May 20, 2016 by: Natalie Fleming
Whippy, the new work of public art by UB Department of Art MFA Alum Michael Beitz (2009), was installed recently on Founders Plaza near Baldy Hall and the Student Union on North Campus as part of the Small Facility and Grounds Spaces initiative.
Beitz’s work is part of an effort to improve the UB experience for students by developing small, comfortable spaces throughout the campuses. Students are encouraged to interact with the work, while sitting, eating, and relaxing outside.
Beitz said he chose the picnic table form for Whippy because he had worked with it in the past and thought it was interesting “as a kind of communal, shared place to spend time.” Whippy is made of thin layers of marine wood. Beitz said he first constructs an internal form, then bends the wood over the form to create the sculpture.
Beitz said he made his first artwork while at UB — he mentioned upholstering a sofa and tying it in a knot — and later trained as a furniture maker with Wendell Castle, considered by many to be the father of the art furniture movement, in his studio in Scottsville, N.Y.
Currently an assistant professor in the art department at the University of Colorado Boulder, his work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, among them the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Banksy’s Dismaland in the UK and the Madison (Wisconsin) Museum of Contemporary Art.
For more information: New artwork provides more cozy space on campus