Landmarks today announced two significant additions: the recent acquisition of Marc Quinn’s 2013 sculpture, Spiral of the Galaxy, to be unveiled on 24 October 2016; and the commission of O N E E V E R Y O N E, a community-based photography project by Ann Hamilton (January 2017). Both works will be installed at the university’s Dell Medical School and are funded through a percent-for-art allocation that sets aside one-to-two percent of capital improvement projects for the acquisition of public art.
“Adding Marc Quinn and Ann Hamilton to the diverse roster of artists represented by Landmarks is an honor,” said Andrée Bober, the founding director of the program. “Quinn’s biomorphic sculpture and Hamilton’s intimate portraits complement each other in unexpected ways. Both wrestle with bigger ideas about the human form and healing, making them ideally suited for the new Dell Medical School.”
Marc Quinn’s artistic practice is preoccupied with the mutability of the body and the dualisms that define human life: spiritual and physical, surface and depth, cerebral and sexual. Spiral of the Galaxy, Quinn’s seven-ton bronze sculpture, was first shown at an exhibition of the artist’s work in 2013 at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice, Italy. Landmarks’ acquisition was cast as the artist’s proof alongside an edition of three, and it will be the only example of the piece in the United States. Placed at the gateway to the Dell Medical School, the monumental sculpture depicts an elegant conch shell. The conch carries cultural and religious significance, and among many interpretations can be construed here as a complex structure that protects delicate organisms.
Ann Hamilton engaged in a three-part residency for Landmarks to create portraits of local community members. Her images evoke the human form, touch, and the care and attention of healers. During each residency, she photographed volunteers through a semi-transparent membrane that renders in focus only what touches the surface and softly blurs the gestures and outlines of the sitters. The optical quality of the material renders touch—something felt more than seen—visible. The life of every citizen will intersect with the health care system and these portraits include caregivers, faculty, students, staff, community partners, civic leaders and patients themselves.
Hamilton will select around two dozen portraits to install in the new Center for Health Learning and Center for Health Discovery buildings in early 2017. Her library of approximately 500 subjects may be used in future buildings of the Dell Medical School as well as in other graphic applications, including a book that contains images of each participant. 10,000 copies will be given to the public, and portraits will be available to download online for free. With more than 500 portraits taken in various locations across the city, Hamilton’s residency in Austin is the largest O N E E V E R Y O N E series developed to date.
“The University of Texas at Austin is building the first new medical school at a top-tier research university in nearly 50 years, offering the unique opportunity to rethink the role of academic medicine in better serving society’s needs,” said Clay Johnston, inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School. “With unprecedented support from our community, we are creating a medical school for the 21st century that draws upon innovative thinking from across disciplines, from engineering to the arts. Public art that starts conversations and inspires creativity and community connections is vital to the environment we envision.”
The installation of these two works supports Landmarks’ broader strategy to develop an extraordinary public art collection that both enhances the aesthetic character of the campus and supports pedagogy. An ongoing percent-for-art allocation ensures the collection will develop in tandem with the rapid expansion of the campus. With these upcoming additions, Landmarks continues to advance its mission to present iconic works of art that convey the university’s ideals.
In addition to site-specific commissions and acquisitions, Landmarks features 28 mid- to late-20th-century sculptures on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Anthony Caro, Jim Dine, Donald Lipski, Beverly Pepper, Antoine Pevsner, Tony Smith, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. Beyond its aesthetic value, the group demonstrates significant art historical trends from the second half of the 20th century. The collection also fosters learning through its conservation efforts. Landmarks provides technical training for student volunteers who preserve the sculptures, the only known program of its kind in the United States.
Marc Quinn was born in London in 1964. He graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in history and history of art, and subsequently worked as an assistant to the sculptor Barry Flanagan. He is one of the leading artists of his generation, creating sculptures, paintings, and drawings that explore the dynamic between art and science, and the human body relative to perceptions of beauty. Other key subjects include cycles of growth and evolution through topics such as genetics and the manipulation of DNA, as well as issues of life, death, and identity. Quinn’s work uses a broad range of materials, both traditional and unorthodox. The materiality of the object, in both its elemental composition and surface appearance, is at the heart of Quinn’s work.
Ann Hamilton was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1956. She received a BFA in textile design from the University of Kansas in 1979 and an MFA in sculpture from the Yale School of Art in 1985. Ann Hamilton is a visual artist internationally recognized for the sensory surrounds of her large-scale multimedia installations. Using time as process and material, her methods serve as an invocation of place, of collective voice, of communities past and of labor present. Her ephemeral environments create immersive experiences that poetically respond to the architectural presence and social history of their sites.
Photo Credits: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. (L) and Ann Hamilton Studio (R)