08:10 AM

Modern Head sculpture dedicated on Ohio State campus

A gleaming display of brushed stainless steel, the 31-foot-high Modern Head statue towers over the public walkways of the North Academic Corridor at The Ohio State University.

The Roy Lichtenstein sculpture is designed to turn heads and get students and visitors to take notice. President Michael V. Drake said he hopes the public art proves to be inspirational.

“Public art has the profound ability to spark the imagination and to encourage people to pay attention, considering more carefully the environment they occupy,” Drake said at a public dedication of Modern Head this week.

Dozens of students, faculty and staff lined the area between Smith and McPherson laboratories to learn more about the sculpture and the artist.

An Ohio State alumnus, Lichtenstein graduated from the College of Education in 1946 and earned his Master of Fine Art in 1949. Lichtenstein also taught studio art courses at the university between 1946 and 1951.

Lichtenstein first created the Modern Head sculptural form in 1969, and four similar sculptures are located at Yale University, Matsumoto Dental University in Japan, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Drake noted the sculpture may have its roots in art history, but it points to the university’s future. He pointed out the face of Modern Head is looking toward Ohio State’s emerging art district.

The sculpture is a gift of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Fabrication was funded by the Ohio Percent for Art Program.

“We hope it’s set to engage students and visitors for many years to come,” said Jack Cowart, executive director of the foundation. “By this, we not only honor Roy, but also the best ambitions of The Ohio State University.”

The gift is part of a continuing commitment to Ohio State from the foundation. In 2017, the foundation announced a $6 million gift to the university to permanently endow two high-level named chairs: the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Endowed Chair of Art History and the Roy Lichtenstein Endowed Chair of Studio Art.

Carmen Winant was selected as the inaugural Roy Lichtenstein Chair of Studio Art in July 2018, and Jody Patterson was named the first Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Endowed Chair of Art History in August.

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