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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The story behind the missing de Kooning statue

The Willem de Kooning Statue
The Willem de Kooning Statue

The Willem de Kooning statue has departed from University of Massachusetts Boston. The statue has been missing for some time from it’s usual post between the Campus Center and Wheatley Hall. Unfortunately, it will be sitting in someone else’s property from here on.

When inquired about the missing statue, The Boston Harbor Association stated, “Due to all the construction underway on the UMass campus, some of the public art may have been moved.”  Paul Tucker, a professor of Art, is the curator for Arts on the Point. He clarifies on the reasons the beloved statue is no longer part of the campus decor.

“The de Kooning, which is only one of three large scale sculptures by him and that has been on loan to us from the de Kooning Foundation for the past 11 years, was sold by the Foundation to a European collector.”

“The Foundation wanted to raise funds to begin an educational initiative and were using this sculpture and ten paintings to achieve that end. The ten paintings will form the basis of an exhibition this fall at Gagosian Gallery in New York (the largest gallery in the world).”

There is still no word on whether the statue will be replaced, but Tucker echoes how everyone is feeling with the loss of the art piece: “It had so wedded itself to our campus and looked so sublime on its site between the Campus Center and Wheatley that the pain of its loss is even more acute.”

Arts on the Point has been in the center of all the art fixtures found around campus. Tucker elaborates on the principle of the organization. “The whole premise of Arts on the Point was to have works on loan and to keep our campus lively and contemporary by having works come and go. We don’t own any of the sculptures; we simply don’t have the money to purchase them so we are at the whim of the owners who include artists, foundations, artists’ estates collectors, and dealers.”

“Those owners, like the de Kooning Foundation, have been enormously generous to lend us their works as they are very valuable pieces. The owners have done so primarily because they believe, as I do, that the one public university in Boston, UMass Boston, is the most deserving of venues as the works are here to educate and inspire and thus perform a task that is like what occurs in the classroom. The owners also deeply believe in the value of art to a public that may not have the opportunity to experience some of the most notable creative achievements of  the late 20th century.”
Why our campus? “They loved our location with its expansive views and intricately constructed spaces.”