New York City artist Sarah Sze will be on the campus of Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA on May 8 to dedicate her newest work, “Split Rock (Northwest),” as the piece joins the University’s acclaimed Outdoor Sculpture Collection, including important works from such artists as Richard Serra, Isamu Noguchi, Anthony Caro, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Beverly Pepper, Mark di Suvero and Do-ho Suh.
“We are incredibly proud that Sarah’s piece will become part of Western’s Outdoor Sculpture Collection and join so many other magnificent examples of public art,” said Hafthor Yngvason, the director of the Western Gallery and the Outdoor Sculpture Collection. “It will be in fine company.”
Split Rock (Northwest) will be installed on the lawn in front of Old Main, Western’s oldest building, and will feature a single boulder, split in half. One half will remain upright, while the other will lie on its back, facing the sky, like two halves of an opened geode. In the interior of both halves, viewers will discover a photographic image of the sky at sunset, constructed from fragments of color incised into the cut face of the stone. The same image will be mirrored in the other half, as if the boulder’s core held the fixed image of the sky.
Sze was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1969 and presently lives and works in New York City, where she is a professor of Visual Arts at Columbia University.
Sze represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2013, and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003. She has exhibited in museums worldwide, and her works are held in the permanent collections of prominent institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Fondation Cartier, Paris; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles. Sze’s work has been featured in The Whitney Biennial (2000), the Carnegie International (1999) and several international biennials, including Berlin (1998), Guangzhou (2015), Liverpool (2008), Lyon (2009), São Paulo (2002), and Venice (1999, 2013, and 2015). Sze has also created public works for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the High Line in New York.
Split Rock (Northwest) comes to the WWU campus through funding from the Washington State Arts Commission’s Art in Public places program (AIPP). The Washington State Legislature established the AIPP program in 1974 to acquire artwork for K-12 public schools, colleges, universities, and state agencies, funded by ½ of 1 percent of the state’s portion of construction costs – in this case, of the recent renovation of Western’s Carver Facility. Today, the State Art Collection includes more than 4,700 artworks that are sited where people study, work, and live.