New Contemporary Sculptures for Stanford

Contact: Hilarie Faberman, Robert M. and Ruth L. Halperin Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, 650-725-3499; or Jill Osaka, Public Relations Manager, 650-725-4657.

STANFORD, CA AUGUST 1999 - Several important sculptures by notable contemporary American artists have been installed recently in the precincts of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. Beverly Pepper's Split Pyramid of 1971, the gift of Doris and Donald Fisher, is located in the north sculpture garden of the Cantor Arts Center. Charles Ginnever's Rashomon of 1993-98 is a group of four sculptures. The four works are a two-year loan from the artist and the Gerald Peters Gallery of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and are sited on the acreage in front of the Center bounded by Museum Way, Lomita Mall, and Campus and Palm Drives. Deborah Butterfield's Untitled of 1999, a sculpture of a horse, is in the Center's lobby, thanks to the generous loan of Burt and Deedee McMurtry. Each of these works of art adds important new elements to the Center's sculpture holdings and to the collection of outdoor art on campus.

Split Pyramid by Beverly Pepper is a work composed of two unequal triangles of Cor-Ten steel. One triangle lies on the ground and other seems to impale it. Depending on the spectator's viewpoint, the triangles can either appear as two distinct elements or as a single volumetric unit. Moreover, the sculpture seems either flat or three-dimensional depending on how one approaches it, and whether it appears to be sitting on or piercing the earth. The sculpture is a wonderful foil and complement to the much larger sculpture in Cor-Ten steel Call Me Ishmael of 1986 by Richard Serra, which is also sited in the Center's north sculpture garden and is a loan from Doris and Donald Fisher. Together both works suggest how vantage point and viewer are essential to the reading of minimalist sculpture.

Charles Ginnever's work Rashomon was inspired by the movie of 1951 of the same title by the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. In the film a number of individuals relate the story of the same event in entirely different narratives. In sculptures such as Rashomon, Ginnever explodes preconceptions about perspective and perception. His sculptures reveal different readings as the viewer interacts with them through space and time. The four Rashomon sculptures (part of a projected group of fifteen) are actually similar configurations: they are irregular polygons some of whose facets are open, and thus transparent. However, these similar sculptures appear quite different depending on how they are sited and experienced in the landscape.

Deborah Butterfield's untitled bronze horse, the loan of Burt and Deedee McMurtry, is delighting visitors to the Cantor Art Center. Butterfield has explored the mare as her subject for over twenty years. Although the horse throughout history has symbolized power, this particular role was not of interest to the artist, who uses the animal as a surrogate ego and vehicle to express her feelings. Untitled was cast in bronze from an original model made in driftwood. The technique used to make the sculpture is especially noteworthy for its convincing simulation of the texture, shape, and color of the wood.

These sculptures by distinguished artists broaden the scope and further the mission of the Cantor Arts Center and the outdoor art program at Stanford. They provide excellent and thought-provoking works of art to the university's students, faculty, staff, and visitors, and will intrigue those who spend the time engaging with them. The Center's Education department offers free public tours of the university's expansive outdoor art collection the first Sunday of each month at 2:00pm. For more information, call 650-723-3469.