Meadows Museum unveils new plaza Oct. 7

'Sho' by Jaume PlensaThe Meadows Museum reopens its redesigned plaza and sculpture garden – including its iconic Wave installation – with a dedication ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Oct. 7. The celebration will include the unveiling of a major new acquisition, Sho (left), a monumental sculpture by Catalán artist Jaume Plensa.

The dedication launches a celebration of the Elizabeth Meadows Sculpture Collection with the exhibition “Face and Form: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture in the Meadows Collection.” The new plaza will feature a permanent installation of monumental sculpture from the Elizabeth Meadows Collection and the Meadows Museum by artists such as Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, and Claes Oldenburg.

The plaza’s centerpiece will be Sho, acquired in summer 2009 through gifts from The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Nancy and Jake Hamon, The Meadows Foundation, The Pollock Foundation, the family of Mr. and Mrs. Richard R. Pollock and the family of Mr. Lawrence S. Pollock III.

'Wave' by Santiago CalatravaSantiago Calatrava‘s Wave (right), already a fixture of the plaza’s southwest corner, can now be viewed from above from a terrace donated by Richard and Gwen Irwin in honor of his parents, William and Florence Irwin. A staircase, which can be approached from each side, will help integrate the plaza with the rest of the campus, while a new fountain at its foot will greet museum visitors.

The museum will also feature two exhibitions, opening Oct. 8, that illustrate the processes used by Plensa and Calatrava in the creation of Sho and Wave. The displays in the downstairs galleries will include drawings, watercolors, photographs and other materials highlighting both the creative and construction processes involved.

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Meadows Museum acquires monumental Plensa sculpture

'Sho' by Jaume PlensaSMU’s Meadows Museum has acquired Sho, a monumental sculpture by contemporary Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.

Completed in 2007, the work represents a female head and is formed by white-painted stainless steel openwork mesh. It stands approximately 13 feet tall and 10 feet wide (157-1/2 x 157-1/2 x 118-1/8 inches) and weighs 660 pounds.

The acquisition from the Richard Gray Gallery was made possible with the support of The Pollock Foundation, the Family of Mr. and Mrs. Richard R. Pollock, and the Family of Mr. Lawrence S. Pollock, III, in honor of Mrs. Shirley Pollock. The funds will be matched with a 1:1 challenge grant for museum acquisitions from The Meadows Foundation.

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,” says Mark Roglán, museum director. “Plensa is among the most dynamic and talented artistic minds in Spain today, and we are honored to have him represented at the Meadows with such a unique and monumental sculpture. This one-of-a-kind masterpiece will welcome visitors to the museum from its prominent position in the center of our new entrance plaza, due to open this fall. The acquisition, made possible by the Pollocks and The Meadows Foundation, further represents a beautiful way to honor in perpetuity the memory of the late Shirley Pollock, who was such a great friend of this institution.”

Jaume PlensaA native of Barcelona, Plensa (right) is known for his monumental figural sculptures that often incorporate film, light, letters and unusual materials in order to present familiar objects (such as the human body) in unfamiliar ways. One of his most notable works is Crown Fountain (2000-04) in Chicago’s Millennium Park, arguably one of the most successful public art projects of the past decade. His works are also found in the collections of Dallas’ Nasher Sculpture Center, the Art Institute of Chicago and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others.

Sho is a portrait of a young Chinese girl whom the artist met in Barcelona, where his studio is located. It was first exhibited at the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM) in Valencia, Spain, in winter 2007. The work then traveled to Chicago, where it was exhibited along the riverfront in the heart of downtown; and to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it was included in a major exhibition of the artist’s latest work at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park through early January 2009.

The Museum will present a public lecture about Plensa by art historian and critic Barbara Rose on Nov. 12; additional public programming is planned throughout the year.

Sho will go on permanent display on the museum’s newly renovated entry plaza as part of the exhibition “Face and Form: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture in the Meadows Collection,” opening Oct. 7.

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Learn more about Jaume Plensa at his website