Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin,
Announces New Commission by Sarah Oppenheimer Opening this Fall
Austin, Texas — Landmarks announced today the commission of a major new work by Sarah Oppenheimer. The Artist creates precise forms that alter the built environment and shift our frames of spatial reference. The commission, titled C-010106, comprises a pair of dynamic apertures inserted into a pedestrian footbridge. Glass volumes transect the bridge’s surface, creating new sightlines that generate unexpected social exchange, displace our experience of inside and out, and invert our sense of what is near and far. C-010106 will be unveiled this fall and was recently announced as the recipient of a $20,000 NEA grant.
This commission marks Oppenheimer’s first entirely outdoor public work and is among the artist’s largest to date. The work is sited on the footbridge connecting the Engineering Education and Research Center (EERC) to the new Gary L. Thomas Energy Engineering Building (GLT), both designed by Ennead Architects with Jacobs. C-010106 consists of a pair of voids bounded by four panes of glass: two sloped planes are sandwiched between two vertical sheets. By precisely orienting the glass through an incision in the bridge’s surface, the work produces intimate and unexpected views between the footbridge occupants and the pathway beneath. Reflected and refracted sightlines transform the inhabitants’ navigation of place, intermingling unexpected social encounters with a heightened awareness of the shared environment.
“We’re working with an inventor who questions everything,” said Landmarks Founding Director and Curator Andrée Bober. “Oppenheimer draws scientists and engineers into a journey that is driven by curiosity. I can’t think of a more apt place for this work than the center of innovation and discovery at the Cockrell School of Engineering.”
“C-010106 is a catalyst: it reconfigures social patterns emerging within the flux of public place. I am eager to see the piece animated by intimate exchanges passing through and around its contours,” said Oppenheimer.
Landmarks is one of the foremost public art programs at an American university. It launched in 2008 with a long-term loan of 28 sculptures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Displayed across UT Austin’s 433-acre campus are works by Beverly Pepper, Tony Smith, and Ursula von Rydingsvard, among others. Building upon this foundation and supported by a percent-for-art program, Landmarks has acquired or commissioned 18 works by artists including Michael Ray Charles, Ann Hamilton, José Parlá, Nancy Rubins, and James Turrell. The collection and related public programs expand opportunities for equitable engagement with art.
“Sarah has developed an extremely thoughtful concept that challenges our perceptions and uses materials in an innovative manner,” said Sharon L. Wood, dean of the Cockrell School. “The fusion of art and engineering creates an exciting opportunity for our community, and I believe C-010106 will inspire future generations of Texas Engineering students to think creatively about technical challenges.”
ABOUT SARAH OPPENHEIMER
Sarah Oppenheimer (b. 1972, Austin, Texas; lives and works in New York City) received a BA from Brown University in 1995 and an MFA from Yale University in 1999. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2020); MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts (2019); the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (2017); the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida (2016); MUDAM: Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg (2016); and Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz, Switzerland (2014). She is a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship (2011–12), Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (2009), and Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2007). Oppenheimer is currently a senior critic at the Yale University School of Art. On August 28, 2021, the solo museum exhibition Sarah Oppenheimer: Sensitive Machine will open at the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College.
Landmarks is the award-winning public art program of The University of Texas at Austin and the College of Fine Arts. Landmarks’ collection of modern and contemporary art celebrates diverse perspectives, featuring commissioned projects alongside sculptures on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Landmarks inspires thought and growth by making great art free and accessible to all. For more information: landmarksut.org
ABOUT THE COCKRELL SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
The Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has been a global leader in technology advancement and engineering education for more than a century. Texas Engineering has launched some of the nation’s most accomplished industry and academic leaders and pioneered world-changing solutions in virtually every industry, from space exploration to energy and health care. For more information: www.engr.utexas.edu