In 1977, Alex Katz created a monumental frieze featuring multistory headshots of glamorous women on the wraparound advertising space of a building at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue in Times Square. It happened to be one of the very first projects of the Public Art Fund, which was founded that same year, and was also the first time that Katz had created a work on such a heroic scale; he later described it as "one of the big kicks" of his life. One of the most influential painters of our time, Katz came onto the New York art scene in the late 1950s, at the height of Abstract Expressionism, and his iconic style of painting took that movement's monumental proportions and flat surfaces into uncharted, representational territory. Characterized by reductive imagery and rich hues, Katz's vibrant canvases employ the most economic means to lovingly portray the people and places in his life, from Maine seascapes to New York cocktail parties, from portraits of poets and artists to his most famous subject, his wife, Ada. Interested in the gestures and colors that characterize a fleeting moment, Katz has said, "I'm just trying to see the world I live in, not the world that someone else lived in, to get into the present tense and see where I am."

Now in its thirteenth year, The Public Art Fund has produced this ongoing lecture series of presentations and discussions by some of today's most influential artists, critics, and curators, including Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons, Rachel Whiteread, Matthew Barney, Gabriel Orozco, Pipilotti Rist, Tony Oursler, Catherine David, Kasper Konig, Okwui Enwezor, and Lynne Cook.

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