The corner of 24th and Speedway will look quite a bit different in January! Landmarks will acquire a site-specific work by contemporary sculptor Nancy Rubins for the newly constructed Norman Hackerman Building. The sculpture will incorporate about seventy aluminum canoes and small boats, creating a visual fixture along the Speedway corridor.
Rubins is distinguished in her ability to transform industrial, mass-produced objects into physically commanding sculptures of a dramatic scale. The LA Times says works in the current exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in New York “imply the possibility of infinite expansion.” The piece for Landmarks will share design elements with Monochrome for Paris at l’Université Paris Diderot and Monochrome for Chicago in the city’s Gateway Park. “Ms. Rubins is basically an outdoor sculptor, and outside is probably the best setting for her version of uncanny California Pop”, says NY Times critic Martha Schwendener.
In January, the artist and her crew will use a large crane and miles of cable to assemble a sculpture out of repurposed aluminum canoes and boats. Rubins will come to Austin with a general understanding of how the piece will grow but she’ll tinker with each component individually until she is happy with its placement. The six-week installation will offer fascinating insight into the artist’s creative process. Last May, Rubins visited campus to finalize details with The University of Texas at Austin operations and gave us the official thumbs-up of the proposed site!
A native Texan, Rubins was raised in Tullahoma, Tennessee, received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and her MFA from the University of California, Davis. Rubins taught at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1982 to 2004 and currently resides in Topanga, California. This project will represent the first commission of a large-scale sculpture by a female artist for the Austin main campus and the Landmarks collection. Rubins’ sculpture, like all of her works, will be scaled appropriately for the site and offer an organic contrast to the character of the surrounding architecture.