The Austin Wall

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The Austin Wall was unveiled last week in the lobby of the new U.S. Federal Courthouse next to Republic Square Park. This abstract stained glass wall is 28-foot square and weighs 3-1/2 tons. Two lower panels feature a black-and-white negative of a Texas Hill Country landscape.

IMG_8762Representatives from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA), and the Federal Courthouse gave brief remarks. Then the artist, Clifford Ross (in blue jeans above), thanked his supporters and invited the audience into the adjacent room for a more in-depth discussion of his work. Much to my surprise, the two panels below the stained glass swung open and the crowd was ushered into the jury assembly room on the other side of the glass wall. Here we could see that the back of the stained glass was supported by long glass panels, still allowing the wall to be admired from the other side.

IMG_8764Once everyone was settled inside the jury assembly room, Clifford Rose showed a video about the inspiration for the images displayed on the wall. He explained said that he feels that art should be a part of a building and so he tried to capture the grace and movement of the building’s architecture in the wall.

IMG_8768Although cameras are typically banned in courthouses, the security guards told me that photos were permitted for this special event. As an amateur photographer, my pictures do not capture the vibrant colors and magnitude of the wall. For a full appreciation of his masterpiece, see the excellent professional photos here at Clifford Ross’ website.

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