LEAPsters Know Anish Kapoor

Houston recently acquired “Cloud Column,” which is also called “The Upright Bean.”  It’s a work of art by Anish Kapoor, whose most famous work is the “Bean” (formally called “Cloud Gate”) in Chicago.  Houston’s acquisition of this work has spurred a heated exchange between Houston and Chicago.  In this exchange, a Chicago writer called Houston a “cultural abyss” and a  Houston writer referred to Chicago as a “has-bean.”

While we’ll leave it to others to argue about the merits of Kapoor’s various works, we keep visiting them when we get a chance!  Our first chance was at the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, where works by Claes Oldeburg, Louise Bourgeois, and Jesus Moroles overshadowed a smaller Kapoor piece.  But that wasn’t the case in Chicago, where the famous bean caught the students’ attention.

And, of course, with the “Cloud Column” in Houston, we have new opportunities to explore Kapoor’s art, such as when Christina Perez visited…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art, Anish Kapoor, Cloud Column, Houston

…or when Karla Rosales visited a few days later.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art, Anish Kapoor, Cloud Column, Houston

More or less simultaneously, separate LEAPsters were in Phoenix checking out Kapoor’s “Upside Down, Inside Out.”  Unlike most of his work since 1995, this piece isn’t stainless steel, but it is reflective and curved, distorting space and perception.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art, Anish Kapoor, Phoenix, Upside Down Inside Out

We’re not sure which of the ones we’ve seen are the best, but we are sure we are pleased to have one close to home!

Image result for Houston Cloud Column

National Book Awards at SHSU: 2018

by Bianca Saldierna

The National Book Awards Festival returned to Sam Houston State University this April as part of an annual tradition. The NBAF–sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing, and spearheaded by Amanda Nowlin-Obanion–brought three recent NBA finalist and winners to our university.

This year, Lisa Ko, Danez Smith, and Jason Reynolds joined us for a reception and a mainstage reading & discussion which was free and open to the public. Jason Reynolds, a New York Times bestselling author, was the 2016 Finalist in Young People’s Literature for his book Ghost and the 2017 Finalist for his book Long Way Down.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, National Book Awards at SHSU, Jason Reynolds

Danez Smith was the 2017 Finalist in poetry for Don’t Call Us Dead. Lisa Ko, was the 2017 Finalist in Fiction for her book The Leavers.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, National Book Awards at SHSU, Lisa Ko

The LEAP Ambassadors are always honored to have the opportunity to meet inspiring and talented people such as these authors.

For the reception, Beatriz and I joined the visiting authors and several important and well-known community and university figures such as President Dana Hoyt, Mayor Andy Brauninger, Provost Dick Eglsaer, Vice Provost Mary Robbins, Dean Phillip Lyons, and LEAP’s life-long friends, the Woodwards! Throughout the evening, we enjoyed the delicious finger food and interesting conversations that echoed through the room. Certainly, attending to the reception served us well, as we are a few weeks away from graduation and we needed people who inspired us to live our lives more fully and creatively!

Thank you to the organizers for all their hard work and for giving us the opportunity to attend share an evening with them.

 

LEAP and LOVE and Robert Indiana

The LEAP Ambassadors were saddened to hear of Robert Indiana’s passing last week.  Indiana was part of “pop-art” generation of artists that came of age in the 1950s and 1960s, and he is best known for his “LOVE” sculpture.

As far as we can tell, there are 21 such LOVE sculptures in the United States, and the LEAP Ambassadors have visited seven of them.  Our most frequently visited of his sculptures is at the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in New Orleans…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, Besthoff Sculpture Garden

…but we’ve also made multiple visits to the Indiana sculpture at Crystal Bridges, in NW Arkansas…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, Crystal Bridges

Some campuses are fortunate enough to have Indiana’s sculptures, and we’ve visited two of those, one on OU’s campus in Norman…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, OU Norman

…and one in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, University of Pennsylvania

Speaking of Philadelphia, they also have one near City Hall…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, Philadelphia

The first such sculpture was in Indiana, which displays Indiana in front of work by another pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, Indianapolis Art Museum

Indiana’s Capitol Building also showcases “LOVE,” but not in sculpture form…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, Indiana Capitol

The City of Scottsdale showcases a “LOVE” sculpture near their civic plaza…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, Scottsdale

…and we saw a version of LOVE (by another artist) in Odessa, next to versions of Rothko and O’Keeffe…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE,

…our least favorite “LOVE” sculpture was in San Antonio, where the sculpture was wrapped up to protect it while the Museum did construction.  We searched for far too long, wondering why we couldn’t find it, only to realize it was in this ridiculous-looking wrapped box.

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, , San Antonio

Interestingly, not all of the “LOVE” sculptures say L-O-V-E.  This one in DC, for example, says A-M-O-R.

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, Washington DC

That’s eight versions of LOVE, not counting the one that San Antonio boxed up, and not counting the stamps or the non-sculptural versions of the piece we have seen.

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, Indianapolis Art Museum

With trips this summer planned for San Antonio and Kansas, we’ll add at least two more to our list, leaving eleven more before we become Robert Indiana completists.

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Robert Indiana, LOVE, Indianapolis Art Museum

For more on Robert Indiana, check out this page.

 

Lubbock and the Law

It was great to finally be back in our great state of Texas, and the lure of home was great.  But so, too, was the lure of Texas Tech Law, which several of the LEAP Ambassadors–particularly Karla Rosales–aspire to attend.

Before heading to Texas Tech Law, we made a quick stop by Prairie Dog Town…

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Prairie Dog Town

…where we got to see a lot of cute prairie dogs!

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The weather was rainy, but that did not stop us or them from having a great time.

We then headed to our next stop, Texas Tech School of Law. This was particularly the best part for me, as Texas Tech Law is my top-choice law school and it was my first time to be able to visit the school.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech

Even though it was a Sunday morning, we were able to go inside the building and explore. As we walked in, we were welcomed by the West Texas Legal Legends wall where there are plaques for distinguished Texas Tech Alumni. We continued by taking a quick tour of the building…

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech

… and the Mark and Becky Lanier Professional Development Center where the auditorium and the Donald Hunt Courtroom are located.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech

We continued our exploration of Texas Tech and learned that Texas Tech actually has a lot of public art and beauty throughout their campus.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Karla Rosales

We saw a couple of Jesus Moroles sculptures, which are always nice to see as we can make that connection to Huntsville.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Jesus Moroles

We also saw an art piece by one of my favorite artists, Deborah Butterfield. The piece was titled “Water River” and depicts a life-size horse.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Deborah Butterfield

The material used looks just like twisted tree branches, but is actually bronze! Her art is so fascinating to see. Another one of our favorite was called “The Read Reader” also known as “The Bookman,” by Terry Allen…

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech

…which we have learned so much about at the Moody Gallery in Houston.

One of the other artists we have learned about on this trip is Glenna Goodacre, who does representational sculptures, and is from Lubbock, TX.  We had seen her art in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Denver, and, just off Glenna Goodacre Blvd in Lubbock, we were able to see her on Texas Tech’s campus.  In fact, we were able to pose as her figures!

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Glenna Goodacre

 

It’s always nice to see famous artists around the country and find a local connection. Texas Tech definitely is full of wonderful art pieces all over campus…

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Agave Dreams

 

…and it is fascinating to see how it enriches the cultural life on campus through diverse public art by many famous artists. ​

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Robert Bruno

And with that last glimpse, we headed back to our home in Huntsville.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech