Remember this from last week?
This was discovered yesterday inside the ceiling of an art department room in the first Sewall basement. It’s a piece of art, intricate and exquisitely constructed. Covered with dust, it had clearly been in the ceiling for quite a long time. If you have any idea who made it, where it came from or why it was in the ceiling I would love to hear from you.
Al Cheney taught at Rice from 1969 until 1975 in what was initially called the Department of Fine Arts. Cheney, hired to teach “New Media,” set up the department shop and served as its supervisor in addition to teaching. He was apparently a popular instructor as well as a congenial colleague and an active, creative artist whose work aimed at a synthesis of art, engineering and technology. The “Accelerator VII” described in the article is surely what was found in the Sewall ceiling. Why was it in the ceiling? My best bet is that Cheney, by reputation an accomplished practitioner of the dark art of stashing things in overlooked hidey-holes around campus, tucked it up there intending to retrieve it fairly quickly, then left Rice and forgot about it. He died in 2007 so we’ll never really know.
I’m also fascinated by the article as a whole, which made me realize that the early history of the visual arts at Rice is something I’ve never really delved into. Coincidentally, earlier in the week I came across plans for Allen Center that show the layout of the department when it was temporarily housed there. I also discovered that we have the papers of John O’Neill, the first chairman. So off I go . . .
Also, can anyone tell me about the provocatively named Red Garter?
Bonus: Speaking of puddles, an alert reader sends this image of the stadium parking lot after Hurricane Ike in 2008.
It reminds me of this, not too far from the same spot in 1912: