Dell Medical School to get significant public art

The new Dell Medical School at UT will be the site of two major public art installations, university officials announced today.

Marc Quinn’s sculpture “Spiral of the Galaxy” will be unveiled in September and stand at the gateway to the Dell Medical School.

Ann Hamilton’s community-based photography project O N E E V E R Y O N E” will be installed in the new Center for Health Learning and Center for Health Discovery buildings in early 2017

Both projects are funded through UT’s percent-for-art allocation program started in 2005 that sets aside 1-to-2 percent of capital improvement projects for the acquisition of public art that is overseen by the university’s Landmarks program.

Quinn’s sculpture was purchased for $1.8 million. Hamilton’s project is ongoing and a final cost has not been determined, a Landmarks representative said.

Quinn’s seven-ton bronze conch shell-shaped sculpture debuted at a 2013 exhibit in Venice, Italy, and was later exhibited at Chatsworth House in England. It is part of British artist’s Archaeology of Art series  based on the forms of actual shells which the artist calls “the most perfect pre-existing sculptural ‘readymades’ in our natural world.”

The particular “Spiral” sculpture coming to UT is the artist’s proof alongside an edition of three. It will be the only example of the piece in the United States.


QuinnMarc_SpiralOfTheGalaxy_Sothebys_Spiral of The Galaxy 2013 Chatsworth
Marc Quinn’s ‘Spiral of the Galaxy’ at Chatsworth House 2013. Reproduced by permission of Sotheby’s.


Hamilton project was born out of a three-part residency during which the artist photographed people from Austin using a semi-transparent membrane that renders in focus only what touches the surface and softly blurs the gestures and outlines of the sitters. The optical effect renders the concept of touch as something seen more than something felt.

Volunteers who were photographed included medical school staff and caregivers, faculty, students, arts community members, civic leaders and patients themselves. Hamilton made about 500 portraits two dozen of which will be used for the initial installation.

However the remainder of the images may be used in future buildings of the Dell Medical School as well as in other graphic applications, including a book that contains images of each participant. Plans call for 10,000 copies to be given to the public and the portraits will be available to download online for free.

Dell_Childrens_0985_edit_low_res_DAMIANAnn Hamilton, O N E E V E R Y O N E · Damian, 2017. Courtesy of Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin.

Author: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. She writes about visual art, theater, dance, music, performance, public art, architecture and just about any combination thereof.

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