Background

Landmarks is the award-winning public art program of The University of Texas at Austin, and one of the most important public art programs at an American university. Its collection of 40 modern and contemporary works are by some of the most prominent and promising artists of our time. Presented throughout the 433-acre main campus are pieces by Michael Ray Charles, Mark di Suvero, Sol LeWitt, Marc Quinn, Casey Reas, Ben Rubin, Nancy Rubins, and James Turrell. A project by Ann Hamilton will be unveiled in 2017 at the university’s Dell Medical School. Founding director Andrée Bober curates the collection and oversees a vibrant range of programs that support scholarship and learning.

Landmarks launched in 2008 when it secured the historic, ongoing loan of 28 modern and contemporary sculptures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Displayed across campus, the group includes major works by Louise Bourgeois, Beverly Pepper, Tony Smith, and Ursula von Rydingsvard, among others. By demonstrating significant art historical trends from the second half of the twentieth century, the sculptures provide primary material for the study of visual art while enhancing the campus landscape.

In 2010, Landmarks Video began screening influential video art from the past five decades in a series that features a different artist every month. A few highlights include videos by Marina Abramović and Charles Atlas, John Baldesarri, Patty Chang, David Ellis, Cao Fei, Kate Gilmore, Ana Mendieta, Kent Monkman, Miguel Ángel Rojas, Markus Schinwald, and Richard Serra. Each presentation is accompanied by original scholarship and many titles are made available at the university’s Fine Arts Library.

A significant program that fosters learning through conservation is the Landmarks Preservation Guild. It provides opportunities for student volunteers to learn the basics of object conservation, including how to examine, monitor, and maintain works of art. Students receive specialized training from conservators and apply their lessons to preserve the collection. The Landmarks Preservation Guild is the only known program of its kind in the United States. 

Broadly accessible and free to all, Landmarks provides opportunities for students and visitors to engage with outstanding works of public art. Visitors learn about the collection from essays, bibliographies, maps, children’s activity guides, and videos. A range of free public tours are also available, from self-guided audio tours to walking and bike tours led by trained student docents.

Landmarks’ acquisitions are funded through a percent-for-art program for building projects on campus, ensuring the continued growth of the collection.  Placements are guided by a Public Art Master Plan developed with Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architects and works are chosen according to selection criteria which include historical and artistic merit.

By bringing great art to The University of Texas at Austin, Landmarks enriches the lives of students and visitors, engaging thousands of people every day.

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