Where art thou?

By Scott Wolchek

The average walk around Oakland University is generally not a slow, artistic experience, but rather, a rushed one. Hardly anyone would stop to smell the roses, much less stop to admire the art on campus, like Sydney Atkinson’s Daystar, located near Meadow Brook Hall.

A careful glance around OU’s campus reveals that art is everywhere. Look around. The Saints and Sinners Fountain is in front of Kresge, the Echo Cognitio is next to The Honors College and Resound is located near Varner Hall.

There are numerous sculptures located all around Meadow Brook Hall− that’s not even counting the 1,500 objects located inside the Oakland University Art Gallery.

You might not know all of the sculptures on campus by name, but perhaps you might recognize them on this page.

The sculptures near Meadow Brook Hall were initiated by the former director of the OUAG, Kiichi Usui, who got the idea to have a modernist sculpture contest back in the 1980s.

Out of the 76 applicants, only six were chosen and still stand on the grounds today.

“They’ve got this look that’s very based on the grid, very rectangular and simple,” said Dick Goody, current director of the OUAG. “There’s a lot of clarity as well, they’re very clear, precise pieces.”

What to feel

Many students might not know how to feel about the art, after all, when you’re heading from South Foundation to Pawley, there isn’t much opportunity to ponder about the grid-like modernist figures scattered around campus.

“I think the best thing to do is not to think too much about it,” said Goody. “But know that it’s there. Know that you can ignore it. Or you can look at it and you can do that many times. And so you have this sort of temporal thing going on with art. You look at it and think ‘oh what the hell is that?’ and then you look at it again 3 months later and look at it again 6 months later. It starts to become familiar in some way, and you start to see it on your terms, rather than being intimidated.”

In other words, you don’t need to feel anything, until they do.

What to do

The art on campus has much potential.

“It’s a resource,” said Goody “It’s a great resource for art, art history and anthropology students alike.”

If you really want to understand and admire the art, Goody suggests taking the time to discover how you feel. You could even take a visit to OUAG in 208 Wilson Hall.

After all, as Goody says, “You don’t become a connoisseur without involving yourself.”`