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
  • Error

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

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 on Thursdays during the regular academic year.