Thursday, September 18, 2008


Well, I guess there was some doubt as to the, shall we say 'manliness' of the UT Tower, so the powers that be (and that may include the actual Powers, as in Bill) have decided to adorn it with an proportionally sized set of, well, balls.

This is actually a sculpture, on loan to UT from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, as part of a campus-wide public art project. The thought is, apparently, that the Met has so much stuff that they cannot display, they've turned to partnerships with public universities like UT to provide a venue for it.

On paper, this sounds like a good idea, but in practice, I have to ask, "What were you thinking?" Perhaps, in this era of post-modern deconstructionism, the panel choosing the sculptures and their locations have overlooked some basic observational tools like iconographic interpretation.

Of course, it's a joke. It's not an expression of ignorance, but a deliberate statement about the role of art--specifically sculpture--on our campus. While it certainly is a funny visual gag, and while the sculpture in this context has some amusing subtexts (like the pennies glued to the balls), it is also an overwhelmingly obvious symbol of the elitist 'old southern' mentality that the University has become infamous for.

Seriously, in an era when it takes ten years to erect a statue of a national hero like Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez, and the statues of great Civil War heroes cannot seem to be moved to less prominent places on campus, it seems fittingly ironic to place a sculpture like this in such an appropriate position.

But then, after all, "We're Texas"!

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