Art in the Park is pleased to present David Weldzius’s “Public Works,” an exhibition that brings together three projects that meditate on free speech, the right to the city, and the historical role of social welfare in times of grave economic hardship.
Upon entering the gallery, one first encounters a series of plywood boxes, sculptures screen-printed with the graphic logos of soap and detergent brands. Flipped upside down, Weldzius’s soapboxes recall the way public speakers have used makeshift crates as platforms for public speech—in parks and on street corners—since the early nineteenth century. While soapboxes have historically been used for political speech, they have also forever been marked by the interests of commerce. Soapboxes invites visitors to use the single standing platforms for spontaneous expression (please speak!), and to consider the value of the civic spaces that we occupy together.