Folly - CODAworx


Submitted by Public Art University of Houston System

Client: Public Art of the University of Houston System

Location: Houston, TX, United States

Completion date: 2022

Project Team

Chief Curator

Maria C. Gaztambide

Public Art UHS


Mike Guidry

Public Art UHS

Artist Representative

Jason Murison

Petzel Gallery

Fabrication & Design

Gabriele Iavazzo

Jorge Pardo Studio (Italy)

Fabrication & Design

Sol Baylac

Jorge Pardo Studio (Mexico)

Conservation & Installation

Robert Alden Marshall

R. Alden Marshall & Associates LLC

Project Management

Ileana Yordan

Public Art UHS


Justin Griswold



Aldo Fabian Ramos


Education & Outreach

Lauren Cross

Public Art UHS

K-12 Education & Outreach

Debra Barrera

Public Art UHS


Folly by Jorge Pardo – Public Art UHS

Folly is one of Pardo’s most ambitious architectural installations to date. It is a site-specific response to Wilhelmina’s Grove, one of the last original wooded areas remaining at the University of Houston. With Folly, Jorge Pardo views public space as a canvas – his artwork the frame. Pardo’s intent is for the work to “structure to our looking” across the wooded space it inhabits. Simultaneously, within the structure’s interior Pardo folds in his ubiquitous palette of vibrant colors, dizzying patterns, and dramatic lighting elements. In this sense, Folly produces great visual delight yet, conceptually, it also begs us to question the distinctions between fine art and design.

Folly is the second Grove Commission, Public Art UHS’ flagship temporary public art program at the University of Houston. Speaking about the public facing element of his work, Pardo states, “I’ve always thought that making an object that can enter the public sphere would be much more productive than framing it within a gallery…I no longer had to think about the exhibition space as the threshold and the frame, but rather as part of a larger circuitry of things.”

Folly is 15ft. tall x 22ft. wide x 40ft. Long;
Mixed Media and Light


Folly is part of a series of site-specific temporary public art projects commissioned by Public Art UHS to fulfill it's primary goal of maximizing the integration of artworks into campus life at all UH System universities. An extension of this goal is to "realize “statement” commissions and/or build up a critical core of artworks— as appropriate—in order to solidify the standing of UH System universities as arts destination.

Since it's installation, Folly has become a campus hub for students, faculty, and staff. Since its opening, Folly has served as a free and site for classes, meetings, performances, and other impromptu activities. For instance, a flamenco class was held in the space and recorded by the course instructor. Public programs and tours provide deeper experiences with the artwork for our current key audiences: UH System Students, K-12 Schools, and Art-Makers and Art-Seekers. In addition, close partnerships with students and other campus entities have fostered deep engagement with the work.

In addition to visits and impromptu activations of Folly, Public Art UHS programs, tours, and collaborations have connected 3,446 visitors to this memorable artwork.