Computer Science and Sol LeWitt: A Friendship

If you’ve journeyed across campus for years, works in the Landmarks collection have probably stopped you in your tracks at least once or twice. We hope that incoming students will navigate campus with words like “just past the red Clock Knot ” or “outside of the Turrell Skyspace”. One department on campus has been celebrating works in the Landmarks collection in clever ways. The Department of Computer Sciences in the new Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex has been appreciating and having fun with two works by Sol LeWitt, a pioneer of minimal and conceptual art.

For Wall Drawing #520 LeWitt conceived of a large three-wall drawing that layers red, yellow, blue, and gray ink-washes in alternating patterns to achieve an endless assortment of hues. Situated on the ground floor of the building, the drawing is seen daily by students meandering the halls. If you’ve been in the building you’ve probably seen it, along with the concrete structure by Sol LeWitt at the east entrance entitled Circle with Towers. Happily, this piece has become an impromptu icon for the department, showing up on t-shirts and internal collateral. Here are two of our favorites:

According to Patti Spencer, Associate Chair and Director of Operations for the department: “I have to admit, I was a skeptic about Circle with Towers at first, but as I have seen it from various heights and various angles, it always looks different, fresh, and interesting. The Sol LeWitt pieces enrich my working life daily. Living for hours a day with these pieces is such a consistently positive and pleasurable experience that it lifts my spirits.” Having the support of the departments’ administration is a point of pride for Landmarks, but we are over the moon that Circle with Towers has been so meaningful to the students.

In the fall you’ll have another reason to visit the computer science complex. Landmarks will install two wall murals by new media artist, Casey Reas. Reas builds systems using code to fabricate imagined worlds and synthetic images. We anticipate these dynamic abstractions to engage the departments’ faculty, staff, and students while they are sure to dazzle those of us who are slightly less technologically inclined. Stay tuned for more on Casey Reas.