New Public Installation by Professor Tomas Vu-Daniel for Asia Society Texas

Mădălina Telea Borteș
April 09, 2024

Leroy Neiman Professor of Professional Practice Tomas Vu-Daniel has been commissioned by the Asia Society Texas and the University of Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts to create a collaborative public art installation alongside Cuban American artist Rafael Domenech. The installation, titled Heat Silhouette, takes the form of “urban acupuncture,” and is “a physical structure designed to welcome the spontaneous circulation of people, energy, and events,” the Society’s press release notes. 

detail of "heat silhouette"

Heat Silhouette is a space of active production filled with theater-like compartments—a site where text, image, and pattern coalesce into a kind of urban camouflage,” the press release continues. To create this installation, which “assumes the form of a dynamic outdoor pavilion with two stages” and occupies most of the Asia Society Texas’s 13,000-square-foot lot, Vu-Daniel and Domenech used wood, aluminum, and laser-cut construction mesh—materials commonly used in construction throughout the city of Houston. The installation’s title, too, is an ode to “the most omnipresent weather condition of Houston: the summer’s intense heat, a heat so palpable that it feels as if it occupies actual space, creating a silhouette or edge.” 

Heat Silhouette will be on view and in use for ongoing public events until June 2, 2024. 

architectural draft of "heat silhouette"

Tomas Vu-Daniel (b. 1963 Saigon, Vietnam) moved with his family to El Paso, Texas at the age of 10. He received a BFA from the University of Texas, El Paso in 1987 and a MFA from Yale University in 1990. He currently lives and works in New York City where he holds the LeRoy Neiman Professorship in Visual Arts and serves as Artistic Director at the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University. Vu has exhibited in the United States and internationally including exhibitions in China, Japan, and Italy. His work has been included in notable exhibitions at MoMA P.S.1 Queens, NY; the Sunshine Museum in Songzhuang, China; and the Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Vu-Daniel’s Flatland was installed in a one-person exhibition at Sonoma State University, CA in 2012. He has received numerous awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Award and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship.