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

About Author

Jess Swanson


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The University of Miami quarterback corps is deep in numbers but shallow in experience. The battle c ...

Freshmen anyone? Mark Richt sounds like he’s liking these three early-enrollee true freshmen a whole ...

The University of Miami completed Day Three of spring football on Saturday, and as soon as practice ...

Myron Rolle is ready to take his game from the football field to the operating table. Those precious ...

University of Miami middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman’s ultimate goal has always been the same: ...

A conversation with Belén Garijo and Felicia Marie Knaul. ...

Nova Southeastern University’s Jacqueline A. Travisano will be UM’s Executive Vice President for Bus ...

U.S. Trust will provide advisory services for UM’s long-term growth portfolio. ...

Sir James Galway, Distinguished Presidential Scholar, inspires flute students with his artistry and ...

Activist and community organizer Alicia Garza stresses the need for a richness of ideas to help solv ...

Miami redshirt freshman David Dinsmore won the NCAA national championship in the men's 10-meter ...

The University of Miami track and field program shined in a talented field at the Hurricane Collegia ...

Here's a daily look at what is taking place at Greentree ...

Miami tied for the most hits No. 8 North Carolina has allowed all season, but fell to the host Tar H ...

Miami travels to Louisville, Ky., Sunday at noon to face No. 34 Louisville at the Bass-Rudd Tennis C ...

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.