Rice Getting Piece Of Art That It Declares Will Be A Masterpiece

Rice University announced today that, as the headline on the release put it, a "Multi-Million Dollar Gift Will Bring Turrell Masterpiece To Rice."

A donation from alum Suzanne Deal Booth has allowed the school to commission a large work by noted artist James Turrell that will be built once plans are approved and -- Wait, the designs aren't even approved yet and you're calling this thing a "masterpiece"?

Who's calling it a masterpiece?

"We are," says Rice spokeswoman Jessica Stark.

Yeah, but it's not build yet. The design isn't even approved, meaning it could be changed, right?

"Oh, you're just splitting hairs," she says. "His works usually are masterpieces, and we expect this one to be just the same."

Hmm -- a guy who regularly churns out masterpieces. We can't tell if you're getting your money's worth or not.

At any rate, the Turrell installation will be a large, lighted thing that people can sit in or walk through and contemplate life, or the Owls football team, or the free-and-easy way things get labeled masterpieces, we guess.

Still, it's an impressive gift, we'll admit.

"Art is an important part of the experience and environment we want to bring to our students, faculty and staff," Rice president David Leebron said in a release. "Art can be uplifting and broaden your perspective. It can inspire you. This is going to be a very significant addition to the campus and important for the city of Houston."

Dean Booth says she hopes the (master)piece, will "become iconic for the university and encourage people worldwide to visit Rice and Houston." It won't be visible from the surrounding streets, but should be highly visible once you're on campus.

It will be installed in front of the Shepherd School of Music, henceforth known as the "Home of Masterpieces."

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