Guide to the Rice University Michael Heizer sculpture records, 1982-1985 UA 244
The acquisition by Rice University of the Michael Heizer sculpture 45°, 90°, 180° began in a conversation between Mrs. George R. Brown and Chairman of the Art Department William Camfield when they were both members of a committee at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston around 1982. Mrs. Brown told Camfield that she and her husband wanted to commission some art for Rice and asked if he would help them do that. Mrs. Brown authorized the setting up of an account with funds from her estate, and a faculty advisory committee was formed to select the artist who would be commissioned to create the Brown gift. Among the criteria guiding selection were that the artist be a living American already established as among the outstanding sculptors of our time and that the sculpture created might be related to engineering.
A proposal considered to fulfill these and other criteria well was submitted by Michael Heizer with the title 45°, 90°, 180°. The intended work was to consist of very large granite stones supported by steel frames at angles of 45°, 90°, and 180°. Three seventy-ton slabs of Texas granite were quarried at Marble Falls and transported to Houston on three 36-wheel flatbed trucks in the first week of December 1984. The chosen site, the quadrangle of the Brown School of Engineering, had been prepared in October and November by the setting of concrete pedestals. Then on December 8 and 9 the granite slabs were put in place. One distinction of the sculpture is that its component slabs are among the largest natural objects to be transported by modern man.
The collection consists of print and photographic materials related to the commissioning and installation on the Rice campus of Michael Heizer’s three-part granite sculpture 45°, 90°, 180°. The records include background on how Rice came to be given the work and what the criteria were that guided selection of Heizer as the sculptor. The monumental tasks of bringing the granite to the chosen site and then fixing the slabs to their pedestals are well represented by the collection’s photographs. There are also newsclippings covering both transportation of the granite and the installation.
Finally the collection includes material related to the dedication of the sculpture and the exhibition featuring Heizer’s work that was mounted in the gallery of the School of Architecture at the time of the dedication, January 24, 1985. There are multiple copies of the twenty-three-page catalogue written for the exhibition by William Camfield of the Rice Art Department.
Conditions Governing Access
This material is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish from this material must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Libriary, Rice University, Houston, Texas.
Donated by Dr. Bill Camfield; Received 6/21/99.
Detailed Description of the Collection