Public Record is a public artwork in New York City comprised of artist-created government records. The project was commissioned by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Records and Information Services, who named me Public Artist in Residence in 2019. Public Record consists of eleven photographic prints that explore the government’s relationship to artists over the last century, looking particularly at records featuring criteria for evaluating art, surveillance of individual artists, and notes on artists’ role in civic life.
I created the Public Record compositions using an artistic and bureaucratic process designed to ensure that the artworks would be classified as official municipal records. The images were produced using only equipment owned by the City of New York—cameras, lights, computers—and I was assisted by government workers during their regular work day. As a result, the artworks are subject to laws that outline how government records must be managed, including the requirement that they be processed, maintained and made available permanently to the public. Viewers may see the physical prints by waiting for them to pass through the city’s archiving process into the publicly-accessible collection of the Municipal Archives. Alternatively, high resolution digital versions of the works are available through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). In Spring 2020 all of the artworks were released electronically through FOIL as a result of requests submitted by members of the public. New York City government must now support digital exhibition of the images permanently. To view the artworks, search “Julia Weist” on the NYC Open Records Portal.
Definitions, 2020 28 3/4 x 39” archival pigment print Edition of 3 + 1AP International, 2020 30 x 40" archival pigment print Edition of 3 + 1 AP Rubrics, 2020 30 x 39 5/8” archival pigment print Edition of 3 + 1 AP Limits, 2020 24 11/16 x 24 3/4" archival pigment print Edition of 3 + 1 AP From the Future, 2020 29 1/2 x 39 1/2” archival pigment print Edition of 3 + 1 AP Critique, 2020 29 5/8 x 39 7/8” archival pigment print Edition of 3 + 1 AP
Freedom of Information Law requests, 2020 published via New York City's Open Records Portal