Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Installs New Public Art

Emily Gardner

September 8, 2015

The two sculptures were added to campus before the fall semester started.

Agave Dreams
"Agave Dreams"
by Julian Voss-Andreae

From Greek mythology to science, the new public art on campus covers various topics.

The Texas Tech University System Public Art program recently installed several pieces of art across campus as part of several projects.

“Agave Dreams” was installed near the Biology Building on July 30 as part of the 1 percent Public for Art fund from the Biology Life Safety project. The sculpture was created by artist Julian Voss-Andreae, who was selected in 2014 through the call for artists and the finalist interviews. He started working on the sculpture during Fall 2014 and it is the first piece he was commissioned for by Texas Tech.

Voss-Andreae said he started the design work in June 2014 and fabrication began in February 2015.

“It is a great honor to contribute to Texas Tech's amazing public art collection,” Voss-Andreae said.

“Agave Dreams” is a female figure welded from more than 1,000 laser-cut steel triangles using 3-D scanning, cutting-edge algorithms from computer graphics and software custom designed by Voss-Andreae and used as design tools. The figure is depicted as kneeling on the earth with outstretched hands touching the ground, sheltering an agave plant between the hands, according to the artist.

The sculpture is 10 feet tall and colored blue to represent the sky and water, said Emily Wilkinson, public art director. The sculpture appears to bless a live agave outside the Biology Building and is incorporated with other plants at the site, providing a central approach to viewing nature.

“The sculpture is one of the newest additions to the Texas Tech University System's Public Art Collection, one of the top 10 ranked public art programs in the nation,” Wilkinson said. “This piece is a unique addition to a varied collection, showing that each piece is specific to its location, but also contributes to the overall outstanding quality of the public art collection.”

Zeus or Poseidon
Zeus or Poseidon of Artemision

“Zeus or Poseidon of Artemision” was installed on the west side of the Texas Tech University Library Aug. 12 as part of the Campus Beautification project. The sculpture was donated to the Texas Tech Public Art Collection in 2013 by Ronald and Susan Welborn in honor of Glenn and Rene Wade, who both graduated from Texas Tech in 1983. The base and installation costs were funded by the 1 percent public art money in the campus beautification project budget.

The Welborns first met the Wades through the oil and gas industry, in which the two families both participate. The Welborns and Wades have gotten to know each other through the industry, and Welborn said they wanted to honor the couple by donating a piece of art in their names.

The Welborns, who reside in Fort Worth and also are in the ranching business, have donated art before, although this is the first time they have donated to Texas Tech, and Welborn said it will not be the last.

“The people at Texas Tech that have graduated and the people I knew at Texas Tech are what we call solid citizens in the ranching business,” Welborn said. “They are caring people that look out for their neighbors. Texas Tech is like going home every day.”

Karen Holden, director of development, first discovered that the Welborns were interested in donating the statue in August 2013. Holden and Erin Vaden, the previous public art manager, viewed the sculpture later that fall, and the donation was gifted in late December 2013.

The sculpture embodies beauty, control and strength, and it was created during the beginning of the classical period for Greek sculpture, Wilkinson said.

The statue on campus is a cast that was created in 1992 in Italy, she said. Its location was determined because the west side of the Library is part of the Campus Beautification project, but the location also was chosen because there is a statue of Prometheus located on the east side of the building. As a result, the placement provides balance.

At the Bayer CropScience building, "Variations" is a five-sculpture installment by Aaron Stephan. It transforms light fixtures to resemble plants growing from the ground.

“Thought to represent the mightiest of the Olympian gods Zeus, or less likely Poseidon, this monumental bronze sculpture was found in two pieces at the bottom of the sea off the Cape of Artemision in the 1920s,” Wilkinson said. “Zeus is the militant protector ready for action and would have originally been holding a thunderbolt. The statue most likely was created as a votive for a temple dedicated to Zeus. In presenting such works as offerings, the Greeks attempted to appease their gods, earing divine assistance or favor in return.”

The Public Art program installed two other sculptures during the summer, at Bayer CropScience and Bayer Plant Science. Facilities Planning and Construction, which oversees the Public Art program, also is working on public art for the Innovation Hub and Research Park, the new addition to the Rawls College of Business Building, the Human Sciences Life Safety project, the Maddox Engineering Research Center and the new System Office Building.

About Julian Voss-Andreae
Voss-Andreae is a German-American sculptor based in Portland, Oregon. He has been commissioned for works at several other U.S. universities, and his background in science often is reflected in the sculptures he creates. Other works include “Spannungsfeld” and protein sculptures: “Synergy” and “Angel of the West.” For more information, visit his website.

About Ronald and Susan Welborn
The Welborns participate in the ranching and oil and gas industries and live in Fort Worth. The family has been collecting original molds for Michelangelo's art since the early 2000s and has donated Michelangelo busts to several sites, including cathedrals in New York and a church in Fort Worth.