When you think of art, one of the last places that probably comes to mind is the law library. Yet, it is replete with artistic touches – an old panoramic print of the graduating class of 1913 in Dunn’s Woods hangs over the copy machines, an oil painting beautifies the Rare Book room, and, a more modern addition, the digital sign, strikes a balance between utility and aesthetics at the library’s entryway. The artwork in the law library falls into three main categories: works that are historically or institutionally significant, those that are topically relevant, and others which are simply artistic. Furthermore, much of the art on display straddles more than one of these distinctions. Read on to learn a little bit more about the wonderful art which surrounds you…
Platonic Geometry: the Morton Bradley, Jr. sculptures
One of the most striking art features in the law library are Morton C. Bradley’s Jr.’s sculptures. Showcased and individually suspended from the ceiling of the reading room, they serenely float in the five-story atrium far above the patrons below. Morton Bradley’s connection to Indiana University spans several generations. He was a relative of the University’s first president, Andrew Wylie, and Bradley’s grandmother (Elizabeth Louisa Wylie) grew up in the historic Wylie House. In addition, Bradley’s father – Morton C. Bradley Sr. – was a proud graduate of Indiana University. Upon his passing in 2004, Bradley gifted his entire body of artwork to Indiana University, which included over 300 distinct pieces of art.
The law library houses nine of Bradley’s geometric sculptures. Rooted in the principles of Platonic geometry, Bradley was fascinated with the five Platonic solids: tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron. His sculptures vary these basic solid forms by manipulating their faces, edges, and angles to create entirely new structures. The nine sculptures hung in the law library are: Untitled, Constellation series (1971); Interlace (1975); Recessions (1976); Sixty Circles (1976); The Great Machiavellian Knot, from the Knot series (1983); Staccato (1986); Kahlil Gibran: A Portrait, from the Pattern series (1987); and from the Polylink series, both Festival (1988) and Chrysalis (1989).
Size varies from piece to piece, but most of the law library’s Bradley sculptures are several feet in diameter, with the largest having a diameter of over five feet. The materials used to create these pieces include aluminum, steel, brass, Lexan (a plastic composite used in impact-resistant objects) and wood. Each is finished with paint in an array of soft colors designed to highlight the shadows and angles of the multidimensional designs. Full Story »