If you haven’t visited our new building yet, one of the first things you may see is the work on our Great Lawn by acclaimed artist Joseph Havel named “In Play.”
Each sculpture was cast of bronze using a fabric form, confounding the material nature of the sculpture. At first glance, the orbs appear heavy and dense as traditional bronze sculptures. In fact, their hollow and intricate construction challenges your expectations, where upon closer inspection detailed traces of the original cloth and lace forms are apparent on the surface. The surface patinas were applied with both hot and cold coats of patina. The darker orbs were buffed to reveal flashes of their metallic base surfaces while the white orbs remained untouched. They were then coated with two layers of a sealer, a matting agent, and, finally waxed to protect their surfaces.
The sculptures are in dialogue in two groupings, one on the southwest corner and the other on the northeast corner of the lawn. The sculptures convey a lightness in their positioning; they appear to hover over the grass, as if they could be easily nudged or rolled. “In Play,” made possible by the generosity of Leslie ’65 and Brad Bucher ’69, invites intimate inspection, contemplation and a rethinking of the ideas sculpture can communicate.
Mr. Havel’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and Europe, and is in the collections of many museums, including the Pompidou Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. In 1987, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowship, and in 1995 he received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Artist’s Fellowship. Mr. Havel lives and works in Houston, and is director of the Glassell School of Art. He also holds a B.F.A. from the University of Minnesota and a M.F.A. from Pennsylvania State University.
Watch Mr. Havel’s interview below and we encourage you to take your own look at this fascinating work on our lawn.