pompidou. Inspired by composer Igor Stravinsky, the whimsical and colourful fountain features playful and moving sculptures, creating an interactive and lively public space. Tinguely's mechanical sculptures, incorporating movement and sound, were designed to celebrate Stravinsky's music through a dynamic and ever-changing visual spectacle.

Massive circular forms reflect the light of the grand palais' celieng, onto the forms which showcase different circular coloured structures laid next to one another.
© Credit to Martin Heimburger

48. Monumenta Series by Various Artists (2007 - Present)

Location: Grand Palais, Paris, France

The Monumenta Series transforms the Grand Palais into an ever-changing space for monumental contemporary art installations by various artists. Each year, a new artist takes on the challenge of filling the vast space with immersive and thought-provoking works, making it a dynamic platform for artistic exploration and expression. Previous Monumenta exhibits have included works by Anselm Kiefer, Richard Serra, Christian Boltanski, Anish Kapoor, Daniel Buren and Ilya and Emilia Kabakov.


A large, plush-like dog structure made up of different coloured flowers in the centre of a city scape.
© Credit to Ria Verschuren

49.  Puppy by Jeff Koons (1992)

Location: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

Towering outside the Guggenheim Museum, Jeff Koons' Puppy is a colossal floral sculpture of a West Highland White Terrier. The playful juxtaposition of a cute, giant puppy covered in vibrant flowers against the museum's modern architecture captivates visitors, creating a harmonious blend of art and nature. The flowers covering Puppy change with the seasons, ensuring a constantly evolving and visually stunning experience for onlookers.


50. The Floating Piers by Christo and Jeanne-Claude (2016)

Location: Lake Iseo, Italy

Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Floating Piers involved creating a system of floating walkways covered in vibrant yellow fabric, connecting islands on Lake Iseo. The immersive experience allowed visitors to walk on water, interacting with the environment. It showcased the ephemeral beauty of large-scale, site-specific installations. The fabric used for the piers was specifically designed to withstand the elements and the impact of thousands of visitors, emphasising the meticulous planning and engineering behind the temporary but impactful installation.


A subtle public artwork, the concrete steps next to the ocean are cut with small rectangular openings, where the sound will be made from the waves.
© Credit to Giulia Guido via COLLATER.AL

51. Sea Organ by Nikola Bašić (2005)

Location: Zadar, Croatia

A unique sea organ that creates music by harnessing the energy of waves, turning the waterfront into a sonorous and interactive space, symbolising the harmony between nature and art. Nikola Bašić, the architect behind the Sea Organ, received the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2006 for this innovative and harmonious installation.


Fantastically large, this st4ructure shows a giant stone man with one arm pressed against the ground, his bulbous head tilting onto his left arm as he appears to try lift the mossy blanket on top of him with his right arm. Set in front of a palace, the viewer is invited to imagine fairy tales as real.
© Credit to Nicholas Lopes

52. Feltépve by Ervin Loránth Hervé (2014)

Location:  Budapest, Hungary

Ervin Loránth Hervé's enigmatic artwork in Budapest features a colossal ogre-like creature, evoking both awe and curiosity. The sculpture, crafted with meticulous detail, adds a fantastical element to the urban landscape. The artist's intention was to spark imagination and provoke thought about the intersection of mythology and reality. The giant Ogre-like creature invites viewers to ponder the boundaries between the mystical and the tangible, creating a whimsical and thought-provoking experience.

Hundreds of bronze shoes line a path along a river.
© Credit to John Hallam Images

53. The Shoes on the Danube Bank by Can Togay and Gyula Pauer (2005)

Location:  Danube Promenade, Budapest, Hungary

This poignant memorial along the Danube River, conceived by Can Togay and Gyula Pauer, commemorates the tragic events of World War II. The sculpture features iron shoes of various styles and sizes, symbolising the Jewish victims who were ordered to remove their shoes before being shot and falling into the river. An emotionally charged homage, the artwork invites reflection on the human cost of war and intolerance.


A head lined with silver rotating layers, showing a reflection of the Prague cityscape onto it.
© Credit to Shlomit Heymann

54. Franz Kafka’s Head by David Černý (2014)

Location:  Franz Kafka Square, Prague, Czech Republic

David Černý's avant-garde sculpture, Frank Kafka’s Head, is a striking and surreal depiction of the renowned Czech writer. Composed of rotating layers, the kinetic artwork challenges traditional representations, reflecting Kafka's complex and enigmatic literary legacy. The sculpture invites viewers to interpret Kafka's ever-changing perspectives and delves into the artist's exploration of the fluid nature of identity and perception in the context of Kafkaesque themes.


A large slender figure stands isolated against a desert backdrop.
© Credit to Universal Images Group via Getty Images

55. Inside Australia By Antony Gormley (2003)

Location: Lake Ballard, Western Australia

Consisting of 51 individual sculptures spread across the vast salt flats, this installation represents a cross-section of the local community. Each figure is based on a resident, reflecting the diversity and stories of the region. The artwork engages with the vast landscape, acting as a dialogue between humanity and nature. Antony Gormley described the project as "a celebration of the particular qualities of the people who live in the region," making it a unique and site-specific exploration of identity and connection.


A curved, metal teardrop-like form is structured angularly and tall against a pastoral landscape.
© David Hartley-Mitchell via Inspirationist

56. Jacob’s Ladder by Gerry Judah (2017)

Location: Gibbs Farm Sculpture Park, New Zealand

Gibbs Farm, a vast open-air sculpture park near Auckland, New Zealand, spans a thousand acres and showcases over thirty monumental sculptures by international artists, commissioned over twenty-six years by Alan Gibbs. Standing at 34 meters (112 feet), Jacob's Ladder comprises 46 tonnes of square-sectioned steel tubes, 480 lengths stacked with varying lengths and sizes. The final elegant curve results from strategic shifts and rotations, showcasing creativity with initially straight steel sections.


Yayoi Kusama's infamous aesthetic is repeated here, of a yellow pumpkin like structure with inky black spots painted linearly onto its surface, against a isolated seascape, devoid of people.
© Credit to Alex Stoen

57. The Yellow Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama (1994)

Location:  Naoshima, Japan

Yayoi Kusama's iconic The Yellow Pumpkin graces the tranquil island of Naoshima. This vibrant sculpture, with its whimsical polka dots and distinctive shape, stands at the water's edge, creating a surreal contrast against the serene seascape. Beyond its visual allure, the pumpkin has become a symbol of Naoshima's transformation into an art destination. Kusama's integration of art into the natural environment invites contemplation and joy, making it a beloved landmark.

Sharp, spherical with metal rods jutting out at all of its angles, this star-like public art project appears to be floating on top of its circular plinth.
© Credit to CASACOR

58. Star by Tokujin Yoshioka (2022)

Location: Tokyo Midtown, Japan

Tokujin Yoshioka introduces Star, a 10-metre sculpture at Tokyo Midtown Yaesu's entrance. Composed of 2,000 stainless steel octagonal and mirrored rods, the artwork creates captivating crystalline effects, reflecting sunlight and emanating luminosity. Yoshioka intends the sculpture as a gift, symbolising a wish for world peace and unity, echoing the longstanding symbolic connection of stars with hope.

A glass cuboid with a cloud like form in its centre, it is inescapably ethereal, minimalist and delicate looking.
© Credit to art@site

59. Cloud by Leandro Erlich (2011)

Location: IINO Building, Uchisaiwaicho, Japan

Leandro Erlich's Cloud appears ethereal and weightless, a stark contrast to the bustling urban environment of one of the world's largest cities. Amidst the enduring concrete structures and the ceaseless activity of ambitious individuals, the artwork brings forth a profound sense of silence—a rare commodity in the vibrant metropolis of Tokyo. Cloud offers a hyper-realistic experience, stripping away colours and forms, challenging the conventions of traditional art. Upon deeper reflection, themes of temporality, lightness, peace, and freedom emerge, making this seemingly simple artwork a rich source of contemplation and inspiration.

A large bin filled with well-known brand names, on a cityscape.
© Credit to Nick West via Pinterest

60. Work 2012 by Kimiyo Mishima (2012)

Location: Tennozu Isle, Shinagawa, Japan

Positioned in Tennozu Isle, Shinagawa, her sculpture features an oversized trash can housing giant ceramic replicas of commonplace items like kiwifruit, sake, and cigarettes. Influenced by American Pop artists like Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol, her work also engages with postwar Japanese collectives such as Gutai and Dokuritsu Art Association, showcasing a diverse artistic lineage.


Circular metal spheres reflect the landscape.
© Credit to Ted Mcgrath

61. 24 Hours in Singapore by Baet Yeok Kuan (2015)

Location: Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore

A commission by Public Art Trust, this artwork merges sculpture and sound. Artist Baet crafted large stainless steel spheres containing audio recordings of distinctive Singaporean sounds. From hawker centres to public transport, the installation transforms everyday life into art

Angular, curved lnes form two figures, one larger and one smaller ontop of a stairlike plinth in front of a corporate building.
© Credit to Choo Yut Shing

62. Singapore Soul by Jaume Plensa (2011)

Location: Ocean Financial Centre, Singapore

Symbolising Singapore's unity and multicultural essence, this sculpture portrays a sitting figure intricately crafted from steel. The figure, formed by Chinese, Tamil, English, and Malay language words, invites viewers inside, enveloping them in a tapestry of languages. Illuminated in white at night, the sculpture radiates with words like "unity," "Country," and "happiness," celebrating diversity and harmony.

A metal abstract figure with lights shining on it, blending the water in front of it like the metal sculpture on top.
© Credit to William Cho

63. Reclining Figure by Henry Moore (1938)

Location: OCBC Centre, Singapore

Crafted by renowned sculptor Henry Moore, this artwork blurs the lines between abstraction and figuration. Moore, known for suggestive reclining female figures, employs a play of positive and negative space to distort the form into a fluid shape. Measuring over 10 meters, this sculpture, positioned by the water, represents a serene, contemplative presence.

A large public art work showing a child who appears to be floating in nature, asleep, innocent and detailed.
© Credit to Black Diamond Images

64. Planet by Marc Quinn (2008)

Location: OCBC Centre, Singapore

Derived from Quinn's earlier piece 'Innoscience,' this large-scale bronze sculpture, titled Planet, was commissioned by Chatsworth House for its formal gardens. Representing Quinn's first son and his severe milk allergy diagnosis, the work, in painted bronze and steel, measures nearly 10 meters by almost 4 meters. Despite its emphasis on life's fragility, the sculpture's immense scale creates an illusion of weightlessness, challenging our perception of time and space.


65. Nelson Mandela by Marco Cianfanelli (2012)

Location:  Capture Site, Howick, South Africa

Marco Cianfanelli's masterful sculpture commemorates Nelson Mandela and his pivotal role in South Africa's history. Situated at the Capture Site, where Mandela was arrested in 1962, the artwork is a series of steel columns that, when viewed from a specific angle, form Mandela's profile. This ingenious design symbolises the complexity and multifaceted nature of Mandela's life and legacy, engaging viewers in a profound exploration of the leader's impact on the nation.


Curved lines in front of the Dubai skyline, form arabic calligraphy forms that make up semi-circles floating on top of the water.
© Credit to

66. The Sail by Mattar Bin Lahej (2021)

Location:  Dubai, UAE

Mattar Bin Lahej's artwork graces Dubai's skyline as a majestic symbol of modernity and maritime heritage. The artwork, a monumental sail-shaped structure, seamlessly blends traditional Emirati design with contemporary aesthetics. Rising from the cityscape, it evokes the spirit of Dubai's seafaring history while embracing its futuristic vision. The Sail not only captures the essence of the city's evolution but also serves as a dynamic emblem of cultural continuity and innovation.

A multitude of pyramids encircle one another in the desertscape, lined up in neat lines of rings with a person at the centre to showcase the size of the public art project.
© Credit to Colossal

67. Self Similar by Jim Denevan (2023)

Location:  Abu Dhabi's Fahid Island, UAE

In Abu Dhabi, artist Jim Denevan presents Self Similar, a monumental land art installation featured in the city-wide light art exhibition, Manar Abu Dhabi. Covering nearly one square kilometre and rising to twenty-seven meters on Fahid Island, the work intersects urban and desert landscapes, bordered by the Arabian Sea. Originating as a simple circle drawn in Abu Dhabi's sands, Self Similar has grown into one of the largest land art installations. Nineteen concentric rings of 448 pyramids symbolise transience and nature's connection, inviting visitors to actively engage with the mandala-like pattern.

A man walks through this public art work, showing that he is just as tall as these glass wall designs, apppearing like a maze of a sort.
© Credit to Timeout Abu Dhabi

68. Al-Duroob by Latifa Saeed (2023)

Location:  Abu Dhabi, UAE

Comprising 5,000 glass bricks, this striking structure features an undulating wall design that dynamically alternates between veiling and unveiling, constriction and contraction, and boundlessness and restriction. According to Saeed, the platform fosters open dialogue between UAE and international artists, showcasing the nation's flourishing art scene as a testament to creativity, expression, and societal vibrancy.


69. Camouflage 2.0 by Zeinab AlHashemi (2022)

Location: Desert X Alula, Saudi Arabia

Camouflage 2.0, a clever blend of "camel" and "camouflage," draws inspiration from the seamless integration of camels into desert landscapes. This installation presents a captivating desert scene, featuring abstract camel silhouettes emerging from the landscape. Crafted from carefully selected camel breeds, the rock-like sculptures showcase the natural shades of camel hair. Beyond aesthetics, the artwork symbolises the desert's magnificence and serves as a reminder of the site's transformation into a public art park, inviting all to explore and appreciate nature's masterpiece.

sand envelops a pool of water in the desertscape.
© Credit to Desert X / Artist Abdullah Al Othman

70. Geography of Hope by Abdullah AlOthman (2022)

Location: Desert X Alula, Saudi Arabia

This artwork captures the experience of reaching out to the mirage, transforming it into tangible reality in AlUla desert.  For desert dwellers, the mirage is more than an illusion; it instills hope, patience, and the luxury of dreaming, propelling them forward with visions of water. Crafted from stainless steel, the piece intertwines with light refraction, creating a radiant space that symbolises the enduring hope and deliverance embedded in the desert's cultural and Islamic heritage.

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