In 1960, Emmanuel Missionary College became Andrews University. During the following decade of explosive growth, students and faculty were eager to help the new University establish itself as a credible institution. New buildings sprung up, and it was in this spirit of progress and development that a handful of sculptures began to appear across campus.
Corten Steel Sculpture
The first piece of modern art came to Andrews University in 1966, as a gift from the graduating senior class. The 1,300-pound sculpture that rotates on its axis is made of Corten steel, a material designed to rust into a warm brown color over time, and was designed by Timothy Malone, who was a graduate student and part-time instructor at the University of Notre Dame at the time. The sculpture bears the University motto, Corpus, Mens, Spiritus, on one side and an imperfect circle representing the globe and two curved meridian lines on the other. The sculpture was scheduled to be installed in December of 1966, but because of Malone’s illness and an imbalance in the piece, the installation was delayed until April of 1967.
The piece sparked vicious controversy once it was installed. As it had not rusted to its full beauty, many students thought it was an unsightly addition and deplored what they believed was a waste of money. In the era of student protests, some activists even threw paint on the piece shortly before graduation in 1967. Others were more accepting, and agreed that the sculpture would need time to integrate into the students’ mindset before it could be fully accepted.
The sculpture played an important part in the beginnings of the Science Complex in the late 60s. The University had contacted the architectural firm of Giffels and Rossetti, a reputable firm that had designed many prominent buildings. The architectural team expressed some apprehension regarding the type of clients that would be found at a small, rural, denominational school. But as they walked the sidewalks between Nethery Hall and the Administration building, they saw the sculpture. They said to themselves, “If these people will accept a sculpture like that on their campus, they are open-minded enough that they are not afraid to accept new ideas.” The sculpture stayed, unharmed, and work on the Science Complex began.
“Wrestlers”Robert Slaughter was a senior art student in 1969, taking the class Special Problems in Art. He had created several small stone sculptures during his time at Andrews, and wanted to attempt a large stone piece for his final project. The chairman of the art department expressed hesitation that the project could be completed, but Slaughter had the tools and the desire, and created several models.
He planned to donate the sculpture to the university once it was completed, and it was determined that the best location for the piece would be the walkway between the gym and the recently constructed pool. The subject of wrestlers was chosen because it would produce the most tension in the least space. It also represents the various struggles students wrestle with every day: financial, academic and spiritual.
He was able to present the models to the chairman of the physical education department, President Richard Hammill, and the chief financial officer of the university all in one afternoon. The chief financial officer ordered a two-ton chunk of limestone from the same mine as the materials for the Science Complex.
Over the next four months, Slaughter used old-fashioned hand-sculpting tools to chip away the limestone and reveal the wrestlers, and the piece was installed in early 1970. The sculpture and its setting has been called “one of the most intimate and reflective places to go on campus.”After graduation, Slaughter was employed by Freeman Studios of Berrien and later by Penton Media, a large magazine designer and graphics producer.
Designed specifically for the patio of the Science Complex in 1971, Alan Collins’ 22-foot sculpture “Regeneration” exudes life and energy. The sculpture was created as a complement to the rectilinear architecture of the Science Complex, and incorporates ideas central to the work of the Christian scientist. The looping, curving ribbon resembles the joining and division of molecules, the intricately twisted DNA molecule, or the form of a mandorla, a medieval symbol of Jesus Christ. At no point does the ribbon ever touch itself in its course, suggesting the course of life. The four forms extending out to passersby represent the four primitive elements—earth, air, water and fire—in subject (horizontal) forms at Jesus’ Second coming.
The sculpture’s completion was scheduled to coincide with the dedication of the Science Complex, but unavoidable delays pushed its display to fall of 1975. After the 22-foot-high model was completed, two faculty and a student worker spent most of the summer of 1975 computing the amount of steel rebar needed to reinforce the sculpture. Just less than two miles of steel rebar wind throughout “Regeneration,” covered by 60 tons of concrete.
Collins’ work can be found throughout the United States and Great Britain. He received the Sir Otto Beit Medal for his stone sculptures at Guildford Cathedral in England. When the citizens of England donated land at Runnymeade in memorial of John F. Kennedy, he was commissioned to inscribe the memorial. His sculptures grace the General Conference headquarters of the Trans-Europe division in St. Albans, England, and various Adventist universities, as well as commissioned pieces for churches, hospitals and businesses.
Hazen’s concrete wall
Only when you stand next to the piece, touch it, and look through its cutout forms do you get a sense of the immensity of the piece. The trees and stream of traffic around the PMC circle camouflage the powerful statement Wayne Hazen’s 26-foot-high concrete behemoth makes. The piece itself is simple—forms of a cross and circle cut out of sharply angled concrete—but its symbols span all eternity.
The idea was proposed by President Richard Lesher, when he learned that Hazen planned to leave the Andrews University faculty in 1985. He asked Hazen to create a piece to leave with the University. At the time, the Seventh-day Adventist church was in the process of developing the 27 Fundamental Beliefs. Lesher, Hazen and others agreed that the new piece should display some of these central themes. The idea of God as ultimate Creator and His salvation were determined to be the most central, and Hazen incorporated these themes into his designs. Hazen was also working on a series of visual art projects that involved using waste materials to positively influence viewers’ perceptions of the environment, and it was for this reason that he chose to make the 36-ton wall out of concrete and marble aggregate.
The entire sculpture is meant to convey the power and love of God. The wall that rises solidly to the sky is bent at right angles, which signify stability and completion. The cross has been a symbol associated with Christianity since Jesus died, and still represents His sacrifice and love for us. The circle, long thought to be a pagan symbol, was the original symbol of God’s sustaining grace and perfection, and a daily reminder of our relationship with God.
After leaving Andrews University in 1985, Hazen returned to being a full-time artist. He later joined the art faculty at Atlantic Union College, where he teaches today.