Landmarks (The University of Texas at Austin)

Landmarks is the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. Its projects are exhibited throughout the university's 433-acre main campus.

History

Landmarks grew out of a 2005 policy, Art in Public Spaces,[1] that was approved by The University of Texas System Office of the General Counsel and the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The policy set a goal of one to two percent of the capital cost of new construction and major renovations of main campus buildings for the acquisition of public art.

Following the adoption of the policy, Landmarks was established to develop a campus public art collection. Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architects[2] created a Public Art Master Plan[3] in 2007. This plan corresponds to the 1999 César Pelli Campus Master Plan[4] and serves to guide overall public art acquisition and placement. Among many considerations, it proposes the best locations for installations of public art to provide visual anchors at gateways, to accentuate main axis corridors, and to clarify patchy architectural edges.

To establish the program, Landmarks undertook a partnership with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It negotiated a long-term loan of twenty-eight sculptures from the mid– to late–twentieth century, including works by Louise Bourgeois, Tony Smith, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. The Metropolitan sculptures were installed in 2008 and located throughout the university's main campus.

Landmarks was founded by Andrée Bober[5] who leads the program as curator and director. At the official launch in 2008, The New York Times[6] described Landmarks as "poised to become a destination for modern sculpture." The Metropolitan loan established an art historical foundation upon which the university would build its own collection. Landmarks has since supplemented the loan with acquisitions and commissions, including works by artists Beth Campbell, Sol Lewitt, José Parlá, Ann Hamilton, and others.

Artists in the Landmarks Collection

Commissioned artists include: Beth Campbell, Michael Ray Charles, David Ellis, Ann Hamilton, José Parlá, Casey Reas, Ben Rubin, Nancy Rubins, and James Turrell. Works have been acquired by Mark di Suvero, Sol LeWitt, and Marc Quinn. Artists in the Metropolitan Museum of Art long-term sculpture load include: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Willard Boepple, Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Beth Campbell, Anthony Caro, Koren Der Harootian, Jim Dine, Walter Dusenbery, Raoul Hague, Juan Hamilton, David Hare, Hans Hokanson, Bryan Hunt, Frederick Kiesler, Donald Lipski, Seymour Lipton, Bernard Meadows, Robert Murray, Eduardo Paolozzi, Beverly Pepper, Joel Perlman, Antoine Pevsner, Peter Reginato, Ben Rubin, Tony Smith, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Anita Weschler.[7]

James Turrell's Skyspace, The Color Inside

Among Landmarks’ most recognized installations is James Turrell’s Skyspace, The Color Inside. Commissioned by Landmarks in 2013, The Color Inside is a naked-eye observatory sited on the rooftop of the William C. Powers Student Activity Center. Distinctive for its intimate proportions, elegant palette, and brilliant washes of color, the installation can be experienced during specialized light sequences at sunrise and sunset. During these times the sky appears in unimaginable hues. Also available for observation during the day, the Skyspace offers a quiet, contemplative space for the campus and community. The Color Inside is the eighty-fourth Skyspace created by Turrell and one of twelve open to the public in the United States. It is visited by some 60,000 people each year.

Ann Hamilton's O N E E V E R Y O N E

Commissioned by Landmarks in 2017 for the Dell Medical School, Ann Hamilton's O N E E V E R Y O N E features portraits of more than five hundred members of the Austin community. Rooted in the idea that human touch and intimacy are the most essential means of contact and the fundamental expression of physical care, the project welcomed the participation of all who had either provided or received care. O N E E V E R Y O N E took many forms, including photographic enamel panels, a digital image library of 21,000 images, a 2017 exhibition hosted in collaboration with the university's Visual Arts Center, a dedicated project website, 900-page publication, and a newspaper with scholarly essays on the project.

Landmarks Video

Landmarks Video presents some of the most highly regarded and influential works of video art from the past six decades. Each month, the work of one artist is featured in the ART building atrium, located on the corner of East 23rd Street and San Jacinto Boulevard, Austin, Texas.

The series aims to familiarize the university community with important titles, stimulate conversation and research, and situate the genre of video art alongside the presentation of more traditional works. Each video presentation is accompanied by an entry published in the Landmarks Video Archive.

The program was inaugurated in 2010 with the commission of David Ellis' Animal, a motion painting composed of more than 65 thousand still images made by the artist during a six-week residency.

Landmarks Video has featured more than one hundred artists, including: Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Lynda Benglis, Chris Burden, Patty Chang, Cheryl Donegan, Cao Fei, Douglas Gordon, Miranda July, Joan Jonas, Kalup Linzy, Bruce Nauman, Migel Angel Rios, Pipilotti Rist, Carolee Schneemann, Hannah Wilke, and Kara Walker.

Public Programs

Landmarks’ collection provides an array of learning opportunities for campus and community alike. From multidisciplinary collaborations across campus to offering introductory encounters with art for K-12 students, the collection inspires thought and growth for learners of all ages.


Class Tours

Landmarks offers a robust guided tour program that includes both classroom and public tours. Students from all disciplines benefit from specially-tailored class tours as well as companion discussions on historical and contemporary art trends. Participants are encouraged to observe closely, voice their ideas, and consider the viewpoints of others.

Walking, Bike, and Dog Tours

Routine public walking tours are led by volunteer docents. Special bike tours, night tours, and dog tours introduce the Landmarks collection to a broader audience. Private group tours are available upon request. Visitors may also take self-guided tours of the collection at any time, either in person or virtual tours available through Landmarks' online resources.

Classroom Learning

Faculty from across disciplines understand the value of Landmarks’ collection and the unique opportunity that it provides for teaching. The collection has been incorporated into curricula for the College of Natural Sciences, College of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, College of Liberal Arts, and College of Communications, among others.

Online Resources

The Landmarks website includes an informative entry on each work of art along with bibliographic resources, audio guide and activity guides for children and adolescents. A range of videos take a closer look at works in the collection and record artist talks and lectures. The website is also home to Learning with Landmarks, a blog that highlights ways the Landmarks collection is used to facilitate learning. Scoop, another blog series, addresses a variety of topics related to the program and collection.

Landmarks Collection Guide

To further understanding and engagement, Landmarks produces a guide to its collection. The first edition was published in 2015 and an updated and expanded version in 2018 published by The University of Texas Press. The books were widely distributed to schools, across campus, and in the community. Included are entries for the collection, a public art map, and information about Landmarks programs.

Community Partnerships

Community Collaborations

Landmarks partners with many local organizations to present programs that engage broad and diverse communities. Collaborations include plein-air drawing classes held in conjunction with the East Austin Studio Tour, participation in the citywide Austin Museum Day and Art City Austin Festival, and K-12 programming for the university’s annual Explore UT event. In 2018, Landmarks organized a storytelling event with Austin’s Backyard Story Night and the Humanities Institute.

Sound in Sculpture

In addition to a robust tour schedule, Landmarks presents a variety of public programs to enhance understanding and appreciation of the collection. One such program is Sound in Sculpture. Each spring, students from the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music compose and perform original compositions inspired by works of art in the Landmarks collection. The event, which is presented as part of the citywide Fusebox Festival, is free and open to the public. All performances take place at the site of the work of art that inspired each composition.

Conservation and Maintenance

Landmarks ensures each sculpture receives the highest level of care possible. From routine washing and waxing to more complex conservation, each object has a specialized plan for maintenance and preservation. Ongoing tasks such as dusting, washing, oiling, and inpainting make up the majority of conservation efforts. For select works, more specialized treatments have been coordinated, sometimes requiring several years of research and consultation with experts in the field.

Landmarks Preservation Guild

A pioneering volunteer program, the Landmarks Preservation Guild (LPG), was created to meet the challenge of caring for sculptures spread across the university’s vast campus. Distinct among university-based public art programs, the LPG is a committed group of volunteers who contribute their time to monitor each work of art and perform basic conservation and maintenance tasks. Student volunteers come from many fields of study with the majority from art, art history, architectural preservation, and art education. LPG students are motivated by the opportunity to gain first-hand experience with great works of art and to contribute to the preservation of the collection for future generations.

Awards

2019

Public Art Network Year in Review, Americans for the Arts, Winner for José Parlá, Amistad América.

2018

Public Art Network Year in Review, Americans for the Arts, Winner for Ann Hamilton, O N E E V E R Y O N E.

CODAawards, Winner, Education for Ann Hamilton, O N E E V E R Y O N E.

CODAawards Top 100, for José Parlá, Amistad América.

2016

CODAawards, Winner, Public Spaces for James Turrell, The Color Inside.

Austin Critics Table Awards, Nomination, Work of Art: Installation for Michael Ray Charles, (Forever Free) Ideas, Languages and Conversations.

2015

Public Art Network Year in Review, Americans for the Arts, Winner for Casey Reas, A Mathemetical Theory of Communication.

Best of Austin, The Austin Chronicle, Best New Public Sculpture for Nancy Rubins, Monochrome for Austin.

Best of Austin, The Austin Chronicle, Best Zen Inducing Art Installation, for James Turrell, The Color Inside.

CODAvideo Awards, Winner, Concept for Casey Reas, A Mathematical Theory of Communication.

Austin Critics Table Awards, Flight of Fancy Special Citation Award for Nancy Rubins, Monochrome for Austin.

CODAvideo Awards, Top 100 for Sol LeWitt, Circle with Towers and Wall Drawing #520.

CODAawards, Merit Winner, Public Spaces for Nancy Rubins, Monochrome for Austin.

CODAvideo Awards, Top 100 for Nancy Rubins, Monochrome for Austin.

CODAvideo Awards, Top 100 for James Turrell, The Color Inside.

Communicator Awards, Winner, Gold, Websites - Art for Landmarks Website.

Horizon Interactive Awards, Winner, Gold, Websites - School/University for Landmarks Website.

W3 Awards, Winner, Gold, Cultural Institutions for Landmarks Website.

Communicator Awards, Winner, Silver, Websites - Cultural Institution for Landmarks Website.

Davey Awards, Winner, Silver, Websites - Cultural Institution for Landmarks Website.

Davey Awards, Winner, Silver, Websites - Schools/Universities for Landmarks Website.

W3 Awards, Winner, Silver, School/University for Landmarks Website.

2014

Public Art Network Year in Review, Americans for the Arts, Winner for James Turrell, The Color Inside.

2013

Best of Austin, The Austin Chronicle, Best Visionary Change on the 40 Acres for Landmarks.

Public Art Network Year in Review, Americans for the Arts, Winner for Ben Rubin, And That's The Way It Is.

CODAawards, Winner, Public Spaces for Ben Rubin, And That's The Way It Is.

2011

Austin Critics Table Awards, Nomination, Work of Art: Independent or Public Project, David Ellis, Animal.

2009

Interactive Media Awards, Best in Class, Arts/Culture for Landmarks Website.

References

  1. Art in Public Spaces
  2. Peter Walker Partners
  3. Public Art Master Plan Archived 2010-06-11 at the Wayback Machine
  4. César Pelli Campus Master Plan
  5. "Andrée Bober". Andrée Bober. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  6. Carol Vogel, The New York Times, August 1, 2008, Full article
  7. "Collection". LANDMARKS. 2014-10-02. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
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