Commissioned public artwork has been part of our culture for many millennia. Over time, as world travel has become easier and safer, commissioned civil works of art have turned into tourist attractions all their own. From the bustling streets of New York City and Chicago to quieter corners of the globe in Howick, South Africa, and Las Colinas, Texas, Architectural Digest surveys twenty of the world’s most fascinating public sculptures. Each one answers a cultural curiosity—a question that was asked by a group or city officials, and answered by the artists.
Photo: Getty Images/Oli Scarff
Force of Nature, which is located in several major cities around the globe, was designed by the Italian artist, Lorenzo Quinn. He was inspired by the destruction witnessed after hurricanes around the globe. Made from bronze, stainless steel, and aluminum, Force of Nature depicts mother nature hurling the planet in circles. The sculpture seen in the picture is located in London.
Photo: Getty Images/Frank Bienewald
Designed by the Czech sculptor, Jaroslav Róna, Statue of Franz Kafka is based on a scene from Kafka’s first novel, Amerika (1927), in which a political candidate is carried on the shoulders of a giant man during a rally. Located in Prague, the work of art was completed in 2003.