AUSTIN, Texas –The College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin has arranged to temporarily display two multicolored fiberglass sculptures by nationally recognized sculptor Luis Jimÿnez. Installation of the art work begins Thursday (Oct. 1) on the plaza in front of the Bass Concert Hall.
Jimÿnez, a 1964 UT Austin graduate in art, will be inducted by the Ex-Students’ Association as one of six distinguished alumni in a ceremony Friday (Oct. 2) in the Bass Concert Hall of the Performing Arts Center.
One Jimÿnez installation will be MesteËo, an eight-foot replica of his 30-foot mustang with electric lights that overlooks Denver’s International Airport. The other sculpture, Lagartos, is a 10-foot replica of a larger version that greets people in the town square fountain in El Paso, where Jimÿnez grew up. “They used to have live alligators in the center of the plaza, and we called it ‘La Plaza de los Lagartos’, the Alligator Plaza,” Jimÿnez said.
This will be the second time a Jimÿnez sculpture has been on campus. Vaquero, a colorful fiberglass Mexican American cowboy astride a bucking horse, was on view on the corner of 23rd street and San Jacinto in 1989, for the exhibition, A Century of Texas Sculpture 1889-1998. The two recent installations will be on campus for at least six months.
Jimÿnez is one of the nation’s most recognized sculptors with public commissions from coast to coast. His sculptures and drawings are now in the most prestigious museums, corporate and private collections. These include Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Rockefeller Foundation in New York.
In 1974, Jimÿnez had his first museum show at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. He believes in reaching a large audience. Jimÿnez says, “What I really wanted to do was public works and expand the audiences. I didn’t like the idea of only having a very limited audience that the museum and gallery represent. I wanted to be an integral part of society.”
Besides his career as a sculptor, Jimÿnez has taught sculpture and printmaking at the University of Houston and the University of Arizona, and he has conducted master classes in conjunction with the Guest Artists in Printmaking program at UT.
David Deming, president of the Cleveland Institute of Art, former dean of the College of Fine Arts and past chair of the art/art history department, says, “I can easily state at this time there is no other artist who has graduated from UT’s art and history department over the past 50 years who carries the distinction and credentials of Luis Jimÿnez.”