Matt Mullican

(American, b. 1951)
Untitled, 1991
Black Cambrian granite; 48 x 576 x 480 inches

As the first public art commission in Texas and the Southwest, this piece by Matt Mullican is a defining mark for the University of Houston. Mullican studied at the California Institute of the Arts where he received his BFA. Since then, he has completed multiple public works in the United States and Europe. Widely known for his work in a variety of media, Mullican’s works feature a complex hierarchy of emblematic signs and symbols that constitute a personal cosmology. Mullican’s interest in the sciences lead to further intrigue for this particular commission as it was in conjunction with Dr. Chu and superconductivity. In hopes that this piece’s inventiveness and the use of nature allow a pleasant and appropriate venue for sitting, thinking, learning, and teaching. The black Cambrian granite Mullican’s sculpture is made from comes from an intrusive process of solidification of melted magma through a crystallization process, deep under the earth’s surface; different from the Basalt commonly found by the volcanos in Hawaii. The rock’s texture comes from well-formed crystals settled in the magma chamber. Other intricacies from the rock point to its complex history of heating and deformation deep in the earth.


University of Houston
Science Center