Public Art Projects
Robert B. Rowling Hall at The University of Texas at Austin, Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin.
The project is a permanent installation opening on January 26, 2018
José Parlá, Detail of a working study for the Landmarks Comission, 2017. Courtesy of Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin.
Lisa Blas on Visualizing form, reading form, writing form On September 24, 2017, she conducted a session of “Handwriting The Constitution”, a project initiated by her studio neighbor, Morgan O’Hara, of whom is currently away on an artist residency in Italy. “Handwriting The Constitution” was Morgan’s response to the Donald Trump Presidency on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017. Since then, she has dispatched many sessions throughout the country, where strangers, friends and neighbors gather at their local library, coffee shop or similar venue to handwrite the document that defines our rights as Americans and the principles of our government. Handwriting is a lost art. It is no longer taught as a class in primary school, with the computer taking its place. Over time, our handwriting has become short scribbles, rendered in fragments, on post-it notes or scraps of paper. Reminders, to-do lists, questions. In handwriting the United States Constitution, two things happen: First, you realize that you have not read the document in a long time, or in its entirety. Re-reading is essential, and you learn while you write. The original language is at times shocking and the amendments are particularly illuminating. One understands their necessity and placement in time. Secondly, the act of handwriting is what most participants have described as “meditative”, meaning, it is a process akin to drawing where time is suspended and you become spellbound in the moment of putting marks on a piece of paper. The repetition is soothing, even as your hand eventually cramps and you need to take a pause. As our modern lives are intertwined with digital interfaces, the act of handwriting, pen to paper, returns you to a place where the eye, mind and hand work in sequence. This can yield a new understanding of The Constitution.
The University of Texas at Austin has released a free digital edition of The Collections, the first encyclopedic account of the university’s repository of cultural artifacts. Edited by Andrée Bober, director of Landmarks public art program at UT, the volume features public art among more than eighty collections highlighted. The full 720-page volume is now available for free download, enabling worldwide access to information about more than 170 million objects.
“The Collections” (UT Press, 2016)
Nancy Holmes and Cameron Cartiere received the Pollinator Advocate Award for Canada from the international organization, Pollinator Partnership for their work on Border Free Bees. Their conversation on the project was featured Public Art Dialogue vol. 6 issue 2 “Borders and Boundaries.”