Jun 30, 2017

The University of Michigan campus features several astounding outdoor art installations for the public to enjoy. Each large-scale sculpture is uniquely crafted by a talented artist and features a fascinating story behind its creation. For a culturally unique day of exploration, take a self-guided art tour around the campus with family or friends. 

Orion, a vibrant sculpture located in front of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, was installed in 2006. Inspired by mathematics, astronomy, music, and physics, Mark di Suvero designed the striking masterpiece to be viewed from all angles. Titled after the well-recognized constellation and hunter from Greek mythology, Orion captivates spectators with its bold presence and stunning contrast with the structure’s environment. The eye-catching color of the steel, and balance of space compliment the urban oasis it resides in.

Mark di Suvero began creating large-scale works of art in the early 1960s after moving from Shanghai, China in 1941. Born to parents of Italian heritage in Shanghai, China, Suvero draws inspiration for many of his sculptures from his unique experiences and culture. Shang, a spectacular kinetic art instillation, gives a subtle nod to Suvero’s interest in technical engineering and named after the Shang dynasty as a tribute to his birth place.

North Campus features a substantial earthen sculpture designed and created by well-known artist Maya Lin. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama are exceptional examples of Lin’s work. The Wave Field, located near the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Building, serves as a memorial for Francois-Xavier Bagnoud. Visitors are strongly encouraged to take a few minutes out of their day to experience the many forms of this mesmerizing piece of art. The amount of sunlight to which the waves are exposed is everchanging, creating an inimitable experience for each observer.

The Historical Circle and Peregrine Section (not pictured) were both created by Richard Hunt, who designed the pieces to complement one another. The sculptures, located in the courtyard on the north side of the Bentley Historical Library, were given to the University from alumnus Hobart Taylor, Jr. The gift resembles a memorial for his father, Hobart Taylor, Sr., a leader in the Civil Rights movement in Texas.

The iconic cube, Endover, located on the University of Michigan campus was created and designed by “public art legend” Tony Rosenthal. Representing the intelligent formations of a city, with limitations, balance, and the opportunities that come with a mixed society. The sculpture can be found in other parts of the country, but arrive in Ann Arbor in 1968. Spectators can find other shapes in the spinning geometric figure depending on their point of view. 

For further information on the pieces described, as well as additional works of art on the University of Michigan Campus please visit the website for the President's Advisory Committee on Public Art. Guided tours of the of the monumental works of art can be arranged through the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Art-lovers will also enjoy a trip to UMMA, the Ann Arbor Art Center (which offers classes, as well!), and the many unique galleries in the Ann Arbor area. Check out the WSG Gallery, The Eyrie in neighboring Ypsilanti, Bumble’s Dry Goods in Chelsea, and Artistica in Dexter.

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