As part of our ongoing partnership with KQED Arts, today we bring you a thoughtful consideration of Levi’s Station to Station project. Author Christian L. Frock notes, “Though it seems unlikely that corporate benefactors will support politically potent, radical, or controversial artworks, perhaps the support leveraged by these popular and populist ‘public art’ opportunities will allow artists to engage in work that challenges us to think differently about the world around us.” This article was originally published on September 9, 2013.
Over a period of three weeks this month, a public art extravaganza featuring a changing cast of “artists, musicians and creative pioneers” will make its way across the country by rail. Station to Station, as it is called, is a project by multi-media artist Doug Aitken and made possible by Levi’s, whose corporate sponsorship has quietly supported a number of recent public art projects. The list of participants in Station to Station is an impressive array of creative personalities — too many to list here — including Patti Smith, Ernesto Neto, James Turrell, Alice Waters, Theaster Gates, Olafur Eliasson, and Nam June Paik, among many others. The train started in New York with stops in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Santa Fe, Winslow, Barstow, and Los Angeles along the way — this magical mystery tour will end in Oakland on September 28. As of this writing, tickets are still available for the concluding event in Oakland’s historic 16th Street Train Station.