Campus Life, News

Sculptures shape landscape aesthetics

In the last 10 years, curious-looking works of art have been sprouting up on campus.

Whether their aesthetic merit is appreciated or not, no one can deny that they appear expensive. This then begs the question, how much of students’ tuition dollars are actually funding these sculptures?

Technically, none. All sculptures are donated.

However, it’s not that simple. Time and money goes into maintaining this outdoor sculpture garden.

From working with the donor to picking a sculpture’s spot on campus and determining how often it should be re-painted, Brian Dursum, director of the Lowe Art Museum, is at the helm.

“Even though the artworks are donated, we still have to transport the piece, engineer a site-specific base, and plan regular upkeep to maintain it properly,” he said. “It ends up costing a lot of money. That’s why we no longer accept borrowed pieces.”

Currently there are 31 pieces exhibited throughout the 239 acres of the Coral Gables campus.

From the geometric steel giants dispersed around the University Green, to the marble Chinese lion-dogs near the School of Business and the inconspicuous limestone statue of a crouched human on the far northwest corner of Lake Osceola, the collection consists of diverse works, featuring local, national and international artists, whose expertise ranges from the more well-known to those that are emerging.

In 2001, President Donna E. Shalala arrived with experience from Hunter College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, schools with impressive outdoor sculpture portfolios. Shalala was more artistically-conscious than her predecessors.

“Shalala arrived and saw these sculptures and thought it could be more interesting to spread them out away from the museum,” Dursum said.

The oldest sculptures were acquired in 1970 as part of the Esso collection from Latin America. The whimsical, corroded-green bronze of the windswept woman is now outside the Memorial Classroom Building. The other, more abstract and angular sculpture, is made of porous stone and tucked away in the Physics Quadrangle.

Today, more than two dozen sculptures have been added around campus. Each sculpture is strategically positioned in optimal public places, to not only benefit students, but also allow art aficionados in the community the chance to partake in it, too.

Collection highlights include the jagged circle of steel outside the McArthur Building and the equally enormous rectangular steel frame on the Green, both by Joel Perlman. According to his website, the majority of Perlman’s works cost more than $25,000.

On any given afternoon, on the hill leading from the Rock to Merrick, there will usually be a student sitting on the black “Barbell”, a work of art-turned-bench by Tony Rosenthal. With class notes spread out, or maybe just sitting in the shade during a break, these students are oblivious that they are resting on possibly the priciest seat on campus.

“I’m not sure whether I’m allowed to sit on it or not. I see people on it a lot though,” junior Bessie Nolan said as she walked past it. “Is it a bench or is it art? I don’t know.”

March 6, 2013

Reporters

Jess Swanson


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Hurricanes have become part of college football’s national conversation, and the more wins they ...

Kicker Michael Badgley will soon become the University of Miami’s all-time field goal leader. In the ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt called Darrell Langham’s amazing, 28-yard catch on fourth-and-1 ...

Darrell Langham is 6-4, but might as well be 8-4 — that’s how much he has grown in stature for the M ...

The Miami Hurricanes have done it again. For the second week in a row, the Canes rallied to win in t ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

A summer 2017 excursion unlike any other united a group of University of Miami students and faculty ...

Hurricanes legends Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Warren Sapp and Sean Taylor were officially ad ...

University of Miami wide receiver Darrell Langham and kicker Michael Badgley were among those recogn ...

University of Miami redshirt setter Haley Templeton was named ACC Player of the Week, the conference ...

Freshman Bojan Jankulovski highlighted Day 2 competition on Saturday for the University of Miami men ...

The University of Miami's football game at North Carolina on Oct. 28 will kick off at noon ET o ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.