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Penny Stamps Speaker Series

Jaume Plensa

Behind the Walls

Friday, February 19, 2021 at 8:00 pm

Jaume Plensa

Photo credit: Patrick Young

Internationally celebrated Spanish artist Jaume Plensa is one of the world’s foremost sculptors in the public realm, with award-winning projects spanning the globe in such cities as Calgary, Chicago, San Diego, Montréal, London, Paris, Dubai, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Plensa’s monumental sculpture Behind the Walls was recently installed outside the front doors of the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Plensa will be in conversation with Christina Olsen, Director of UMMA, and U-M students.

Most well known in the U.S. for his iconic Crown Fountain (2000-2005) at Millenium Park in Chicago, the artist has spent the last 35 years producing a multifaceted body of sculpture that speaks to the capacity and beauty of humanity, often bringing people together through the activation of public spaces. Conventional sculptural materials like glass, steel, and bronze blend with unconventional media such as water, light and sound to create hybrid works of intricate energy, psychological weight, and symbolic richness.

By posing numerous dualities, such as interior and exterior, light and dark, and earth and sky, his works range from intimate, delicate works on paper to monumental public projects, such as the Voices, recently installed at 30 Hudson Yards in New York City, and Echo at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. Plensa unites his diverse practice to evoke inward reflection, silence, and intellectual engagement. Often, viewer participation or the object/viewer relationship is what completes Plensa’s work.

The winner of many national and international awards including the Honorary Doctorate from Univeristat Aut’onoma de Barcelona in 2018 and the 2013 Velazquez Prize awarded by the Spanish Cultural Ministry, Jaume Plensa has had solo museum exhibitions at the MACBA: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid Spain; MAMC–Musée d’art moderne et contemporain Saint-Étienne Métropole, Saint-Étienne, France; Max Ernst Museum Brühl des LVR, Brühl, Germany; The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire, England; and Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas. He lives and works in Barcelona.

Behind the Walls is a University of Michigan Museum of Art purchase made possible by the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family. This event is presented in partnership with UMMA.

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