A Home Away from Home at the University’s New Residential Colleges
Our forte is making artworks that perform as social sculptures and tools for the pursuit of happiness. Our works bridge popular culture and contemporary art, erase boundaries between art and life, and aim to bring new meaning and emotion to the public realm. —R&R Studios
A significant addition to the campus art collections will greet students when they return to Princeton this fall—The Home We Share (2022). The three sculptural installations by the Miami-based R&R Studios are nestled into the lush landscape surrounding two brand-new residential colleges, Yeh College and New College West. Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar, the artist team at the helm of R&R Studios, describe their works as “social sculptures and tools for the pursuit of happiness.”
Collectively titled The Home We Share, the individual works—Flower Fields Forever, Forget Me Not, and Dreaming Room—present a field of enlarged pink, yellow, and orange flowers; a rose-colored, elongated table with a lace-cut tablecloth and benches encircled by festival lights; and a bright, oversize living room sofa and carpet, respectively. Sited at three distinct points of congregation or entry to the colleges, these fantastical sculptures invite communal gathering and provide a setting for individual contemplation.
By exaggerating the scale of familiar forms and employing brightly colored materials to conjure warmth and joy, the artists aim to bring domestic comforts into the natural landscape and the wonders of nature into communal living spaces. This intermingling of interior and exterior extends to their goal of bridging the life of the mind and the social dynamism of the campus community, which together define the University.
Marquardt and Behar were childhood friends and studied architecture and urban design together in Argentina and New York. Based in Miami since the 1980s, where they established R&R Studios, the pair specialize in monumental interactive artworks that blend the everyday and the surreal: The Living Room (2001), for instance, was a forty-two-foot-tall unfinished “room” furnished with a couch and lamps absurdly perched on the corner of a building in Miami’s design district. They’ve been described as “architects of hope,” and, indeed, Marquardt and Behar are invested in the emotional dimension of their public art.1 Speaking of The Home We Share, they say, “The Home We Share celebrates Princeton University’s distinct culture of public service and social engagement at a time of expectation and change in America. Our intention is to highlight and further enable the experience of friendship and camaraderie students will always associate with their passage through Princeton. Residential colleges are the students’ first home away from home and the home they will share thereafter. This unique experience of home anew and the sense of freedom and possibilities that suggests is at the heart of our conceptual approach.”
Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
1 Peter Boswell coined this phrase in 2003 to describe the practice