Under a towering sculpture designed by 20th-century late pop artist and Ohio State alum Roy Lichtenstein, the Department of Arts and Sciences honored the artist’s profound impact on the university Wednesday.
The primary purpose of the event was to dedicate “Modern Head,” the 31-foot-tall installation between McPherson Chemical and Smith laboratories. While the sculpture was the centerpiece of the event, the appointment of two new endowed chairs also was celebrated.
“An event like this probably took about 15 people and over a year of planning,” Karinza Akin, assistant director of advancement events, said. “It was a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work and a lot of moving pieces went into it.”
University President Michael V. Drake, Jack Cowart, executive director of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, and Geraldine B. Warner, board chair of the Ohio Arts Council, all gave remarks at the event.
Cowart said the foundation has been discussing a sculpture for Ohio State’s campus for years.
“We hope it’s set to engage students for many years to come,” Cowart said.
The chair positions were funded by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation with a $6 million gift to the university. An endowed chair is a faculty position paid for by the revenue from a fund from an outside donor. The gift came in 2017, with the search for professors concluding in the spring of 2019.
Jody Patterson was named the first Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Chair of Art History on Sept. 9. According to the College of Arts and Sciences website, Patterson was previously an associate professor and head of the art history department at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom before joining the Department of History of Art as an associate professor in August.
The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Chair of Studio Art was announced in July 2018, and will be held by Carmen Winant, a Columbus-based visual artist. According to Ohio State News, Winant was previously an assistant professor of history of art and visual culture at the Columbus College of Art & Design.
Lichtenstein, known for his influential pop art paintings, created the initial version of “Modern Head” in 1969. It was not until 1989 that the sculpture was fabricated out of metal and erected at its current size.
Lichtenstein’s art has a presence in museums around the globe, spanning from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to the Institute of Contemporary Arts in the U.K. Other versions of “Modern Head” can be found in Jerusalem, at Yale University and in Washington, D.C.