A hot spot for many students on Missouri State’s campus is “the corral” outside Plaster Student Union. The area is home to outdoor tables shrouded by beautiful trees; on particularly sunny days, you may even spot a student or two lying in a hammock.
More recently, the natural beauty of the corral is not its only asset. A steel sculpture, Baroque Appointments and Machine Parts by artist David Anderson was erected right next to the PSU as an extension of Sculpture Walk Springfield.
To bring more attention to the sculpture, Missouri State’s Art and Design department has begun a social media campaign: #MSU_Fe203.
Assistant professor Deidre Argyle, a member of both Sculpture Walk Springfield’s Board of Directors and MSU’s Public Art Committee, elaborated on how Baroque Appointments and Machine Parts came to campus.
How Sculpture Walk came to campus
Says Argyle, “Sculpture Walk Springfield (SWS) and MSU began collaborating approximately three years ago. At this time Sculpture Walk Springfield designated one site at Mill and Boonville to exhibit an MSU student’s work every year as a part of their rotating sculpture exhibition. About two years ago, we began discussions about how to deepen our relationship, and expanding the Sculpture Walk collection to main campus was a logical next step.”
#MSU_Fe203 was carefully picked as the first hashtag in the social media campaign. Fe203 is the chemical formula for rust.
Argyle explained, “Rust is one of the first things some people may notice about the Anderson sculpture. In this area we see many objects rusting in fields, but why a sculpture? Why a sculpture that represents Baroque furniture? The machine parts make sense; we see old rusty machine parts all over the place.”
#shiny-on-the-inside is the second hashtag used in the campaign.
“We cannot always read a book by its cover, and art is the same way. When we view art, we have an initial reaction, feeling, but it is the viewers’ job to ask more questions. Like why is the sculpture rusty and not shiny? How would that change the piece? The hashtag campaign is meant to be fun, but also asks deeper questions, which is what the Anderson piece does,” Argyle says.
“Anderson’s work questions how we define beauty, and how our culture shapes these ideas. These questions brought the Public Art Committee to the conclusion that this was an important piece to exhibit at MSU because of its conceptual relationship to our Public Affairs Mission.”
In addition to the social media campaign, Baroque Appointments and Machine Parts was covered in aluminum foil for Halloween.
Argyle explained, “For Halloween, we dressed it up as aluminum — a metal that won’t rust. Baroque Appointments and Machine Parts is made of steel, and steel rusts due to its iron content. Many sculptors embrace the nature of the material, seeing the beauty in the process of producing rust.
“Anderson made a conscious decision to choose rust as the finish for this work; otherwise, he would have painted it or sealed it. Aluminum, on the other hand, cannot rust and remains shiny, so what else could a sculpture that is rusty dress up as for Halloween?”
Anyone is welcome to participate in the campaign for Baroque Appointments and Machine Parts using the hashtags #MSU_Fe203 and #shiny-on-the-inside.