The current climate surrounding contemporary art production--including recent curatorial and exhibition practices--is especially marked by an ongoing expansion of the field across disciplinary boundaries and beyond the conventional spaces of display and reception. This expanding field of artistic production spreads in multiple directions, an expanding universe without any definite center or edge. In addition, there is a considerable amount of contemporary art production today that has shifted away from notions of objecthood, wherein artists take the very nature of human relations itself as the source material for the undertaking of a project or research initiative, developing works that are very much defined by their processes of coming-into-being and points of reception. Concomitantly, in recent years there have been a number of exhibitions predicated on the idea of the city as an integral protagonist in the exhibition process, in which artists are invited to develop projects in dialogue with the inhabitants, spaces, cultural milieu, etc., of the host city. Focusing on the notions of collaboration, improvisation, representation, and community, this analysis seeks to scrutinize and question such practices in their layering of both sociopolitical and aesthetic qualities. An analysis of two recent exhibitions: ciudadMULTIPLEcity, Panama City, Panama; and the 9th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey--along with select examples of socially engaged, collaborative public art projects within--will explore the multivalent and ultimately contingent nature of such practices. By making the invisible visible (i.e. social tensions, power dynamics, marginalized groups of individuals), these projects create situations that embody what French philosophers Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe have termed "radical democracy" through the activation of an "agonistic public sphere." Yet, important questions remain: How does one evaluate the success or failure of these works? What is the actual value of such practices, both immediately and in the long-term? For whom are these works valuable? And what are the stakes and claims at the core of these projects? In order to address these questions, I have developed a set of criteria for the evaluation of these types of projects by engaging in the contemporary discourse surrounding socially engaged, collaborative public art practices. The main criteria points include: the relationship between the aesthetic qualities and the sociopolitical mode of address (as I have already mentioned); the issue of ethics; the relationship between artistic autonomy and collaborative modes of production; and finally the point of reception and afterlife of the various projects.