Founded in 1974, the Organization curates several large-scale projects a year. Instrumental in Tribute in Light at the World Trade Center (the twin beams that rose from the site), Creative Time is jointly producing Doug Aitken's sleepwalkers with The Museum of Modern Art in 2007.
Creative Time has a history of commissioning, producing, and presenting public artworks of all disciplines. It traces its development back to the 1970s, a time in which artists were experimenting with new forms and media, their work moving out of galleries and museums and into the public realm. Around this time, New York's citizens responded to the City's deterioration, which was prompted by the fiscal crisis, with the City Beautification movement. Also recognizing the significance of art in society, the federal government established the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to herald the role of artists and introduce uninitiated audiences to contemporary art. According to Creative Time, the Organization's mission is rooted in this broader movement: to foster artistic experimentation, enrich public space and the everyday experience, and forefront artists as key contributors to democratic society.
Creative Time's earliest programs invigorated vacant storefronts as well as neglected landmarks like the U.S. Customs House in Lower Manhattan. After gaining early renown for Art on the Beach (1978 – 1985), which fostered collaborations between visual artists, architects, and performing artists at the Battery Park City Landfill, Creative Time soon spread its programs throughout New York City. Presenting projects on billboards, landmark buildings, buses, deli cups, ATM machines, and the Internet, among numerous other venues, Creative Time broadened the definitions of both art and public space throughout the 1980s and 90s. In particular, Creative Time encouraged artists to address timely issues such as the AIDS pandemic, domestic violence, and racial inequality. More recently, Art in the Anchorage (1983 – 2001) drew thousands to the majestic chambers of the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, which housed annual exhibitions of emerging creative practices in art, music, theater, and fashion until its closure in 2001 due to national security.
Today, Creative Time backs emerging and established artists in their attempts to create new works that expand their practices and foster career growth. Each year, Creative Time reaches millions of people citywide--attempting to level racial, economic, and age barriers and enlivening the everyday experience of New York City. Projects have included everything from skywriting over Manhattan to sculpture in Grand Central Station.
Creative Time's alumni community continues to grow as the world's leading artists join the roster next to Vito Acconci, Diller + Scofidio, David Byrne, Chris Doyle, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Red Grooms, Jenny Holzer, Takashi Murakami, Shirin Neshat, Sonic Youth, and Elizabeth Streb, among thousands more.
The Organization also promotes collaboration within the creative community, frequently partnering with institutions like the Dia Art Foundation, The Kitchen, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MTA Arts for Transit, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Creative Time is led by Anne Pasternak.