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Steel Sculpture Added to Texas Tech Campus

New public art piece installed near the Biology Building on the Texas Tech University campus. 

August 3, 2015 | Written by Doug Hensley

Agave Dreams"Agave Dreams" kneels between the Biology Auditorium and Biology Greenhouse.

The Texas Tech University System Public Art Collection gained a new piece on July 30 with the installation of “Agave Dreams” by Julian Voss-Andreae outside the Biology building on the Texas Tech University campus.

The 10-foot-tall, painted and polished stainless steel kneeling sculpture is made from triangles and represents a human humbly working to understand his or her place in creation.

“Last year I made a piece with male and female figures kneeling on the ground,” said Voss-Andreae. “They were humble and modest, and it drove something home to me about human’s attitudes. When the call came from Texas Tech, I started thinking about how that sense of humility fits into the world of academic science.”

The artist said the body is a “triangle mesh” (a polyhedron with triangular facets) consisting of more than 1,000 triangles. About half are large ones for the body with the other half smaller for the hands and face.

“The design started out with human models and 3-D scans of them and then successive steps of designing, first in full resolution and then using different algorithms from computer science to get to the cubist-looking state with very few triangles,” he explained.

Voss-Andreae said he used parts from two different models with the key to fabricating this sculpture being the use of his own custom written software. That transforms the triangles into laser cutting instructions that allow the fabrication.

“It’s kind of like a giant puzzle,” he said.

The selected color is blue, which represents the sky and water while providing a calming effect and complementing existing colors in the space. The sculpture seems to be blessing an agave planted between the figure's hands, providing a holistic view of giving back to the natural world. The piece is incorporated with the plants on site and provides a central approach to viewing nature.

“We are proud to include ‘Agave Dreams’ as one of the newest additions to the Texas Tech University System’s Public Art Collection,” said Emily Wilkinson, public art manager. “This piece is a unique addition to our varied collection, specific to its location, but also contributing to the overall outstanding quality of the public art collection.”

"Agave Dreams" is located south of the Biology Building between the Biology Greenhouse and Biology Auditorium. Voss-Andreae said fabrication began on the piece in February after several months of design work.

“I feel it is critical for art to reconnect the dots and bring things full circle,” he said. “In this instance, the question is, ‘What does it mean to be human? How do we fit into this very, very large system, so complex and so beautiful?' My idea was to make a visual metaphor for that.”

About the Texas Tech University System 
The Texas Tech University System is one of the top public university systems in Texas and the nation, consisting of four component institutions—Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Angelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso—and operating at more than 12 academic sites and centers.  Headquartered in Lubbock, Texas, the TTU System has an annual operating budget of $1.7 billion and approximately 17,000 employees focused on advancing higher education, health care, research and outreach.

In 2014, the TTU System’s endowment exceeded $1 billion, total research expenditures were approximately $215 million and total enrollment approached 47,000 students. Whether it’s contributing billions of dollars annually in economic impact or being the only system in Texas to house an academic institution, law school, and health-related institution at the same location, the TTU System continues to prove that anything is possible.

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