The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest university art museums in the U.S. with 189,340 square feet devoted to temporary exhibitions, permanent collection galleries, storage, administrative offices, classrooms, a print study room, an auditorium, shop, and cafe.
Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin
“I hope visitors will experience Austin as a place of calm and light.”
“Go there and rest your eyes, rest your mind.”
Austin is the culmination of Ellsworth Kelly’s seven-decade career. It is the only building he ever designed, though his painting and sculpture were always integrally connected to architecture and space. In Austin, Kelly developed a structure in tandem with multiple artistic elements to create a unified aesthetic statement and an immersive environment. Though it has multiple components, each with their own history within his body of work, Kelly conceivedAustin as an unchanging, holistic and integrated single work of art. In simplest terms, Austin is a place to experience the artist’s color, form and light and the harmonious beauty they create together. Because its interior light–defined by three striking stained glass windows–slowly but constantly changes with the intensity and angle of the sun, Austin is also a time-based work, one intimately attuned to nature. Kelly himself was constantly inspired by the natural world and was deeply aware of how perception can transform ordinary things into extraordinary–even spiritual–experiences, if we open ourselves to that possibility.
Jeffrey Gibson: This Is the Day
Jeffrey Gibson: This Is the Day is a vibrant, celebratory exhibition in which the artist brings together his Choctaw and Cherokee heritage and a range of diverse artistic and cultural influences to explore race, sexuality, religion, and gender. More than 50 works made between 2014 and 2018 include intricately beaded wall hangings and punching bags, paintings, ceramics, garments, helmets, and a new video commissioned for the exhibition, I Was Here (2018). The film follows Macy, a trans-Choctaw woman living on a reservation in rural Mississippi, melding documentary and fantastical elements in a way that harkens back to independent films from the 1980s and 90s such as “Bagdad Cafe” (1987) and “My Own Private Idaho” (1991).
In his work, Gibson (b. 1972; based in Claverack, New York) often joins exuberant colors, patterns, and materials with text borrowed from such authors as James Baldwin and Simone de Beauvoir or song lyrics by Grace Jones, Boy George, and other musicians. These combinations highlight the unexpected connections between ceremonies and performances found in Native American powwow rituals, dance clubs, and drag shows, underscoring the complex vitality of Gibson’s eclectic sources.
This exhibition will be on view in our Butler Gallery, located on the ground floor of the museum.
Generous funding for this exhibition at the Blanton is provided by Jeanne and Michael Klein, with additional support from Suzanne Deal Booth, Nicole and George Jeffords, and Bridget and Patrick Wade. This exhibition was curated by Tracy L. Adler, Johnson-Pote Director of the Wellin Museum.
About the Blanton’s Permanent Collection
The Blanton’s collection features more than 4,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, and works in new media that together trace the achievement in American art from 1875 to the present day. It contains a large number of paintings of the American West as well as significant examples of works from the Ashcan School, early American modernism, Regionalism, Social Realism, Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, Pop, Minimalism, Post-Minimalism, and Conceptual and Performance art. It also includes an ever-growing selection of works by provocative, cutting-edge contemporary artists active in the United States.
In addition to its excellent survey of works by well-known artists, The Blanton’s holdings of American and contemporary art include unexpected riches—bold and idiosyncratic expressions—that confound expectations and pique the curiosity of scholars and visitors alike. With a core of historical material donated by C.R. Smith and Mari and James A. Michener, now supplemented by purchases, commissions, and generous gifts by donors such as Jeanne and Michael Klein and the Blanton family, the collection is rich in masterworks that show modern and contemporary art production at its most ambitious; experimental works that provide clues to artistic transitions; strong representative works that capture the essence of an artist’s style; and uncommon works that enrich our understanding of the history as well as the current state of American art.
The Blanton’s collection of Latin American art features over 2,000 works, reflecting the enormous diversity of artistic tradition in the region. More than 600 artists from Mexico, South and Central America, and the Caribbean are represented. The Blanton’s holdings constitute one of the oldest, largest and most comprehensive collections of Latin American art in the country.