BU Public Art Artists
Three of Bakalar’s sculptures, We!, The Dance, and Life Force IV grace Boston University’s Fenway Campus. A resident of Boston, Bakalar received a PhD in Physics from MIT in 1951. Bakalar began his career as a sculptor at the age of 62 after being encouraged by the artist George Segal. The artist explores organic and geometric forms through the materials stone and metal. In addition to those on BU’s campus, Bakalar’s sculptures can be found locally on MIT’s campus, in the collection of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston’s Federal Reserve Bank, and Brandeis University. Of his work, Bakalar states “I’ve always been fascinated by the codes and molecules that are the Life Force. My sculptures…abstractly reflect the complexity of this force and our common identity with all of nature.”
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Three of Castillo’s sculptures can be found across BU’s campus: Free at Last on Marsh Plaza, Earth Orbit in the lobby of Questrom School of Business, and Explosions located on the plaza in front of 590 Commonwealth Avenue. Known for creating works that attempt to harness explosive and powerful energy, Castillo worked in direct metal sculpture, a process he discovered in Italy in 1957. Born in Santiago, Chile, Castillo split his time between Boston, Chile, and Spain. The artist came to Boston to work on Free at Last, a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr., but stayed to teach sculpture at Boston University.
Free at Last is the first memorial to Dr. King in the United States. The 20-foot-high sculpture, consisting of a mass of birds attempting to take flight, is meant to evoke the famous closing lines, “free at last!” of King’s great “I have a dream speech.” The sculpture considers the relationship of the individual to the collective. There are 50 inter-connected bird forms to connote the 50 states. Up close, each individual bird attempts to be airborne, while from a distance the flock aligns into a singular large bird striving towards the sky.
The potency yielded by Castillo’s handling of materials and his use of dynamic forms can also be seen in his work Explosions. Arthur Metcalf, a physicist and former chairman of the Board of Trustees at Boston University purchased the work for the University, and gave the sculpture its evocative title—seeing the work as an imaginative simulation of the collision of electrons.
Charles J. Connick
Take a virtual tour of BU’s Marsh Chapel here.
Fox’s Blue-Green Brainbow is made from over 13,500 individual pieces of cast resin. This work, made specifically for the Kilichand Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering is inspired by the “brainbow” technique, which allows researchers to illuminate braincells. While in this case, Fox’s inspiration can be found within the human body, much of the Brooklyn-based artist’s work is influenced by complex forms found in nature such as coral and ice.
Greenamayer is a dedicated maker of public artworks, believing that public art should engage a wide range of people, both those with no art training and those well-versed in looking and interacting with artworks. Therefore, the artist emphasizes clear narratives. Greenamayer has been working in metal sculpture since the 1970s and during this time also served as a fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Arts, focusing on an interest in Kinetic Art. More of his work can be found locally at Massachussetts College of Art and Design and the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA.
Jacques received his BFA from Boston University and designs his outdoor sculptures as integrative to the spaces they inhabit, thinking of his sculptures as a soothing and ethereal contrast to the landscape. Most of his work is done in various combinations of stainless steel and bronze. On his sculpture, Jacques says “I consistently try to attain a simple elegance in each composition with an emphasis on thick-thin line variation synthesized with rhymic and interesting shapes.”
Much of Harel Kedem’s practice has been centered around New England’s prestigious institutions. Earning his degrees from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and MIT as well as serving as a fellow at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, he has also taught at RISD. His fountain in front of the Medical School’s Instructional building was gifted by the 50thanniversary of Nathan Fineberg MD (1930) and alumni family members.
Two works by Gregg LeFevre can be found on BU’s campus. Both use epoxy over ferrocement, and rely on abstract, organic, and curvilinear forms as well as a singular color to create bold, visually striking pieces. LeFevre has created over 120 site specific public artworks and seeks to contribute to “the unique personality of a place.” A current resident of New York City, LeFevre has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and an award for excellence in design by the Arts Commission of the City of New York.
Armand le Montagne
Armand Le Montagne is best recognized for his life-sized wood and bronze sculptures, often of important sports personalities. In addition to The Golden Greek, his work can be found at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York and the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, as well as the New England Sports Museum, in Boston, Massachusetts. In honor of Harry Agganis, a 1954 graduate of Boston University and celebrated student athlete, The Golden Greek is inscribed with the phrases “always excel” and “a sound mind in a healthy body.”
Two granite fountains sculpted by Monti can be found on BU’s campus. Monti came from a multi-generational family of Italian stone workers and pioneered a thermal sculpting technique in the 1960s, which uses flame lances, or torches, to cut through huge blocks of granite in quarries. Monti began his career by making traditional memorial sculptures, but found that work “boring,” and soon began to take inspiration from his own imagination. His monumental fountains and sculptures can be found throughout New England. In addition to Boston University, his work is also at Quincy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium and on the campus of Stonehill College in Easton, MA. The sculpture Windows is made from Quincy granite harvested from the Granite Rail Quarry and the base is made from Quincy granite harvested from the Swingles Quarry.
The jack-o-lantern is made from Stony Creek granite from Branford, CT. A massively powerful 6,000F liquid O2 and diesel torch was used to shape and subsequently hollow out the oversized gourde. Its playfulness and charm reflect the sculptor’s own personality and offer a different side to his normally larger and somewhat more serious water features and Bauhaus sculptures. When it first came to campus it was placed in a pocket park on BSR where it stayed until being moved to its current location behind the stands at Nickerson Field.
O’Donnell has been a Professor of Painting in Boston University’s the School of Visual Arts since 1996. He has been making digital prints since 1993. First Light, a backlit digital transparency, was commissioned by the Photonics Center in 1998. O’Donnell views the ability of technical invention to push our physical limitations as part of the creative process, and approaches his digital works much in the same way he does his paintings. However, he says “I did not want it to imitate painting methodology. I wanted the instrument of the computer to come through. With digital media ideally, I want my work to be like that of a singer—even an unaccompanied singer- being asked to make an instrumental version of a song originated by humming the tune in your head…it’s in painting that I get all my melodies, but I love the collaboration of extended production in theater, in architecture – or anything else promising to amplify my voice.”
The new Rhett bench is becoming one of the most popular spots on campus. Donated by the BU Alumni Council, Rhett was designed by sculptor Virgil Oertle and is between the BU Beach and the Alan and Sherry Leventhal Admissions Center. A graduate of Lyme Academy College of Fine Art, and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Virgil Oertle has created unique sculptures of all shapes, sizes and for many purposes. In 2013 he began to focus on unique, branded, mascot benches and sitting areas for fans to interact with the sculptures. There was something about his designs that made the tributes a destination point. His concepts perfectly incorporate the story and character of the parent organization, and are an enduring tribute to each of our beloved
Briene Rosner and Holland Dieringer
Visual Entanglements is the result of collaboration for course AR521, Site Specific Art taught by Hugh O’Donnell. The work fuses images collected from research groups in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology Departments at Boston University and is designed to show links between sciences and arts as well as the relationship to the natural world.
Smullin worked in sculpture, vector analysis, and computer-aided sculpture before his untimely death in 1983. Smullin’s residencies between 1979-1980 at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies and Sculpture Space, in Utica, New York enabled him to make large-scale works. His sculptures often celebrated the simple knot, favoring a “simple framework” within which he could expand metaphorically. Alongside his sculpture, Smullin developed and relied on a computer program to help produce his works. As seen in his work Labyrinth of a Datalist on BU’s campus, Smullin ties large, steel columns in great, tense knots. Of his work, Lawrence Fane writes, “the pipes could squeeze and pull, constrict the space passing through them, and generate a sense of contained and bursting energy.”
Tumarkin’s 1976 Homage to Dürer is inspired by the sixteenth century German master Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 masterpiece Melencolia I, and a similar piece can be found in Nuremberg, Germany. The composition of the German-Israeli artist’s sculptures were influenced by his trips to New York in the 1970s, becoming horizontal as a counter to the extremely vertical orientation of skyscrapers.
Wasilewski (’07) designed a series of hanging opaque panels for StuVi-2 student housing. The panels were designed for the space from the artist’s print series Microscopium, and the translucent quality of the panels bathes the ink monoprint in a soft glow.
Unknown Artist, Froebel Frieze
The “Froebel Frieze” which hangs over what was formerly Wheelock College’s library depicts Friedrich Froebel, German educator and inventor of the concept of kindergarten.
Unknown Artist pieces
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Sitarah Lakhani (BUA ’22)
The mural, by Sitarah Lakhani BUA ’22, showcases the women of the BU community, with a special nod to those in the fields of STEM, while incorporating elements of nature found nearby. Lakhani was mentored and assisted by local muralist Amanda Hill. Financial and administrative support for the mural came from Boston University Academy and the BU Arts Initiative.