Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX United States
Artwork Budget: 1600000
Andrée Bober Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin
Nisa Barger Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin
Sasaki Associates, Inc.
Vault Fine Art Services
Silver Lining Art Conservation
Public Art Agent
Mary Boone Gallery
Marc Quinn’s "Spiral of the Galaxy" is a massive bronze sculpture 131 x 196 x 100 inches anchoring the gateway to the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. Quinn modeled the sculpture after a shell from the British Natural History Museum, transforming the delicate object into a civic gesture with grand proportions. "Spiral of the Galaxy" is in the center of downtown Austin, positioned among a system of roads and buildings that frame cultivated green spaces. The sculpture’s organic forms juxtapose the urban landscape elegantly and its surface reflects the brilliant Texas sun.
"Spiral of the Galaxy" conveys ideas that are central to Marc Quinn’s work, including the unstable margins of life, the interconnectedness of life forms across time, and the prospect of living in harmony with nature. The conch also carries cultural and religious significance, and among many interpretations can be seen on the medical school campus as a complex structure that protects delicate organisms.
"Spiral of the Galaxy" is easily understood as a direct relative of the small shell it models. However, by dramatically altering the shell’s material, scale, and surroundings, the work acquires a mythical aspect, quivering between the real and the fantastical. Quinn has called seashells “the most perfect pre-existing sculptural ‘readymades’ in our natural world.” Thus, he refers not only to the graceful intricacy of their forms but also to the wonder of their natural production.
Landmarks purchased "Spiral of the Galaxy" by Marc Quinn to anchor the gateway to the Dell Medical School. The conch carries cultural and religious significance, and among many interpretations can be seen here as a complex structure that protects delicate organisms.
Robin K. Williams, PhD candidate in art history at The University of Texas at Austin, contributed the artist essay, which provides greater detail about Quinn and his work.
This project would not have been possible without generous assistance from many including: Dean Clay Johnston and the Dell Medical School; Pat Clubb and University Operations; Dean Douglas Dempster and the College of Fine Arts; Bob Rawski and the Office of Facilities Planning and Construction and project manager Karel Kozeh; David Rea and the Office of Campus Planning and Facilities Management; the Campus Master Planning Committee; the Landmarks Advisory Committee; Hansel Phelps; Sasaki Associates, Inc.; Marc Quinn, Damian Simpson and the Marc Quinn Studio; Mary Boone Gallery; and Vault Fine Art Services.
The location and intention behind "Spiral of the Galaxy" marks a partnership between The University of Texas at Austin’s new Dell Medical School and Landmarks’ mission to provide meaningful art in public spaces. Not only does the sculpture represent a chief focal point of the medical campus, but serves as a strong symbol of the school’s goal to provide wellness and an organic approach to medicine to the Austin community.
Spiral of the Galaxy
Share Via Email
CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.