March 3, 2012

CALATRAVA AND SMU: A DECADE IN MOTION

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s Meadows Museum, home to the first large-scale Santiago Calatrava sculpture to be permanently installed in the United States, joined Saturday's celebration honoring the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge designed by the Spanish architect. Meadows is hosting a special exhibition – “Calatrava and SMU: A Decade in Motion” – that runs March 4 - April 22, 2012.


Meadows Museum Director Mark Roglan (left) and  SMU President R. Gerald Turner, talk with architect and artist Santiago Calatrava overlooking Calatrava's "Wave."

The exhibition includes Calatrava’s preliminary watercolor sketches of  “Wave,” a 40-by-90-foot perpetually moving sculpture installed in 2002 on the street-level plaza in front of Meadows Museum at 5900 Bishop Blvd. A campus landmark, the sculpture’s bronze bars move sequentially above a reflection pool. The exhibition also includes correspondence, mementoes and photographs of the sculpture’s installation and dedication.

“Over the past decade, Calatrava and SMU have built a deep relationship,” says Meadows Museum Director Mark A. Roglán. “It is now our great pleasure to extend this relationship to the people of Dallas as we join them in celebrating the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.  Our exhibition will offer visitors a unique view of the artist behind the bridge and illustrate the many ties that bind him to SMU.”

On Friday, Calatrava returned to SMU to see the exhibition and the 2009 renovation of the Meadows Museum Plaza and Sculpture Garden near “Wave.” The plaza’s southwest corner includes a new terrace, the Irwin Overlook, with a view over the sculpture.

“One of the enormous qualities of America is the way it welcomes people,” Calatrava said. “You have welcomed with us with your will and your heart. I know so many people in this community, but my mother, my alma mater, it’s this university.”

Meadows Museum is the only Dallas-Fort Worth museum that includes Calatrava works in its permanent collection. The Meadows collection includes Calatrava sculptures  “Palme” and “Il Dente, ” which also will be part of the exhibition. In addition, the exhibition will include Calatrava’s inscriptions in a set of architecture books he donated to the museum.

Calatrava’s relationship with SMU began in 1999 when he was commissioned to create “Wave” for the new Meadows Museum, which opened in 2001. He received the 2000 Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, then returned to SMU in 2001 when his work was featured in the museum’s inaugural exhibition, “Poetics of Movement: The Architecture of Santiago Calatrava.”  SMU again honored Calatrava at Commencement in 2005 with the presentation of the Honorary Doctor of Arts degree at a ceremony where he gave the 90th SMU Commencement address.

When King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain attended the opening festival of the new Meadows Museum, they participated in a ceremony pouring water from Spain into a special vase to await the dedication of “Wave.” At the 2002 dedication, Calatrava and Spanish Ambassador Javier Rupérez poured the water from Spain into the sculpture’s reflecting pool, mixing it with Texas water as a symbol of the cultural and aesthetic bond between Spain and the United States. The ceremonial vase will be part of the exhibition.


Wave by Santiago Calatrava
Works by Calatrava at SMU

"I was very moved when the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University asked me to create a sculpture," Calatrava said at the dedication, "and I am now delighted to see the work permanently installed here, where I have received such a warm welcome.

“In this sculpture, the solidity of the bronze bars seems to dissolve into something fluid,” he said. “Rigid, straight elements take on the appearance of a curve; the heavy material becomes weightless, as it is reflected in the water. Perhaps, in these transformations, we may also sense how an architect born in Spain comes to feel at home in Dallas."

Calatrava provided preliminary ideas to the museum’s renovation of its Plaza and Sculpture Garden. When the plaza opened in 2009, Calatrava’s work was featured in an exhibition, “Santiago Calatrava: The Making of Wave.”

The Rosine Foundation Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, through the generosity of Mary Anne and Richard Cree of Dallas, provided $1.5 million for construction and maintenance of Calatrava’s “Wave” as part of the Campaign for SMU. Mrs. Cree established The Rosine Foundation Fund to honor the memory of her mother, Rosine Sammons. The Meadows Museum Plaza and Sculpture Garden includes a terrace overlooking “Wave” donated by Richard K. and Gwen W. Irwin in honor of his parents, William and Florence Irwin.

About Meadows Museum

The Meadows Museum is the leading U.S. institution focused on the study and presentation of the art of Spain. In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings, as well as funds to start a museum, to SMU. The museum opened to the public in 1965, marking the first step in fulfilling Meadows’ vision to create a “Prado on the Prairie.” Today, the Meadows collection of Spanish art—one of the largest and most comprehensive outside of Spain—comprises more than 125 paintings and sculptures and approximately 450 works on paper. The collection spans from the 10th to the 21st century, and includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden Age and modern masters.


Media Contacts:

Carrie Hunnicutt
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
214-768-1584
chunnicutt@smu.edu,

Nancy George
SMU News and Communications
214-768-7674
ngeorge@smu.edu 

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