Williams College recently installed RISD alum Jenny Holzer’s “715 Molecules,” a stone table and benches sandblasted with the diagrams of 715 molecules including water, caffeine and DDT. The subject of this new public artwork is inspired by its location in the college’s science quadrangle in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It was commissioned by alumni and friends to honor Williams alumnus (class of ’52) and longtime chemistry professor J. Hodge Markgraf (1930-2007).
“A few years before his death,” the school reports, “Hodge encountered a large-scale installation by Jenny Holzer and became fascinated with her work. Corresponding with the artist, he began to pursue the idea of commissioning a piece for the Williams campus. After his death in 2007, students, alumni, and a myriad of supporters decided to continue the task, contributing funds to see Hodge’s dream become a reality on the college campus.”