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Master Plan Tour: Artwork

Artwork blooms
sculpture gardens

"Architecture, sculpture, painting, music and poetry may truly be called the efflorescence of civilized life."

Taking the words of Herbert Spencer to heart 140 years after they were put to paper ("Essays on Education"), the university decided that architecture that makes a statement needs to be complemented by sculpture that makes a statement. Consequently, UC is hosting a pretty nice dialogue right now.

There is a Magdalena Abakanowicz at CCM, a Joel Shapiro on University Commons and a Kenneth Snelson waiting for exhibit space to open up in the plaza above Zimmer Hall. The Master Plan architectural program is expanding the University of Cincinnati's Fine Arts Collection with important works of contemporary sculpture like these.

Through Ohio's One-Percent-For-Art Fund, UC has recently purchased or commissioned several sculptural works that complement new campus buildings and open space projects. The fund takes its name from the amount of money Ohio reserves for a new piece of artwork for a state building: one percent of the cost of its construction.

Each new sculpture choice is the result of a careful selection process, explains Anne Timpano, director of the DAAP Galleries and administrator of the university's Fine Arts Collection. "Usually the architects have a list of the nature or kinds of work that would be compatible with each building or open space," Timpano explains. "Artists are invited to submit images of their work, and our committee tries to identify those who meet the criteria."

In addition to the artists named, UC's growing sculpture collection includes works by Terry Allen (Vontz Center), James Carpenter and Sam Gilliam (CCM), Tim Prentice (Cardio Research Center), George Rickey (University Commons) and Nam June Paik (DAAP).

Timpano also is charged with the care of campus sculptures after they are installed. Last fall she brought in a professional conservator to clean the Fine Arts Collection's outdoor pieces, especially those that had not been treated for several years. An annual service schedule of maintenance is now in place.

Photo/courtesy UC Fine Arts Collection


These artists and their work in the UC Fine Arts Collection are described in the special issue Rebirth of the Campus of Horizons Online March 2000:

Magdalena Abakanowicz

Terry Allen

James Carpenter

Sam Gilliam

Nam June Paik

Tim Prentice

George Rickey

Joel Shapiro

Kenneth Snelson's Web site


Herman Henry Wessel's "Jamming Barges Under the Suspension Bridge," a gift of the Class of 1920

Herman Henry Wessel's "Jamming Barges Under the Suspension Bridge," a gift of the Class of 1920

UC Fine Arts Collection

Early 20th century paintings find a new home

Two enormous oil paintings in Baldwin Hall on West Campus almost became homeless, because of building renovations in 1999. Meanwhile, UC's new office building on East Campus had some big empty walls. Then East met West, and the triptychs, each approximately 13 feet wide, became stars of a "Highlights from the University of Cincinnati Art Collection" exhibit at University Hall.

"These early 20th century paintings seem to complement the space, and the space seems to complement the paintings," explains Anne Timpano, director of DAAP Galleries and administrator of the UC Fine Arts Collection. Along with James Roy Hopkins' "Friends (Nancy and Ruth)" and Evgeny Lanceray's "Daghestan Types -- Cossacks," the three-panel masterpieces may be seen at University Hall through December 2001.

Both of the triptychs were created by artists with Cincinnati ties. Herman Henry Wessel's "Jamming Barges Under the Suspension Bridge," [above] a gift to UC from the Class of 1920, offers a panoramic view of Cincinnati's skyline from beneath the Roebling suspension bridge. Wessel taught drawing, painting and anatomy at the Art Academy of Cincinnati for 40 years.

The other triptych, "Three Landscapes," shows a trio of tranquil scenes of the Massachusetts countryside by Lewis Henry Meakin, who studied art at UC's McMicken School of Design and later joined the Art Academy faculty. This painting was a gift to the university from the Civil Engineering Class of 1918.

The UC Fine Arts Collection now numbers approximately 4,000 items. In addition to paintings, there are prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, furniture, ceramics and decorative arts, representing cultures from ancient to modern times. Art produced in Cincinnati, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is a particular strength of the collection.

Lewis Henry Meakin's "Three Landscapes."

Lewis Henry Meakin's "Three Landscapes."