Landmarks (University of Texas at Austin)

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Landmarks is the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. Its projects are exhibited throughout the university's main campus and are principally concentrated east of Guadalupe Street, south of 27th Street, west of IH-35, and north of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Austin, Texas. Visitation is free to the public.

History[edit]

Landmarks grew out of a 2005 policy statement, Art in Public Spaces,[1] that was approved by The University of Texas System Office of the General Counsel and the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The policy set a goal of 1 to 2 percent of the capital cost of new construction and major renovations of main campus buildings be allocated for public art. Following the adoption of this policy, Landmarks was established in order to facilitate developing a campus public art collection. It worked with Peter Walker Partners[2] to create a Public Art Master Plan[3] in 2007. This plan corresponds to the 1999 César Pelli Campus Master Plan[4] and serves to guide overall public art acquisition and placement. Among many considerations, it proposes the best locations for installations of public art to provide visual anchors at gateways, to accentuate main axis corridors, and to clarify patchy architectural edges.

Initiatives[edit]

Landmarks undertook a partnership with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It negotiated a long-term loan of twenty-eight sculptures from the mid-to-late twentieth century, including works by Louise Bourgeois, Tony Smith, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. The sculptures were installed in 2008 and established an art historical foundation upon which the university began to build its own collection. The Metropolitan sculptures are intended to be on exhibit indefinitely and are currently located throughout the main campus. With the Met loan, the university’s 360-acre (1.5 km2) main campus is “poised to become a destination for modern sculpture,” according to The New York Times.[5]

The second initiative aim to bring public art to campus with major building renovations and new construction projects. Funding for this initiative comes from a percent-for-art allocation.

The third Landmarks initiative draws upon philanthropic gifts to improve shared public spaces. Private support finances campus-wide priorities such as gateways, medians, malls, corridors, and other areas not associated with specific building projects. Public art in these shared spaces creates focal points and develops overlooked areas on campus.

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