The five towering, twisted metal sculptures seen near the lagoon and in the Lory Student Center Plaza came to CSU last summer and were supposed to leave in April, but CSU wouldn’t mind them staying longer.
But when the bizarre sculptures, forged by California artist Bret Price, depart campus, the university won’t be bringing any more sculptures to CSU.
Sculpturescape, the organization charged with procuring art for campus, doesn’t have the funding to replace Prices work, said Fred Haberecht, the university’s landscape architect.
“The funding was cracked with the economic downturn of 2001,” Haberecht said. “At this point there is nothing in the budget for Sculpturescape.”
The program is funded from the state and Facilities Management’s operational money, the day-to-day funds needed to build sidewalks and plant flowers and trees and maintain the overall quality of the campus. Sculturescape started in 1998 and brought in sculptures to the campus every two years; however, the lack of steady funding has thwarted that plan.
“It is my hope we can continue to view them this upcoming academic year,” said Gary Voss, director of Sculpturescape, of Price’s sculptures. But the associate art professor added, “Once (Price’s) work comes down, the program will be suspended.”
Price, the 59-year-old artist of the oversized metal works, said nothing has been discussed yet about the future of his work.
“It’s great that they stay there. I’ve been told that (CSU) likes them,” Price said.
Some students can’t justify taking his work down just yet.
“I think they work well with where they are situated,” said Lisa Feld, a creative writing graduate student. “It’ll serve no point to take them down if there’s nothing to replace it.”
And some alumni visit the campus just to scope out the sculptures.
“I think they’re a really nice touch to the aesthetic (beauty) of the university,” said Kristi Siedow-Thompson, a CSU alumni with an art degree. “It’s art. Not everyone has to like (the sculptures), but I think they’re cool.”
Among the students rushing off to their summer classes, there’s a popular misconception circling around: Sculpturescape is funded by student tuition.
Voss stressed that nothing was paid for with student money and informs anyone who asks about the program.
Regardless, this common misunderstanding still stands.
“I guess my main question would be (whether) they’re donated,” said Tisa Kunkee, a senior sociology major, not knowing about the funding.
Kunkee wouldn’t mind the sculptures or any art if it was donated, but if the students have to pay, that would be another area of discussion, she said.
But Price isn’t getting paid to have his work on display, said Haberecht, even when the cheapest piece is estimated at $80,000.
“There’s several hundred thousand dollars of sculpture on campus free from the artist,” he said. “The university (only) paid to haul them here and to install them.”
“The money came out of a one-time funding to move the sculptures to campus and to install them,” said Haberecht. “It came to $25,000 (for installation).”
Price said he doesn’t have any bitter feelings, and he’s proud to display them on campus.
“The campus is gorgeous; the setting is beautiful,” he said. “I would much rather (let people) see them than have them in storage.”
Price may be satisfied with where his work is located, but he sometimes speculates what people will think when his work finally leaves CSU.
“When the time comes when (my work) needs to be somewhere else,” Price said, “a truck and crane will come in and everyone will wonder what happened to the sculptures.”
Staff writer Stacey K. Borage can be reached at email@example.com.
Link to interactive CSU’s interactive sculpture map: