Student finds long-lost video of giant bra's
installation on Academic Building in 1973


It's been nearly 40 years since students walking past Texas A&M's Academic Building saw a novel sight — a gigantic brassiere attached just underneath the building's dome with a correspondingly large pair of clothespins.

The 40 foot-wide bra was made by Dick Wray, who was an artist-in-residence at what was then the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. It was his idea to "install" the super-size undergarment on the stately building.
"I was just flat-ass shaking people up," said Wray, now 77 years old and living in Houston. "That's kind of what art is about."

The event was captured on film by Scott Smith '73, in his final semester of pursuing a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree. Smith, now the owner of The Planning Source, a design firm in Metairie, La., found the reel recently when he was looking over footage he'd shot for fun with a Super 8 camera he used to have.

"As part of his presentation that day, Wray said 'let's go put this up on the Academic Building,'" recalled Smith, a native of New Orleans, who grabbed the Super 8 camera and headed to the site.

"His idea was to do it and see what would happen," said Smith. "Since the Academic Building is right in the middle of campus he thought there would be a lot of people walking by."

And there was. Students stopped to watch the spectacle literally unfold high above campus, and then, as the film shows, the law showed up.

"The campus police arrived within 30 minutes," said Smith. "As far as I recall there were no charges, as there was no damage or harm done. The police were friendly and somewhat amused."

The film shows smiling students exiting the building with the mass of cloth that made the brassiere, as well as the clothespins.

Wray created the bra for what was then called "Main Street 1," a weekend Houston celebration highlighting the visual and performing arts on the sidewalks, streets and store windows on Main Street between Dallas Street and McKinney Street.

He intended to hang the bra between Sakowitz and Foley's department stores, two of the event's sponsors, but ran into objections from the Sakowitz family.

"So I went to the contemporary arts museum that was being built," he said, at its current location on Montrose Boulevard. "It was just structure. The skin wasn't on the building or anything, so we hung it there."

The bra was stolen from the museum site, but he got the burgled brassiere back once Houston police recovered it.

Wray's artistic career spans six decades and covers many styles and media. His work has been shown in more than 145 exhibitions in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and his pieces are held in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and numerous others.

Wray still remembers some of the projects students created during his artist in residence stint at the College Station campus.

"I said 'all right, we're going to build something within a dime of $10. Keep a receipt on everything,'" he told the students.

"One guy got a bucket of water, a plastic hose, some colors to put in the water and dry ice to put on the floor and he made a stalagmite," said Wray.

Another student, he said, made a pyramid of out of pennies.

"Another guy took $10 of toilet paper, wet it with color, threw it up in a corner and it stuck. There were others, but those three stick in my mind," he said.

"I offered a different view of things," he said. "I had studied architecture but I was an artist by then so the students didn't quite know what to think … I said do whatever the hell you want to. You're in a really protected environment, and I want you to get as nutty as you can while you're in school and I will protect you," he said.

"The bra was part of that."

The bra prank video can be viewed on the College of Architecture’s vimeo website.

Samples of Wray's art can be seen on his website:

The website for Smith's firm, The Planning Source, can be found at


- Posted: Sept. 28, 2010 -

— the end —

Contact:   Phillip Rollfing, or 979.458.0442.


Click on images
for slideshow

Update your contact info and share your news!

The College of Architecture strives to keep up with former students and share their successes in the archone. newsletter. Please take a moment to update your contact information and tell us what you've been up to. Click Here
bottom page borders