Illini Insider | New art on campus

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Welcome to “Illini Insider,” your regular dose of University of Illinois news from beat writer Luke Taylor. Fresh out of college himself, he’s always looking for story tips, photo ideas and social media mentions. Email him at [email protected] and he’ll give chase.

If you’ve noticed work going on in front of the Mechanical Engineering Building over the last few days, it’s time to go check out the results: a giant interactive art piece by Pete Beeman.

Fans of the woolly mammoth sculpture near the Natural History Museum may remember it was placed as part of the statewide Art in Architecture program that promotes public art.

This newest installment is also part of that program and seems equally appropriate to the building it’s associated with.

Turning a hand crank on the piece makes the upward-pointing arms open and close like the petals of a gigantic flower. Windows on the side give you a look at the mechanical elements that make it all work.

It’s hard to describe; calling it a “flower” doesn’t represent the sci-fi look of the curved metal tipped by translucent colorful pieces that look like stained glass in the sun.

Public interactive art is par for the course for Beeman, whose work can be found all over the country. This latest installment is most reminiscent of a larger piece of his at Oregon State University called “Cathedral.”

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