Beth Campbell

More Information

Project History

Landmarks commissioned two new works by artist Beth Campbell for Dell Medical SchoolHer drawing and corresponding mobile mimic the twists and turns of complex structures such as the human nervous system, an arboreal root system, or social networks. Delicately charting the human condition with all the gravity and humor of real life, Spontaneous future(s), Possible past reveals the interconnectedness of shared experience.

Funding for Spontaneous future(s), Possible past was provided by the capital improvement project for Dell Medical School. Landmarks would like to thank to the following:

Leadership

Darrell Bazzell and Financial and Administrative Services
Andrée Bober and Landmarks
Douglas Dempster and the College of Fine Arts
Gregory Fenves and the Office of the President
Clay Johnston and Dell Medical School
Landmarks Advisory Committee
James Shackleford and the Office of Capital Planning and Construction
Campus Master Planning Committee
David Rea and the Office of Campus Planning and Project Management?

Project Team

Nisa Barger, project manager, Landmarks
Andrée Bober, curator and director, Landmarks
Beth Campbell, artist
Ron Pauley, Page Sutherland Page
Brock Rindahl, Capital Planning and Construction
Vaughn Construction
Vault Fine Art Services
Catherine Williams, Silver Lining Art Conservation

Special Thanks

Kathleen Brady Stimpert, deputy director, Landmarks
Glenn Deaver, Dell Medical School
Deb Duval, event coordinator, Landmarks
Lisa Jones, Dell Medical School
Emma Kirks, operations, Landmarks
Logan Larsen, intern, Landmarks
Jennalie Lyons, development, Landmarks
Marla Martinez, Financial and Administrative Services
Maggie Mitts, collections management, Landmarks
Timothy Morton, curatorial contributor
Ricardo Puemape, Dell Medical School
Danny Lane Russell, design, Landmarks
Stephanie Taparauskas, development, Landmarks
Kate Werble, Kate Werble Gallery
Catherine Zinser, education, Landmarks

Press Highlights

Landmarks at UT Austin Announces New Public Art Commission by Beth Campbell
Brandon Zech, Glasstire, 10 March 2019
"The graphite drawing component of the work, which is from Ms. Campbell’s ongoing series, My Potential Future Based on Present Circumstances, presents possible outcomes — some logical and some absurd — of everyday situations. The work’s second component, a mobile made of steel rods and wires, mimics the forms of Ms. Campbell’s drawings, and also shares visual similarities with veins and nerves winding through the human body."

More public art headed to Dell Medical School
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Sightlines, 6 March 2019
"For the Dell Medical School commission, Campbell’s drawing makes parallels to spontaneous cognition, a newly developing branch of cognitive psychology that explores the random and involuntary thoughts that individuals have about their future. The twisted steel wire mobile that accompanies Campbell’s drawing mimics the complex structure of the human nervous system — and the complex structure of social networks."

Landmarks commissions new work by Beth Campbell
Art Alliance Austin, March 2019
“Beth Campbell’s work delights the eye and stimulates the imagination,” said Andrée Bober, founding director of Landmarks. “It simultaneously investigates and celebrates the human psyche, illuminating our commonalities, our differences, and the relationship between the two.”

Landmarks: Beth Campbell
Austin Chronicle, 12 April 2019 print issue
"Landmarks celebrates the opening of Beth Campbell's newest commission, Spontaneous future(s), Possible past, with an artist Q&A moderated by theorist Timothy Morton."

Landmarks presents "Spontaneous future(s), Possible past" opening reception
CultureMap Austin, March 2019
"Landmarks will present the unveiling of "Spontaneous future(s), Possible past," with a public talk featuring New York City-based artist Beth Campbell in conversation with Timothy Morton, the Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University and contemporary philosopher whose work explores the intersection of object-oriented thought and ecological studies."

Press Release - 5 March 2019

Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin, commissions new work by Beth Campbell

Opening April 2019, commission will include sculptural mobile and drawing for the Health Transformation Building at Dell Medical School

AUSTIN, Texas—Landmarks will unveil a new installation by New York City-based artist Beth Campbell on April 11, 2019. The site-specific commission, titled Spontaneous future(s), Possible past, comprises a mobile and companion graphite drawing. Both works will be sited at Dell Medical School’s Health Transformation Building at The University of Texas at Austin.

The commission was initiated by Landmarks, one of the most important public art programs to emerge at an American university. On view throughout Austin’s 433-acre main campus, the collection includes commissions and acquisitions of works by artists such as Michael Ray Charles, Ann Hamilton, Sol LeWitt, Marc Quinn, Ben Rubin, Nancy Rubins, and James Turrell. In addition, Landmarks presents 28 sculptures on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, featuring works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Louise Bourgeois, Tony Smith, and Ursula von Rydingsvard, among others. Its collection is broadly accessible and free to all, providing opportunities for students and visitors to engage with great art. 

“Beth Campbell’s work delights the eye and stimulates the imagination,” said Andrée Bober, founding director of Landmarks. “It simultaneously investigates and celebrates the human psyche, illuminating our commonalities, our differences, and the relationship between the two.”

The commission for Landmarks is rooted in Campbell’s ongoing drawing series begun in 1999—My Potential Future Based on Present Circumstances—which seeks to give physical shape to imagined futures or parallel lives, and which was informed by the artist’s interest in rhizomatic structures, circuit boards, early virtual worlds and a move to New York City. The text-based drawing for Landmarks, the first that Campbell has made in this series in a decade, draws parallels to spontaneous future cognition, a newly developing branch of cognitive psychology that explores the random and involuntary thoughts that individuals have about their future. Campbell begins each work by considering a seemingly mundane or relatable moment from her everyday life—i.e. “I just sat on my brand-new glasses while getting into the car” or “I need to buy a new pillow.” She then uses gestural lines to diagram a flowchart of possible outcomes unfolding from the event, ranging from fantastic to tragic. Like neural networks, the drawings branch out in linear fashion, accumulating narrative tentacular strands that chronicle various possibilities embedded in our lives, resulting from choice or coincidence, exposing the psychological states of the mind and questioning our own relationship to the future.    

Campbell’s mobiles extend her potential future drawings into three-dimensional space, expanding her thought process and hypothetical considerations into repeated forms that mirror one another like speculative visualizations of possibility. Referred to by the artist as “drawings in space,” the mobiles are hand made of steel wire. They mimic the twists and turns of complex structures such as the human nervous system, an arboreal root system or social networks.

Delicately charting the human condition with all the gravity and humor of real life, Campbell’s new drawing and mobile for Dell Med reveals the interconnectedness of shared experience.

Campbell’s works join other Landmarks pieces on display within Dell Med’s buildings, including Seymour Lipton’s sculptures Pioneer, Catacombs, and Guardian; Marc Quinn’s Spiral of the Galaxy; and Ann Hamilton’s photographic portrait series, O N E E V E R Y O N E.

Download Press Release.

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