Four Exhibits, Three Museums

I visited four wonderful exhibitions at three Austin museums earlier this month: Mexic-Arte Museum, Harry Ransom Center, and Blanton Museum of Art. Three of the four exhibits have already ended, but I want to remember some of the artists and artwork for future reference.

My primary excuse for an afternoon museum outing was to visit Nacimientos: Traditional Nativity Scenes from Mexico at the Mexic-Arte Museum on Congress Avenue. The centerpiece of this annual exhibit is a huge 400+ piece set from Mexico City that’s part of the museum’s permanent collection.

The exhibit included many other unique nativity displays, including this on-loan Tree of Life nacimiento.

The Mexic-Arte Museum also featured another exhibit called Chapel Shrine: Paintings by John Patrick Cobb. Most of Cobb’s paintings were displayed inside a wooden shrine that had been erected within the gallery. His detailed paintings featured Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in Biblical scenes. I especially liked his use of gold leaf. This is the only exhibit of the four that is still open (through March 3, 2019).

Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance was the title of the exhibition at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. Ruscha‘s first artist book called Twentysix Gasoline Stations was published in 1963. The exhibit included photos (and subsequent drawings) of the gas stations that he photographed while traveling on Route 66.

The exhibit also included other Ruscha books and prints, including the color photographs for his 1968 book, Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass.

Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design was just finishing its run at The Blanton Museum of Art, which is also on the University of Texas campus. This display of wearable eyewear sculptures was called C-Stunners by Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru.

The exhibit included many fine examples of modern design from across the continent.

The sculpture Iris by El Anatsui was also displayed in this exhibit. The Blanton staged an impressive El Anatsui show several years ago. One of his other pieces, Seepage, can be viewed on the second floor as part of their permanent collection.

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