PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Among the thousands of exceptional Class of 2020 graduates of Brown University, one will be remembered as perhaps the most distinctive of all.
This particular Brunonian never processed through the Van Wickle Gates, completed a research project or shopped for courses through the Open Curriculum, opting instead to while away the hours in silence on Simmons Quad, rain or shine. Almost no one used his given name, and many didn’t even know it. Perhaps most noteworthy, he stood 23 feet tall, weighed 20 tons and was made of electric blue lacquered bronze.
“Untitled (Lamp/Bear)” — affectionately known as Blueno — has been the Brown community’s constant companion since June 2016, when the singular work of art arrived on College Hill not long before the first-year undergraduates who ultimately graduated as the Class of 2020. Over four years, the sculpture became a fixture on campus and an adored figure among students, faculty, staff and visitors alike, making its way into countless photos and selfies and inspiring art projects, poetry and even social media fan clubs.
In late August, the Brown community bid Blueno a bittersweet adieu as it joined the rest of the Class of 2020 in departing the University for new adventures. On loan from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Collection, the sculpture’s four years of continuous exposure to the New England elements left it in urgent need of restoration. The extent of the weathering effect left parts of the artwork — which includes painted and lacquered cast bronze, acrylic glass, LED lights and a stainless steel interior framework — in need of fixes. Over the course of three days, the piece was decommissioned and moved to a location ideal for its long-term conservation.