Back in the 1980s, Rice University considered commissioning a large-scale work from American sculptor Mark di Suvero. Instead, it chose earth artist Michael Heiser, whose three-part sculpture "45, 90, 180" now graces the university's engineering quad. Thirty years later, Rice finally has a di Suvero, and it has been installed behind Herzstein Hall, right off the main quad, only a stone's throw from the Heiser sculpture
The sculpture, entitled "Po-um (Lyric)", has already been installed, although it will only be formally unveiled later this fall. The piece, originally installed on Governor's Island in New York City, was a gift from an anonymous donor. Members of the university's public art committee flew to New York to view the sculpture last year, and eventually voted to accept the donation. The sculpture was disassembled right before Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast last fall. Although it escaped that storm, Rice Public Art Assistant Director Emily Stein hopes it can withstand any hurricanes that lash Houston.
The sculpture is actually a giant weather vane, intended to rotate in high winds. However, it's so heavy that no one has actually observed it moving yet.
"It looks like it has rotated a little bit since we installed it, but that could just be my imagination," Stein says.