SMU's Meadows Museum to Dedicate New Sculpture Plaza
A new sculpture plaza and staircase at the entrance to SMU's Meadows Museum will provide a welcoming environment for visitors and a new public art space for Dallas. A major new acquisition, a monumental sculpture by contemporary Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, will be presented at the dedication ceremony for the plaza. The public ceremony will be at 6 p.m., Wed., Oct. 7, at the Museum, on Bishop Blvd. immediately north of Mockingbird Lane.
The renovated plaza and the Plensa sculpture were made possible through the support of patrons including Nancy Hamon and the late Jake Hamon, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, The Pollock Foundation, the family of Mr. and Mrs. Richard R. Pollock and the family of Lawrence S. Pollock, III. The Plensa sculpture is the first Meadows Museum acquisition to be obtained through a combination of gifts and matching funds from The Meadows Foundation, which made a commitment in 2006 to match dollar-for-dollar new gifts for acquisitions.
"The new sculpture plaza and the Plensa acquisition represent an extraordinary gift to the Dallas community by some of its leading arts patrons," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "We are deeply grateful for the vision and generosity of these donors. Their gifts, enriching both the University and the city, are part of SMU's Second Century Campaign, launched in 2008 with a goal of $750 million."
Following a six-month reconstruction project, the Meadows Museum entrance has a new look, with a fountain and reconfigured access stairs leading up to the sculpture plaza from Bishop Blvd. The plaza's innovative design features green spaces, gravel paths and benches. An overlook on the plaza provides a dramatic view of Calatrava's Wave, permanently installed below the plaza at street level.
"New landscaping and seating invite visitors to linger and enjoy this public art space," said José Bowen, dean of SMU's Meadows School of the Arts. "We hope the Meadows sculpture plaza will become a popular destination for visitors of all ages."
Plensa's monumental sculpture, Sho, represents a female head formed by white-painted stainless steel openwork mesh. Completed in 2007, it is approximately 13 feet tall and 10 feet wide and weighs 660 pounds. The sculpture is a portrait of a young Chinese girl named Sho, whom the artist met in his native Barcelona, where his studio is located. Plensa had his first solo exhibition in 1980 and since then has achieved international acclaim. His works have been exhibited in major museums and galleries worldwide and can be seen in the United States in collections of museums including the Nasher Sculpture Center, Art Institute of Chicago and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
"Plensa's Sho marks the most important acquisition of a work by a living artist into the Meadows collection since the commissioning of Calatrava's Wave in 2001," said Meadows Museum Director Mark Roglán. "The newly redesigned plaza, created by Dallas-based Swiss architect Thomas Krähenbühl of TKTR, will provide an ideal setting from which to experience Sho, as well as other sculptures from the Meadows collection — a true gift to Dallas that is free for all to enjoy.”
Sho will greet Museum visitors from a prominent position in the center of the new sculpture plaza. It is part of the exhibition "Face and Form: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture in the Meadows Collection," which showcases the Museum's distinguished collection of works from the 19th to the 21st century. The original collection, given to SMU by Museum founder Algur H. Meadows in the late 1960s and early 1970s, includes works by Auguste Rodin, Aristide Maillol, Jacques Lipchitz, Marino Marini, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg and David Smith.
Corollary exhibitions in the Museum's downstairs galleries will illustrate the process employed by Calatrava and Plensa in creating their monumental sculptures displayed in the Meadows' outdoor spaces.
The Meadows Museum, a division of Meadows School of the Arts, houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, with works dating from the 10th to the 21st century. It includes paintings by some of the world's greatest artists, such as El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya, Miró and Picasso.