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  Column 36

Sculptor Howard Ben Tré Loans "Column 36" to the Business School

9/8/2003 --

Howard Ben Tré's "Column 36," a 97-inch tall translucent sculpture of green cast glass and copper, on loan from the artist to the Business School, welcomes students and visitors to William Davidson Hall.

The free-standing, 500-pound sculpture is one of the largest pieces in the Business School's growing art collection, which numbers more than 50 pieces and includes masterpieces by such American artists as Chuck Close, Jim Dine, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Sean Scully and Frank Stella. All the art works are gifts or on loan to the school.

Ben Tré, who is known internationally for his pioneering work in cast glass, loaned "Column 36" to the school, he says, "to help students see that art is part of our lives. I try to take the magic that happens in my studio into the public realm."

"Column 36" is part of a series of sculptures created by the Providence, Rhode Island, artist that includes columns, vessels, implements, benches and wrapped forms. Many of Ben Tré's cast glass and metal pieces are architectural installations in public places, including the Norman B. Leventhal Park Post Office Square in Boston, Target Plaza in Minneapolis and Warrington Town Center, England, which was a total scheme design for the redevelopment into a specially designed pedestrian zone of two streets and a plaza in central Warrington.

His work is part of many private and public collections, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum of Art.

"Column 36," cast in 1986 and first shown at the Charles Cowles Gallery in New York City, originally was purchased by a firm in Irvine, California. It was damaged in a 1991 earthquake. Ben Tré remade "Column 36" in 1998 and added it to his personal collection. For Ben Tré, drawing the sculpture is the most important step in the artistic process. From sketches, real-scale drawings and patterns the sand molds are made. The molds are transported to factories where molten glass is poured into the molds as quickly as possible. The glass cools eight to 10 weeks before it is returned to Ben Tré's studio for sandblasting, cutting, grinding and finishing.

Images of "Column 36" have been featured in Art Now Gallery Guide, West Coast (1999) and the Palm Springs Desert Museum Calendar (1999). "Column 36" was featured in the show Howard Ben Tré: Interior/Exterior, a retrospective exhibition organized by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Howard Ben Tré: Interior/Exterior traveled to the Palm Springs Desert Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, San Jose Museum of Art, Orange County Museum of Art and Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, New York.

"What art can do is help us see things in a different way and thereby learn to change. My art is not cynical or ironic. It is hopeful, and you have to have hope in order to embrace change," says Ben Tré.

For more information, contact:
Mary Jo Frank
Phone: 734.647.4626