Two of Austin’s art museums, The Contemporary Austin-Jones Center and the Blanton Museum of Art, recently completed major renovation projects. Both museums are worth a return visit if you haven’t been there lately.
The Contemporary Austin-Jones Center
The first and second floors of The Contemporary (at Congress and Seventh) was expanded to allow for larger exhibitions. Some offices were moved to their Laguna Gloria location. A larger lift was added and humidity controls were improved. The new covered rooftop was surrounded by the bold proclamation: WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.
Unfortunately, the rooftop was closed on the day of my visit, but I was able to view Habitat by Polish artist Monika Sosnowska. I’m at a loss on how to describe this exhibit, so I’ll rely on the museum’s interpretation: “The artist has created an immersive, two-floor installation of dystopic domesticism.”
Blanton Museum of Art
The upstairs galleries at the Blanton (Congress and MLK) have been reconfigured and repainted. A much larger space is now dedicated to Modern & Contemporary Latin American Art. Three smaller galleries will now host rotating exhibits: the Paper Vault, Film & Video, and the Contemporary Project. The old battle cast reliefs were moved to a downstairs conference room and replaced by Art of the American West gallery.
Most of my favorite pieces from the Blanton’s permanent collection are still on display:
Seepage (El Anatsui)
(This work has been rehung to show the opposite side. There’s a photo of the other side in my 2015 blog entry.)
Farrah Fawcett (Andy Warhol)
Oil Field Girls (Jerry Bywaters)
Missão/Missões [Mission/Missions] (How to Build Cathedrals) (Cildo Meireles)
One of my favorites, Portrait of George Gershwin in a Concert Hall (David Alfero Siqueiros), was not on display. However, I’ve added a few others to my list:
The Land of the Free (William Gilbert Gaul)
Nebula 22 and Nebula 23 (Ramona Sakiestewa)
Abstract art from Argentina and Uruguay
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