Are you wondering about that red horse sculpture in the atrium of the A.C.E.S. Building that peers at you through the glass west entrance as you walk by on your way to class? Or maybe you are curious about the shiny black sculpture in the middle of the PCL lobby that you want to jump on and slide down every time you pass it?
Well if you are, then you are in luck, because I am here to tell you a little bit about why they are here.
And if you aren’t familiar with these specific pieces, then the odds are that you are still wondering about any of the other 26 seemingly random works of art placed all around campus.
These 28 mid- to late-twentieth-century sculptures are on long-term loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The first group was installed in September 2008 and the second in January 2009 as part of the university’s public art program called Landmarks.
Landmarks, which was launched in 2008, is the first program in the university’s history to develop a collection of public art from a curatorial perspective. Its projects beautify the campus and engage visitors and the university community with art of the highest quality.
“This important loan of sculptures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art will enrich our campus,” said William Powers Jr., current president of The University of Texas at Austin, in 2008, when the plan was announced. “It will demonstrate the value we place on art and creativity as manifestations of the human spirit. We are extremely pleased to bring this superb collection to our university and our community.”
While these sculpture have been a part of the campus for over a year now, many students, especially new ones, are still very curious about them.
“It is incredibly unique,” said junior Stewart Keltner about having the sculptures as a part of The Forty Acres. “I still haven’t seen all of the works, but it’s a goal of mine.”
The loan includes the works of such internationally renowned artists as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Anthony Caro, Jim Dine, Donald Lipski, Beverly Pepper, Antoine Pevsner, Tony Smith, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. Several education programs accompany the loan, including a free audio tour podcast and family and teacher resource guides.
By bringing great works of public art to the main campus, Landmarks records our history, builds community, and creates a sense of place, now and for future generations.
So take some time, if you haven’t yet, and check out some of these special pieces!