O N E E V E R Y O N E at Dell Medical School

Landmarks, The University of Texas at Austin’s public art program, will unveil O N E E V E R Y O N E, a community-based photography project by Ann Hamilton on January 26-28, 2017. A site-responsive commission for the university’s Dell Medical School, the project includes: 71 porcelain enamel portrait panels; a 900-page book designed by Hamilton that will circulate freely; a newspaper with texts by scientists, philosophers, poets, and essayists; and a website for the public to download her images. Hamilton photographed more than 500 volunteers in various Austin locations, making this the largest O N E E V E R Y O N E portrait series developed to date. To complement the unveiling, an exhibition at the university’s Visual Arts Center (VAC) will feature a selection of smaller portraits and offer an examination of the artist’s process.

The commission of Hamilton’s work was initiated by Landmarks, one of the most important public art programs to emerge at an American university. On view throughout Austin’s 433-acre main campus, the Landmarks collection includes works by Michael Ray Charles, Mark di Suvero, David Ellis, Sol LeWitt, Marc Quinn, Ben Rubin, Nancy Rubins, and James Turrell. Landmarks’ public art collection is broadly accessible and free to all, providing opportunities for students and visitors to engage with great works of art.   “Hamilton’s commission extends many of her longstanding concerns, expressed in Austin as a series of photographs among other forms,” said Andrée Bober, the founding director of Landmarks. “Her portraits represent individuals and encompass the full arc of human existence—where life appears, where the soma and psyche are cared for, and where it ends.” Clay Johnston, dean of the Dell Medical School adds, “Public art that starts conversations and inspires creativity and community connections is vital to the culture we strive to promote. In particular, the collaboration at the core of this project reflects the medical school's close connection with our community, as well as the important role that all people play in improving health."

Ann Hamilton was engaged by Landmarks in a series of residencies to create portraits of community members. At twelve locations throughout Austin, she photographed volunteers through a semi-transparent membrane that registers in focus only what immediately touches its surface. The more than 500 participants included caregivers, faculty, students, staff, community partners, civic leaders, and patients—everyone who has provided or received care.

Among many expressions of Hamilton’s project, 25 portraits have been selected to become full-scale enamel panels to be permanently installed at public thresholds in the Dell Medical School’s Health Discovery and Health Learning Buildings. Forty-six smaller panels featured in the VAC exhibition will be relocated to additional spaces within the medical school complex following the exhibition. Hamilton’s photographic library of approximately 21,000 images may be used in future buildings of the Dell Medical School as well as in other graphic applications, including a book that contains images of each participant. Ten thousand copies will be given to the public, and portraits will be available to download online, both for free. 

The VAC exhibition, curated by Landmarks, opens January 27 and is on view through February 24. It contains enamel portrait panels, books, newspapers, and process information. Moreover, authors from a range of disciplines were selected by Hamilton to contribute interpretive texts that will be published online and in a newspaper available in the exhibition. Writers include Laurel Braitman, Matthew Goulish, Kris Paulsen, Nancy Princenthal, Brian Rotman, Natalie Shapero, Meg Shevenock, and Katie Stewart.  Partner institutions include: Central Health/Southeast Health and Wellness Center, The Contemporary Austin, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, Seton Healthcare Family, Dell Medical School, Department of Art & Art History, Humanities Institute, Huston-Tillotson University, North Central Health Center, The Senate Chamber at the Texas State Capitol, Visual Arts Center, and Westminster Retirement Community.

The project supports Landmarks’ broader strategy to develop an extraordinary public art collection that both enhances the aesthetic character of the campus and supports pedagogy. An ongoing percent-for-art allocation ensures the collection develops in tandem with the rapid expansion of the campus. With the addition of Hamilton’s portraits, Landmarks adds its first photography to the collection as it continues to advance its mission to present iconic works of art.

Established in 2008, Landmarks is the award-winning public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. Founding director Andrée Bober leads the development of the collection and oversees a vibrant range of programs that support scholarship and learning. Landmarks places outdoor public art according to the university’s Public Art Master Plan, developed in collaboration with Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architects. Its collection of modern and contemporary works includes 28 sculptures on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, enabling Landmarks to foster learning through its conservation efforts. Landmarks provides technical training for student volunteers who preserve the sculptures, the only known program of its kind in the United States.

By bringing great art to The University of Texas at Austin, Landmarks enriches the lives of students and visitors, engaging thousands of people every day. For more information, visit www.landmarks.utexas.edu.

Text and images courtesy Landmarks.