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Jun Kaneko
2013; Painted Bronze and Stainless Steel; Sculpture
North Campus; In front (west side) of Earl V. Moore Building

Gift of Clarence L. (’51) and Ruth M. Roy. The Heads, single and pairs, smooth and rounded with flat, impassive features, or sometimes without any features at all, came after the Dangos (rounded forms or dumplings in Japanese) and were followed by the Tanukis (a creature found in mythology and nature as a small, nocturnal mammal native to East Asia, also called the raccoon dog). Artist Jun Kaneko began the Heads in the late 1990s and over the years he has increased the size and also had them cast in bronze. He brought his painting skills to his ceramic and bronze works by using Japanese brushes to apply the abstract designs freehand with neutral colorless glazes whose colors emerge after they have been fired. Kaneko melds Japanese aesthetics with American monumental scale and abstraction to achieve his unique works. The critic Arthur Danto has compared the results to colorful kimonos on sumo wrestlers: joyful patterns lightening hulking forms. Having come to the U.S. and California in the 1960s and working with ceramics masters, Kaneko became a part of what later came to be known as the Contemporary Ceramics Movement. His technical skills and a tendency to push artistic boundaries have led him to extraordinary accomplishments in public art, set and costume design, and architectural projects. Since 1986, Jun Kaneko has resided and worked in Omaha, Nebraska.

Arriving Home

Dennis Oppenheim
2007; Steel, acrylic

Central Campus; located between the 1100 North University Building and Chemistry Building

Gift of Jagdish Janveja (BA 1963) and Saroj Janveja (BA 1968) in appreciation of the University’s dedicated staff, whose commitment and strength galvanize our never-ending mission.

With a career producing works in varied genres such as land, conceptual, video and performance art, Dennis Oppenheim’s Arriving Home draws from the artist’s diverse background. Arriving Home uses the tapered extruded form of a house carved into a circle that evokes the cycles of departure, travel and return, with the gradual widening of the spiral suggesting the increasing anticipation of the arrival. In addition, Arriving Home engages with the natural world by reflecting the sun’s rays into changing iridescent light on the surface of the acrylic panels, and also echoes the circular form of Oppenheim’s earlier land works such as Annual Rings, where he shoveled snow in concentric circles along the US-Canada border evoking the rings of a tree. One of several similar sculptures scattered across the globe, the multiplicity of these works locates home in a variety of spaces, expanding the definition of home to include a broader audience. Commemorating the bicentennial anniversary of the founding of the University of Michigan and in particular, the two hundred years of dedication of the university’s faculty and staff, Arriving Home was purchased with funding by alumnus and employee Jagdish Janveja and President Mark Schlissel.

3 Cubes in a Seven Axis Relationship

Philip Stewart

2016; Stainless steel

North Campus

Aspiring to surpass the limits of form through technology, Philip Stewart created 3 Cubes in a Seven Axis Relationship, a 14,000 pound, 25 foot-tall kinetic sculpture. Three large, metal cubes are stacked on their corners and rotate independently around a center axis. Even while stationary, they imply movement through their embossed surfaces and altering rotations. Stewart, a large-scale sculptor, and conservator, was inspired by artists such as David Smith and George Rickey (who also has a work on display on North Campus) in creating works that explore simple geometric form and motion. He especially enjoys “creating pieces that engage not just one type of person, but everyone. This sculpture will be something engineers can problem solve and three-year-olds will stare at in wonderment.” 3 Cubes in a Seven Axis Relationship was commissioned by the College of Engineering to honor the late Charles Vest, U-M alumnus, former dean of the College of Engineering, provost, president of the National Academy of Engineering, and president of MIT. The sculpture acknowledges and continues Vest’s legacy to establish a collection of public artworks on U-M’s North Campus, which now includes works by Fletcher Benton, Maya Lin, and Beverly Pepper.

Relief Sculpture IV

Jan Peter Stern
1965; Bronze Alloy; Sculpture
North Campus; Courtyard, east side of Engineering Research Building

Commissioned as part of the construction of this building complex (formerly called the Institute for Science and Technology), this piece was designed to relate to the architecture of the building, from its rectangular outline to its tall slender windows.

Peregrine Section

Richard Hunt
1975; Cor-Ten Steel; Sculpture
North Campus; Courtyard, north side of Bentley Historical Library

Gift of Hobart Taylor, Jr., in memory of his father, Hobart Taylor, Sr. Commissioned for this site, the piece was made to relate directly to its companion piece, Historical Circle. Taylor, Jr., a U-M alumnus, wished to create a memorial to his father, who was a leader in the Civil Rights movement in Texas and chose to do so with a gift to the Bentley Historical Library. It was the artist, Hunt, who decided to create two pieces for the courtyard which would complement each other.

Painted Steel

Bill Barrett (MFA 1960)
1994; Steel; Sculpture
North Campus; Courtyard between Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Building and G.G. Brown Lab

Gift of Alice Simsar. Barrett is also the sculptor of the Tooth Fairy, located on Central Campus, Untitled #29 on North Campus, and Kindred located on the west side of the School of Social Work.


Jon Rush
1966; Bronze; Sculpture
North Campus; East side of Pierpont Commons

Gift of the Class of 1961. A professor of sculpture at U-M’s School of Art & Design from 1962 to 2006, Rush is also the sculptor of the Koszonom Raoul Wallenberg Memorial memorial also on North Campus, Sunstructure at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and Convergence on Central Campus.

Off-Axis Holography

Jens Zorn
2013; Stainless Steel; Sculpture
North Campus; Plaza between the Engineering Research and Gerstacker Buildings

This piece is intended to celebrate U-M’s achievements in holography.  The essence of holography is that two separate beams of light are combined to produce a three-dimensional image, the view of which depends on the position of the observer.  Its origin dates from 1947, but holography remained a laboratory curiosity until 1962 when Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks of the University of Michigan developed their off-axis method that transformed holography to an important tool of modern science and engineering.  In analogy, the sculpture celebrating their development, Off-Axis Holography, combines two arrays to generate a crossing pattern that changes depending on the position of the observer.  Jens Zorn, Professor Emeritus of Physics, is also the sculptor of G minus 2 and The Short, Rich Life of Positronium, both located on Central Campus.

Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project

Cornelius Gabler, Architect
1955; Concrete, Brick, Glass; Memorial
North Campus; 2301 Bonisteel Boulevard

The Michigan Memorial – Phoenix Project operated the laboratory building of the same name and the former Ford Nuclear Reactor (now decommissioned) as a memorial to the 585 university alumni, students, faculty and staff members who gave their lives in World War II. It is “devoted to the peaceful, useful and beneficial applications and implications of nuclear science and technology to the welfare of the human race.” In 1947, the regents appointed a War Memorial Committee to consider establishing a war memorial in honor of students and alumni who fell in World War II, and in 1948, approved a resolution to “create a war memorial center to explore the ways and means by which the potentialities of atomic energy may become a beneficent influence in the life of man, to be known as the Phoenix Project of the University of Michigan.” A committee was then appointed to begin a fund-raising campaign which ultimately yielded more than $7.5 million for the project and construction of a building to house it. All funds came from university alumni, students, faculty and staff. The building was completed and dedicated in 1955, and included a greenhouse for radio-botanical research. A plaque identifying its memorial status was placed in the lobby (see photo) and lists the names of all university persons who died in WWII. The Ford Motor Company subsequently donated $1.5 million toward the construction of a nuclear reactor to support the work of the MM-PP, and this building was completed in 1956 as an attachment to the north end of the Phoenix Lab. The greenhouse was turned over to the Buildings and Ground Department in the 1960s, and the Ford Nuclear Reactor was later decommissioned, although the work of the MM-PP continues in other forms under the name of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute. In 2013, a modern addition replaced the greenhouse.

MedFlight Memorial

2009; Bronze, Stone; Memorial
North Campus; Near 1600 Huron Parkway entrance to the eastern section of the North Campus Research Complex

Acquired in 2009 when the university purchased the property from Pfizer. Memorial to Terry Racicot, flight physician, Janice Nowacki-Tobin, flight nurse, and Richard Elliot, pilot, who died when their MedFlight helicopter crashed on open land in the vicinity, while on a mission for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital on December 1, 1994.