Art on Campus

  • Ann Hamilton, O N E E V E R Y O N E • Caleb (left) and O N E E V E R Y O N E • Alexandra (right).
    Ann Hamilton, O N E E V E R Y O N E • Caleb (left) and O N E E V E R Y O N E • Alexandra (right).
  • Ayşe Erkmen, Places, 2015. Full credit below.
    Ayşe Erkmen, Places, 2015. Full credit below.
  • Ainsa I by Jaume Plensa. Located outside Bauer Hall atrium, Olin Business School. Photo by Stan Strembicki.
    Ainsa I by Jaume Plensa. Located outside Bauer Hall atrium, Olin Business School. Photo by Stan Strembicki.
  • Spencer Finch, detail of East Meets West (Atlantic), 2014. Full credit below.
    Spencer Finch, detail of East Meets West (Atlantic), 2014. Full credit below.

Art on Campus is a percent-for-art program that establishes a significant presence for public art at Washington University while it builds on the University's world-class collection of art.

Created in 2010, Art on Campus commissions art in connection with new construction and renovation projects across the Danforth Campus and at select University-owned off-campus locations. All Art on Campus commissions will be accessioned into the Kemper Art Museum's permanent collection. The mission is to build an eminent collection of site-specific works in all media that reflect the University's stature and the diversity of its people and intellectual activity.

Washington University’s campus offers a significant historical setting for public art. Originally planned by Cope and Stewardson in 1899, the Danforth Campus has evolved to include a range of spaces for public interaction. Art on Campus commissions will contribute significantly to the dialogue between the historical setting, the campus communities, and contemporary building projects now and into the future, in addition to initiating broader conversations on the built environment and the nature and use of shared space.

Learn more about the completed Art on Campus commissions through the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum cell phone tour>>

Art on Campus Works

Ann Hamilton's O N E E V E R Y O N E • St. Louis
Hillman Hall

At the core of the Brown School's programs is a recognition of individual peoples and experiences. Seeing and being seen—representation in language and in image—form the basis of contact, exchange, and expression; they are also the very substance of this project. O N E E V E R Y O N E • St. Louis was developed by Ann Hamilton for Thomas and Jennifer Hillman Hall, in response to and in collaboration with the Brown School. During a pair of weeklong residencies in spring 2015, Hamilton photographed nearly 300 volunteers from the Brown School community and three partner organizations (U.S. Vets, Better Family Life, and the Community Action Agency of St. Louis County). Positioning herself and her camera on one side of a semitransparent membrane, she guided and posed the sitters on the other side using only her voice; each touch of a face, a hand, or a selected research-related object against the membrane is revealed in focus, while the sitter's gesture or body outline is rendered more softly. A selection of 33 of these portraits, curated by Hamilton and translated into porcelain enamel panels, is installed along the curved interior walls of the second and third floors, which bracket the Forum Room and the building's central gathering area.

Video: Ann Hamilton discusses ONEEVERYONE • St. Louis >>

Samuel Cupples Hall II: Ayşe Erkmen's Places

This work by Turkish artist Ayşe Erkmen, entitled Places, consists of nine large-scale concrete forms that will be covered with mosaic tiles. The forms are arranged in a half circle on the lawn outside of Cupples Hall II; each one consists of multiple surfaces that can be used to sit on, sleep on, lean on, read on, or just to look at. The intent is to make an "aesthetic and functional work" for the site, which experiences significant pedestrian circulation of students, faculty, and visitors to campus. Installation was completed in spring 2015.

Olin Business School Expansion: Jaume Plensa's Ainsa I

Over the past three decades, Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa has established an international reputation for creating public sculptures that are both monumental in scale and emotionally engaging in subject matter. Working with a wide variety of materials, he has returned to and transformed the genre of figurative sculpture at the beginning of the twenty-first century with works that explore the intersection between the human form, language, and technology. With these sculptures, Plensa reconsiders the critical question of what it means to be human today. Departing from the idea of sculptures as self-sufficient and autonomous, he creates work that responds through scale and form to its immediate environment, demanding active engagement on the part of the viewer—not only through seeing but also through embodied experience.

Plensa conceived of Ainsa I as a site-specific project to be located outside the south entrance to the new atrium for Bauer Hall, designed by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners. Comprised of a filigree of stainless steel letters from nine different alphabets, the large-scale seated human figure embodies the diversity that characterizes Olin Business School and the University at large. It also transforms the experience of its site, offering both a new focal point and a transition between human and architectural scale, while calling attention to the essentially communal nature of the building plaza.

Karl D. Umrath Hall: Spencer Finch’s East Meets West

Spencer Finch is an internationally recognized painter, photographer, and installation artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. Often referred to as a conceptual landscape painter, Finch plays with atmospheric effects and ephemeral notions such as time in his works to examine the ways in which we perceive the outside world.

For his site-specific project East Meets West, Finch traveled to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, where he used a colorimeter—a device that measures the average color and temperature of light that exists naturally in a specific place and time—to calculate the color of the light on the oceans. He also made watercolors that reproduce his personal observations of the colors and shapes of waves. Combining the empirical qualities of technology and the subjective nature of painting, Finch created light boxes that produce an aesthetic experience of the fleeting, temporal nature of the observed world. Installed in Karl D. Umrath Hall, home to a variety of interdisciplinary humanities programs, East Meets West, evokes the complexities of humanistic and scientific efforts to comprehend the outside world.

Image credits

Ann Hamilton, O N E E V E R Y O N E • Caleb (left) and O N E E V E R Y O N E • Alexandra (right).

Ayşe Erkmen, Places, 2015. Stainless steel reinforced concrete with glass mosaic tile, dimensions variable. University purchase, Art on Campus fund, Samuel Cupples Hall II and Scott Rudolph Hall, 2015.

Jaume Plensa, Ainsa I, 2013. Stainless steel and limestone, 126 x 84 5/8 x 149 5/8". Installation view, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis. Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. University purchase, Art on Campus fund, Olin Business School, 2013. Photo by Stan Strembicki.

Spencer Finch, detail of East Meets West (Atlantic), 2014. Two light boxes with Fujitrans prints and Plexiglas, 50 x 78 x 4" each. Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. University purchase, Art on Campus fund, Karl D. Umrath Hall, 2014.