Big Diamond, the new 16-by-23-foot COR-TEN steel sculpture, has evoked a wide range of responses from members of the University of Miami community since its recent placement on the University Green by the Richter Library.
“It’s a remarkable piece,” said Brian Dursum, the director and chief curator of the Lowe Art Museum. “The elements of the sculpture, all contained within a broad rectangle, appear to hover in space while framing the surrounding environment.”
The sculpture is the creation of renowned sculptor Joel Perlman, whose works have been featured in some of the country’s top museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Due to the efforts of the UM Public Sculpture Committee, the university now boasts almost 30 sculptures on the Coral Gables campus, one of the largest collections of outdoor sculptures in the area. All of the works, according to Dursum, have been acquired by the university through the generosity of donors.
This particular sculpture is a donation from the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation.
Despite its acclaim in the art community, the sculpture has caused mixed reactions from the student community since its arrival at UM.
“It’s not very visually appealing,” junior Aileen Schefer said. “I think that the sculpture doesn’t fit with the look and feel of the campus.”
Sam Mendelson, a senior, disagreed.
“It adds to the area,” Mendelson said. “Miami is about new modern art, as seen with Britto’s eye popping art. This sculpture adds this similar component to the UM community.”
Romero Britto is an artist that combines cubism, pop art and graffiti. His artwork is featured prominently around town, including the giant aluminum sculpture at Dadeland Station.
Dursum, who also heads the Campus Public Sculpture Committee, does not agree with the dissatisfied students, but he does sympathize with them.
“It is a little disconcerting when a student returns, and when they left nothing was there and then they come back and see this very, very large piece sort of looming there,” he said.
Perri Lee Roberts, the senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and an art historian who sits on the Campus Public Sculpture Committee, does not sympathize with these students.
“Perhaps if students learned a bit more about modern sculpture, they would appreciate it more,” she said.
Pietra Veloce, an 8-by-16-foot steel and slate sculpture, was installed on the campus green by the Ferre building last Saturday. The sculpture is by famed Miami-born artist Ralph Provisero and is a gift of Francien Ruwitch.
More sculptures will soon dot the Coral Gables campus.
Ascension/Descension, a painted steel sculpture made up of two connecting triangles of unequal and simplistic design, is planned to be installed on the campus green by the beginning of the fall semester, according to Dursum.
The sculpture, which is by artist Beverly Pepper, is a donation from the B. Carlin Foundation.
The last sculpture currently planned for the campus green is Tony Rosenthal’s Barbell, an abstract sculpture of geometric form, which appears similar to that of a giant dumbbell. This sculpture is also a gift of the B. Carlin Foundation.