Georgia Tech Welcomes Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition

Students, faculty and staff taking their usual route across the Georgia Tech campus noticed something different this week: large-scale outdoor sculptures are popping up everywhere.

"Big Red Tumkin" by Verina Baxter
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Located in the Noonan Courtyard, west of the Klaus Advanced Computing Building. (Image courtesy of Rebecca Oyler)

The 12 sculptures installed last week are part of "Engineered Art: An International Sculpture Exhibit at Georgia Tech," a 15-piece international exhibition by various artists that is on loan to the Institute until June 2014. Three more sculptures will be installed during the next few weeks, including a soaring 50-foot steel piece titled “La Tour” by the internationally acclaimed, Chattanooga-based sculptor John Henry, who also is the curator for the exhibition.

Henry is known for his large-scale public sculptures. Since the early 1970s, he has produced monumental works of art for museums, cities, and public institutions across the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Henry’s style has been described as “huge, welded steel drawings.” He arranges linear and rectilinear elements that appear to defy gravity. Many of his works suggest a snapshot of arrested motion, where flying or tumbling elements are frozen.

As the sculptures were being installed, students stopped to ask Henry questions. “A number of students asked ‘what does it do?,’” said Henry. “That’s an interesting question because people usually ask ‘what is it?’”

The location of each sculpture was chosen to complement Georgia Tech’s lush and open green spaces.

The sculpture exhibition is part of Arts@Tech, an initiative to enhance the Georgia Tech community by fostering programs and events spanning the arts spectrum at the intersection of technological innovation and creative expression. The initiative is an outcome of the Institute’s Strategic Plan.

“There is a pent-up desire by students to engage in the arts as evidenced by our tremendously talented musicians and the participation in the recent Art Crawl and Festival. The arts are expressions of creativity and result from the same design processes that our students follow, whether designing policies or instruments. This exhibit will promote conversation, debate, and appreciation of the creative spirit while making our beautiful campus even more interesting.” said Rafael L. Bras, Georgia Tech provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, who helped bring the exhibit to campus.

The sculpture exhibition is free and open to the public. Descriptive plaques for the pieces will be installed soon. Official unveiling celebrations are planned for next fall.