Artist Spotlight: José Parlá
A critically acclaimed artist makes his mark on the UT campus with the help of Landmarks
by Emma Banks
It’s no secret that UT’s McCombs School of Business is growing — literally, with the new 458,000-square-foot Robert B. Rowling Hall — and now that expansion will come with an artful twist: a custom mural from acclaimed artist José Parlá set to hang above the grand entrance to the new building’s Zlotnik Family Ballroom. And Parlá isn’t quite working alone, per se. The artist’s expansive 4,000-square-feet mural is made possible by Landmarks, UT’s public art program. Founded in 2008 with Andrée Bober at its helm, Landmarks works to mirror the campus’s increase in size with a matched increase in the school’s art collection and art programs.
Parlá’s mural will be a quintessential depiction of Austin, with its central themes lying in both the city’s natural and urban environments. With the artist’s signature style of collage, pulled impasto surfaces, and calligraphy on display, the mural is sure to challenge its viewers both visually and otherwise, with multiple narratives of life in Austin woven throughout the piece. And Parlá is in good company; it’ll join the more than 40 works Landmarks has commissioned since its founding by critically acclaimed artists such as Sol LeWitt and James Turrell.
The mural is slated for unveiling in spring 2018, in conjunction with the opening of Rowling Hall. It will be Parlá’s most ambitious to date — and help to further establish the campus as an international arts destination.
Read more from the Interiors Issue | January 2018