Outdoor Sculpture Mozart Installed on Wellesley College Campus

July 28, 2008

Molly Tarantino, Public Affairs, mtaranti@wellesley.edu
, 781-283-2901

WELLESLEY, Mass. — Wellesley College is now home to an imposing outdoor sculpture, Mozart, by famed artist Kenneth Snelson. The piece, which stands 24 x  24 x 30 feet, is located near the Science Center and is visible from College Road. The work was installed Wednesday, July 23, through Friday, July 25.

Mozart consists of an angular matrix of polished stainless steel tubes joined by wire cables. Other Mozart sculptures have been installed on the campus of Stanford University and at PepsiCo headquarters in Purchase, N.Y. The sculpture comes to Wellesley through the generosity of Bob and Lynn  Johnston ’64, who is a member of the College’s board of trustees and chair of its Landscape and Buildings Committee. 

Snelson, an internationally renowned sculptor, describes his work as being concerned “with nature in its primary aspect [and] the patterns of physical forces in three dimensional space.” His sculptures often center around the concept of “floating compression”— what Buckminster Fuller called “tensegrity;” that is, a gravity-independent system of push-pull forces that exist in dynamic equilibrium. This concept manifests itself in many of Snelson’s works, including Mozart, whose multiple planes make the piece seem precariously suspended in space.

Snelson has compared the building of his structures to playing music, and adjusting the tension in his sculptures to tuning a musical instrument. Mozart communicates something of the music and poetry associated with its namesake.

"The wires and metal tubes are my keyboard, on which I play my three-dimensional spatial game,” Snelson said in Sculpture Magazine. “It’s like playing a violin." 

Careful consideration was given to the siting of the sculpture on Wellesley’s campus. Landscape architects Michael van Valkenburgh Associates, who helped create Wellesley College’s landscape master plan, recommended the location after careful study. The site was approved by the board of trustees.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.