Press Release - 4 March 2011

Sol LeWitt’s Circle with Towers Acquired by The University of Texas at Austin

AUSTIN, Texas—The concrete block structure Circle with Towers by Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) has been purchased by Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin, from the Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York.

Circle with Towers will grace the entrance to the new Dell Computer Science Hall and the Bill and Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex currently under construction on the east side of Speedway between 21st and 24th Streets. The unveiling of the work will coincide with the opening of the computer science complex in September 2012. This work will join Landmarks’ permanent collection of public art on the main campus.

“LeWitt’s structure will serve not only as an object in its own right but also as a new place that will allow students to interact with the Computer Science environment in a way that is informal and was nonexistent before,” says Andrew Houston, member of the Faculty Building Advisory Committee and architecture and urban studies undergraduate. “It will be a focal point of intellectual debate and exploration—both of its embodied ideas and its physical presence.”

The structure is made of concrete blocks that form a twenty-five-foot-diameter ring, which is intersected by fourteen-foot-high towers at equal intervals. It represents the modular structures and simple, geometric forms for which LeWitt is acclaimed. He pioneered the development of Minimalism and Conceptual art in the 1960s and 1970s. His ideas value concept over expression, and the execution of his work invites artistic collaboration.

“There are few opportunities to acquire works of this caliber,” says Andrée Bober, Landmarks director. “This powerful example of LeWitt’s renowned serial structures complements the university’s purpose and its public art collection perfectly. He redefined traditional concepts about the ways in which art is produced, and I expect his ingenuity will inspire many generations of students to think in new ways.”

Circle with Towers is one of Sol LeWitt’s last works,” says John R. Clarke, professor of art history and member of the Landmarks Advisory Committee. “It represents the culmination of his desire to communicate the rigor of his conceptual art in a ‘user friendly’ way. A viewer can enjoy the work at many levels: from its abstract form to its reality as a social gathering place. It draws viewers into its subtle but complex geometry by engaging their spatial responses.”

The artist donated Circle with Towers in 2005 to the Madison Square Park Conservancy for the sole purpose of establishing a permanent endowment to support the exhibition of artists’ work in Madison Square Park.

Debbie Landau, president of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, said, “We are proud that Circle with Towers will join the Landmarks collection. It is so gratifying to know that Sol LeWitt’s beautiful structure will be understood and enjoyed by the public.”

Sol LeWitt’s work has been exhibited at hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide. Retrospective exhibitions have been held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Tate Gallery, London.

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