Calatrava and SMU: A Decade in Motion

March 4 - April 22, 2012

For the past decade, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and SMU have been inextricably linked, and visually connected through his sculpture Wave, which since 2002 has become one of the most recognizable symbols of both the Meadows Museum and SMU. More than just an emblem of this ongoing friendship, Wave is also representative of the start of the relationship. In 1999, in the midst of constructing the new building for the Meadows collection, the Spanish artist was approached about the possibility of creating a sculpture to be placed in front of the building. The project took time and the Museum itself would not open for another year and a half, yet the groundwork for a dynamic future was laid.

In 2000, SMU bestowed upon Calatrava, already the recipient of numerous international architectural awards, the prestigious Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts. When the new Meadows Museum opened in 2001, Calatrava’s body of work was the subject of the inaugural exhibition, Poetics of Movement: The Architecture of Santiago Calatrava, which included a screening of Movimiento, a video exploration of the architect’s accomplishments. Later in the year came more celebrations surrounding the impending completion of Wave, an occasion which brought King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain to the University. In 2005, Calatrava gave SMU’s 90th commencement address, and was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree by the University that same year. And just a few years later, as the Meadows Museum was preparing for the renovation of its Plaza and Sculpture Garden, Calatrava generously lent his expertise to the project by providing invaluable preliminary ideas during the planning phase, allowing for a vantage point from which to view his beloved Wave below. When the new plaza was inaugurated in 2009, Calatrava’s work was once again the subject of an exhibition, Santiago Calatrava: The Making of Wave, which was held in conjunction with Face and Form: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture in the Meadows Collection, an installation that highlighted the Museum’s outdoor works in their new surroundings.

Timed to take place during the city of Dallas’s celebration of Calatrava’s new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge over the Trinity River, the Meadows Museum’s exhibition Calatrava and SMU: A Decade in Motion, will commemorate the continuing symbiosis between the artist and the University. On display will be works from the Museum’s collection, many of which were generous gifts from Calatrava himself, such as the two sculptures Palme (1998) and Il Dente (1999). Also from the Museum’s collection will be various works on paper, including several preliminary sketches for Wave, that are seldom on view. In addition, ephemera collected over the past decade, including correspondence, personal inscriptions, photographs and mementos, will also be shown.

This exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum and funded by a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation.

For more information about the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and its opening festivities, please visit

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Carrie Sanger
Marketing & PR Manager