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Calatrava and Southern Methodist University: A Decade in Motion opens at the Meadows Museum


The following story ran on the March 5, 2012, edition of

March 15, 2012

DALLAS, TX.- SMU’s Meadows Museum, home to “Wave” (2002), the first large-scale sculpture by Santiago Calatrava to be permanently installed in the United States, is joining the celebration honoring the opening of the Spanish architect’s Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge with a special exhibition –“Calatrava and SMU: A Decade in Motion,” March 4-April 22, 2012.

The exhibition includes a selection of Calatrava’s preliminary watercolor sketches of “Wave,” a 40-by-90-foot perpetually moving sculpture installed in 2002 on the street-level plaza in front of the Meadows Museum at 5900 Bishop Blvd. A campus landmark, the sculpture’s bronze bars move sequentially above a reflection pool. The exhibition also includes correspondence and mementoes from the sculpture’s installation and dedication.

“Over the past decade, Calatrava and SMU have built a deep relationship,” says Meadows Museum Director Mark A. Roglán. “It is now our great pleasure to extend this relationship with the City of Dallas as we join them in celebrating this new landmark. This exhibition will offer visitors a unique view of the artist behind the bridge and illustrate the many ties that bind him with us.”

On March 3, 2012, Calatrava returned to campus to see the exhibition, as well as a new view of “Wave,” which was created in the 2009 renovation of the Meadows Museum Plaza and Sculpture Garden. The plaza’s southwest corner now includes a new terrace, the Irwin Overlook, overlooking the sculpture.

Meadows Museum is the only Dallas-Fort Worth museum that includes Calatrava works in its permanent collection. Besides “Wave,” the Meadows collection also includes Calatrava sculptures “Palme” (1998) and “Il Dente” (1999), which will be part of the exhibition as well. In addition, the exhibition will include a selection of sketches made by Calatrava in a set of architecture books he donated to the museum. The rarely exhibited sketches feature images of figures, doves and bulls.

Calatrava’s relationship with SMU began in 1999 when he was commissioned to create “Wave” for the new Meadows Museum, which opened in 2001. He received the 2000 Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, then returned to SMU in 2001 when his work was featured in the museum’s inaugural exhibition “Poetics of Movement: The Architecture of Santiago Calatrava.” SMU again honored Calatrava at Commencement in 2005 with the presentation of an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree at a ceremony where he also gave the 90th SMU Commencement address.

King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain attended the opening festival of the new Meadows Museum and participated in a ceremony pouring water from Spain into a special vase to await the dedication of “Wave.” At the 2002 dedication of “Wave,” Calatrava and Spanish Ambassador Javier Rupérez poured the water from Spain into the sculpture’s reflecting pool, mixing it with Texas water as a symbol of the cultural and aesthetic bond between Spain and the United States. The ceremonial vase will be part of the exhibition.

"I was very moved when the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University asked me to create a sculpture," Santiago Calatrava said at the dedication, "and I am now delighted to see the work permanently installed here, where I have received such a warm welcome.”

“In this sculpture, the solidity of the bronze bars seems to dissolve into something fluid,” he said. “Rigid, straight elements take on the appearance of a curve; the heavy material becomes weightless, as it is reflected in the water. Perhaps, in these transformations, we may also sense how an architect born in Spain comes to feel at home in Dallas."

Calatrava provided preliminary ideas to the museum’s renovation of its Plaza and Sculpture Garden. When the plaza opened in 2009, Calatrava’s work was once again featured in an exhibition, “Santiago Calatrava: The Making of Wave.”