Princeton website makes significant sculpture collections accessible

Posted June 27th, 2013 under Collections, Internet, Sculptures

Princeton website makes significant sculpture collections accessible
A new mobile-friendly website developed by the Princeton University Art Museum now offers comprehensive access to the distinguished campus art collection installed across the Princeton University campus over the last 50 years.

The Campus Art at Princeton website was designed to function both as a guide for smartphone and tablet users engaging with art on campus and as a resource for desktop users to learn about the works in the outdoor collection. Images and background information on each work, an interactive map and audio clips of Museum curators, conservators, installers, fabricators and photographers are a few of the key features of the website. Additionally, architects and historians contextualize some of the works of art in relation to surrounding architecture and University history.

Among the 48 major artists currently represented by outdoor works on the Princeton campus are Alexander Calder, Michele Oka Doner, Frank Gehry, Gaston Lachaise, Sol LeWitt, Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Antoine Pevsner, Pablo Picasso, George Rickey, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, George Segal, Richard Serra, David Smith and Louis Comfort Tiffany. To make them easy to find, the sculptures are identified on the new website in five campus “neighborhoods”: Main Campus, Social Sciences and Engineering, Natural Sciences, Residential Colleges and the Graduate College.

“Princeton’s collection of public art is one of our treasures, one that literally puts great works of art in the path of everyday life,” said Princeton University Art Museum Director James Steward. “It adds layers of richness and complexity to this beautiful and historic campus and can now be experienced in new ways by users around the world.”

During the University’s first 200 years, public sculptures—primarily commemorative monuments and civic or decorative statues—were used to embellish campus buildings and exterior courtyards. It was not until 1968, with a gift that made possible the development of the John B. Putnam Jr. Memorial Collection, that sculpture as a fine art was embraced and integrated into the whole of the campus. Funded by an anonymous donor as a memorial to Lt. John P. Putnam Jr., a Princeton alumnus killed in World War II, the initial collection was assembled by a committee of expert alumni advisers and has been enhanced with numerous additions over the years. As the campus continues to develop, the public art collection will continue to grow, and new works will be added to the collection and the website. Recent additions include acclaimed contemporary artist Kendall Buster’s clusters of cell-like orbs suspended from the ceiling in the Frick Chemistry building and Odili Donald Odita’s brilliantly colored geometric wall paintings in Butler College.

The website project has been made possible, in part, by generous support from the Kathleen C. Sherrerd Program Fund for American Art and the Virginia and Bagley Wright, Class of 1946, Program Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art. Princeton University’s Campus Art Steering Committee is co-chaired by Princeton University Art Museum Director James Steward and University Architect Ron McCoy.

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