BJ Krivanek is a professor emeritus of visual communication at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, principal of Krivanek+Breaux/ Art+Design, and founding artistic director of Community Architexts. He has an MFA in Art+Design from the University of Illinois/ Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Applied Arts from Iowa State University. During the past 25+ years, he has completed over 25 public art projects throughout the country, including activated structures for the CTA Brown Line Chicago station, an interactive artwork at the University of Florida, and a commission for the Oklahoma City Municipal Courthouse. Most recently, he has completed an activated plaza for the Municipal Courts Building in Oklahoma City and has received a commission with the Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, IL.
BJ’s work has been honored/ published in many design annuals, including the American Center for Design100 Show, American Institute of Graphic Arts, Society for Environmental Graphic Design, ID and Graphis, and included in the inaugural National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum/ New York. A feature article about his work appeared in Graphis 310/ Zurich. His work has received an NEA Federal Design Achievement Award and the Art Directors Club of New York Gold Medal as well as numerous SEGD honor/ merit awards, Illinois Arts Council fellowships, and grants from the Chicago and Los Angeles cultural affairs departments.
Artist Medium: Metal; Mixed Media; Plastic; Stainless Steel; Steel
I am interested in developing and enhancing public places for meaningful viewer interactions and experiences. My public artworks are detailed metaphoric art-forms and art-systems, completely integrated into buildings, surfaces and public spaces.
My approach to public art begins with communities and stakeholders—to collect the underlying cultural histories, contexts and issues related to a site. In collaboration with the design team, I build upon this understanding to guide the development of the public artwork—relating its forms and content to the metaphoric potential of the site. This results in the development of inscribed artistic forms or infrastructures that broadcast community experiences, histories, or narratives, inward to and outward from the immediate community to the city beyond.
In a process of creative placemaking, I conceptualize, plan and implement sequences or networks of viewer interactions and experiences that will engage the public. I have begun to orchestrate viewer involvement with visual elements that are implemented within experiential inhabitations of buildings, systems, infrastructures and landscapes. My public artworks are based upon direct and/ or indirect engagement of the public—viewing, interaction, navigation, experience and interpretation.