No admission required: Five art installations on campus to check out

Justin Jones

UT-Austin’s campus is inarguably beautiful. From grassy malls to awe-inducing architecture — save for Robert Lee Moore Hall — visual grandeur is around every corner.

Artistic elegance is easy to find as well with campus and its surrounding areas hosting a wealth of museums and exhibition spaces, but some of UT’s greatest creative beauty can be found outside those confines, no museum admission required — you just need to know where to look.

“And That’s The Way It Is,” aka the south side of the CMA 

Jesse H. Jones Communications Building A, located at the southwest corner of Whitis and Dean Keeton, may appear to be just another bland, rectangular building on campus, especially in the shadow of the more cutting-edge Belo Center across the street.

At night, however, its south side, which faces Walter Cronkite Plaza, becomes a projector screen for the text of news broadcasts, giving an intimidating, dystopian vibe to the building. The massive wall, with large block letters of news scripts quickly scrolling by, looks straight out of George Orwell’s “1984.”

Creator Ben Rubin designed the work in 2012, and it combines archival scripts from Cronkite-era broadcasts with contemporary broadcast scripts. Much like the University itself, Rubin brings together old and new styles to create something wholly individual.

“The Color Inside,” aka the roof of the SAC 

Many students visit the Student Activity Center for its Starbucks, napping areas or the fact that it has the only (good) Chick-Fil-A on campus, but few know of the art installation on the rooftop.

“The Color Inside,” created by experimental artist James Turrell, is an open-roofed reflection space by day, but becomes a reservation-only art exhibition every evening at sunset. Colored lights shine on the walls, changing to contrast the color of the sky, which is often affected by the weather. It is certainly something every student should experience at some point, provided they make reservations early enough in advance.

“Wall Drawing #520” as well as the entire interior of the GDC 

The Gates Dell Complex stands out from the decades-old architecture surrounding it. The main lobby, with futuristic architecture and staircases galore, looks like an Apple-designed Hogwarts. It also has one of the simplest art installations on campus, with an equally efficient name: “Wall Drawing #520.”

Geometric in nature, artist Sol LeWitt uses basic shapes and simple colors to create an elegant, out-of-the-ordinary work of art to match the building that houses it.

“OneEveryone,” in the HLB 

The recently completed Health Learning Building, located at 15th and Red River near the Frank Erwin Center, houses one of campus’s more bizarre pieces of art.

Titled “OneEveryone,” American artist Ann Hamilton’s creation displays slightly blurry photos of people of various heights, ages, skin colors and body types. Her particular style of photography gives the photos an odd appearance, making it hard to look away. Though Hamilton’s piece is a bit out of the way for many students, it is certainly worth the trek.

“Curve and Shadow, No. 2,” in the CLA 

The piece of art installed into the ground in the sunlit lobby of the Liberal Arts building looks like something out of Walt Disney’s “Tomorrowland.” It is sleek, simple and abstract.

The sculpture, by artist Juan Hamilton, reflects its surroundings while also casting a long, elegant shadow, making it something of a contradiction. It could also easily pass for a door handle — but as they say, art is subjective.