Art Museum Sculpture Park

MaryKate_blog profile imageby Mary Kate Kuchers, IMS / Web Intern

On a beautiful Friday in March, I had the cool opportunity to walk around the Sculpture Park and view all of the pieces that were acquired by the Miami University Art Museum over the years. I honestly didn’t know we had a sculpture park until today. However, I did associate the Art Museum with the big, red, steel structure out front. Walking around the Art Museum grounds, I saw the Miami University Art Museum’s nine sculptures. I decided to give you an inside scoop on what I thought of seven of them:

For Kepler :: Like I said, this red sculpture is the only way I can describe to people where the Art Museum is. It looks sort of like a shooting star. If you walk around it and try to look at it at every angle, it almost looks like it’s moving. Super cool!

“For Kepler” 1995, Mark di Suvero (American, b. Shanghai 1933). Painted steel, Gift of Thomas W. Smith.

Three Storms :: I’ve always thought this sculpture was a Quidditch post like the ones described in Harry Potter. I knew Quidditch was a sport played at Miami and I just assumed this is where they played. I was confused because there was only one set of them and you need two to play the game. Today I learned these are not Quidditch posts but more of a Pop Art style of sculpture. I really like them but I think they should be used to play Quidditch. 😉

“Three Storms” 1993, Barry Gunderson (American, b. 1945). Painted aluminum.

Two Rocks, Two Fish :: When I saw this sculpture, I immediately thought it was a reenactment of Marlin and Dory on their adventure to find Nemo. You know, that part in the movie where they are supposed to go through the Trench but instead they go over it and get lost? That’s exactly what I thought of.

“Two Rocks, Two Fish” 1996-97, Roy Cartwright (American, b. 1937). Clay and slips.

Star-Crossed :: The two big concrete tubes in the earth remind me of a cannon shooting out of the ground. To compare more art to movies, I thought it was similar to the bunker used in the fillm Les Miserables. What’s cool about this sculpture is that you can walk inside the lower concrete tube. I tried it myself and it inspired me to sing some notes and let me tell you, the acoustics in there are amazing!! It’s kind of eery and cold but worth stepping inside for sure.

“Star-Crossed” 1979-81, Nancy Holt (American, b. 1938). Earth, concrete, water, grass.

A Tribe Named Miami, A Surveyor’s Stake, A Town Named Oxford :: This colorful sculpture is a bit strange to me. It’s an enlarged replica of a carved and painted wood sculpture crafted by a Miami tribal elder. It incorporates a loon, sandhill crane and a turtle at the base. I think it’s strange to me because it took me so long to figure out what it is. I really dig the colors and the unique mesh of animals. It stands out from the nine sculptures in the garden because of the bold colors and deep, personal meaning to the Miami Tribe.

“A Tribe Named Miami, A Surveyor’s Stake, A Town Named Oxford” 2008, Eugene Brown (American, b. 1926). Colorized cast bronze.

Spinozalith and Skeuomorph :: These last two sculptures were made in honor of two different professor’s at Miami. The artist dedicates these benches to two professors who most inspired him during his education at Miami. The contrast of these two benches is what makes this piece unique to me. I’d like to think that the rocky and abrasive texture of the first bench was dedicated to a professor who was bold and outspoken about his values. The smoother bench might have been dedicated to a professor who was most soft spoken and influential in the artist’s life in a more quiet way.

“Spinozalith” 1994, Don Lawler (American, b. 1961). Indiana limestone, Commissioned by James H. and Frances R. Allen.
“Skeuomorph” 1994, Don Lawler (American, b. 1961). Indiana limestone, Commissioned by James H. and Frances R. Allen.

Overall, I really enjoyed the time I spent with these sculptures. I plan on bringing a few friends to the Art Museum grounds soon so I can show them these cool outdoor sculptures. You should do the same!