Speaking Out

Some Personal 'Bests'

This is in response to the "Best Art on Campus" list in the February 18 Compass feature in Almanac. It deals with the University's collection of Fine Arts and Architecture and asks two highly qualified faculty experts, to list their favorite choices. It is not often that attention is called to Penn's art treasures and to the contribution they make in raising the cultural consciousness of all of us.

Although to a great degree Penn's art treasures bring a subliminal influence to bear, they play a significant role in shaping the values and personalities of our young people during their time spent at Penn.

Having said my thank yous, I would like, if I may, to add a few more items to the "Best Art on Campus" list. I begin with a veritable treasure trove of sculptures now stored away in some remote stacks of Meyerson Hall. I refer to the largescale models constructed by the distinguished French Engineer, Robert le Ricolais, with the help of his Architecture students. They were fabricated to support le Ricolais' research in the effects of stress on structure in space. Seen as sculptural works of art they need no further rationale.

Another candidate for my "best" is the rarely visited collection of R. Tait McKenzie's sculpture in the Gimbel Gym's Art Gallery. And I would certainly include Harry Bertoia's cascade of shimmering bronze, hanging from the lofty ceiling in the Annenberg Center's lobby. Added to my list is Sam Maitin's joyouslycolored abstract relief on the wall of the Annenberg School.

My list would not be complete without Archipenko's mysterious bronze King Solomon standing guard outside the Hillel Foundation on the 36th Street Walk.

Call it hubris if you will, but I take pride in having played an important part in the selection and installation of the two Annenberg pieces and Archipenko's Solomon.

-- Maurice S. Burrison, Director, Faculty Club Art Gallery


Volume 43 Number 25
March 11, 1997

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