Paul Hester Walks Behind the Library, circa 1982

After he finished photographing the Engineering Quad from all sides, Paul walked over to the back of Fondren and continued taking pictures, again moving in circles and this time climbing up on top of the RMC to get the whole thing. When he finished that he did the same thing over in front of Hamman Hall. (I heard from him yesterday, by the way, and he claims he can’t remember doing any of this but does think he might find the negatives. This would be a massive improvement over the blurry contact sheets so send good thoughts in his direction.)

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These pictures of the back of the library are remarkable–I’ve never seen anything like them before and was quite excited when I realized what they were. Now that the library  has a back door (!) and the Brochstein Pavilion provides a busy gathering place right next to it, it’s easy to forget what a wasteland it used to be back there.

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From this vantage point it’s easy to see how the ’60s addition to Fondren acted as a dam and turned this space into a backwater:

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Not much the other way either:

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So here’s my theory. Reading through the correspondence files in the Sculpture Collection it became clear that for a couple of years in the early 1980s many different possibilities for adding public art to campus were being discussed with the Brown family. This ultimately resulted in the installation of Michael Heizer’s 45° 90° 180° in the Engineering Quad but that was not at all a foregone conclusion at the beginning of the discussions. Other artists and other sites were carefully considered (and the whole thing was thoughtfully, even elegantly, managed by Art Professor Bill Camfield). Both the enormous lawns behind Fondren and in front of Hamman Hall were talked about as potential sites. Therefore, I conclude that that’s why Paul Hester took these pictures that wound up in the Sculpture Collection even though they have no sculpture in them.




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3 Responses to Paul Hester Walks Behind the Library, circa 1982

  1. effegee says:

    Ah, the old Baker/Wiess student parking lot visible through the trees. What a convenience that was instead of having to walk all the way to the stadium lot. In Baker, all seniors and, usually, juniors with cars would get a parking space. My soph year, there were even 4 lucky sophomores (gloat! gloat!)

    Library staff used the half of the lot closer to Fondren.

  2. Paul Hester says:

    Melissa, I found the negatives!! I like your comparison photograph of the No Ride Zone between Brochstein and Fondren. You have inspired me to make some new photographs, following my circles of confusion that day in early 1983. Thank you for finding these contact sheets AND for finding the negative numbers on the back. We never know what will change next. Keep up the good work!

    • Guy says:

      I’m impressed you can find things from long ago. Will we be able to easily find digital photos in 40 years?

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