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Massive UMass Boston art installation set to leave campus

Posted by Your Town  April 25, 2013 11:37 AM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

Crews dismantling the work of art.

Huru, the giant recycled steel sculpture that has greeted students and faculty for well over a decade as they entered the University of Massachusetts Boston, will soon be leaving its seaside perch.

The hulking, 55-foot tall work of art is being dismantled and prepared for shipment to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as the university makes way for its new Integrated Sciences Complex.

Loaned to the school by its artist Mark di Suvero, the statue, which weighs well over 36,000 pounds, was the first piece of art loaned to the school as part of its Arts on the Point program.

“The statue has stood on that location with majesty and grace for more than a decade,” said Professor Paul Tucker, director and founder of Arts on the Point. “I hope it’s engrained itself on the students’ and faculty’s hearts.”

On Wednesday crews were busy dismantling the contraception that balances a six-ton piece of steel on ball bearings, allowing it to be gently sway in the winds that blow across Columbia Point.

“What Mark di Suvero has been able to do is take these remnants and reshape them,” said Tucker. “He’s been able to take discarded materials and turn them into fantastic art.”

It’s not certain if the sculpture, which came to the university from the Storm King Art Center in New York, will come back to the campus any time soon.

Tucker said he, however, will be lobbying for the eventual return of Huru, which means hello and goodbye in an aboriginal Australian language.

“The campus is in a fantastic moment of transition,” said Tucker. “When the piece comes back, which we hope it will, we’ll be able to celebrate this campus with the relocation of the work.”

The campus, since Huru was first brought to the site in 1997, currently has more than 10 works of art throughout it, but Tucker said the loss of the piece will leave a void.

”I think there will be a definite absence felt,” Tucker added.

Although the sculpture will be missed, its relocation will make way for the completion of the university’s Integrated Sciences Complex. Currently at the 50 percent completion mark, the new academic building is expected to be completed by fall 2014.

The college broke ground on the $185 million, 222,000-square-foot building in June 2011. The structure was topped off in February 2012.

The new building, near the entrance of the Columbia Point school, will be a six-story structure that will include dry and wet research laboratories along with support space, an infant-cognition lab, undergraduate biology teaching labs and two research centers.


(Image courtesy UMass Boston)

The statue before the construction of the ISC.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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