The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin marks a significant milestone in 2013—its 50th anniversary. To commemorate five decades of service to Texas, several festive events have been planned to usher the museum towards its exciting future. The Blanton’s golden anniversary gala and its first-ever gala afterparty will be held on February 16. The following week, on February 24, the museum will open Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections, featuring nearly 200 works from the private collections of UT alumni from across the country. Festivities will culminate on Saturday, April 27 with Fifty Fest, a free 12-hour celebration which will include live music, art-making activities, exhibition tours and more. “The Blanton’s golden anniversary,” says Blanton director Simone Wicha, “is a time to celebrate our rich legacy and to acknowledge the many visitors, members, and supporters who have made the museum a special place for art, scholarship, and discovery.”
The February 16 gala and exhibition preview will celebrate the Blanton’s golden anniversary. Gold a Go-Go, an afterparty for both gala guests and the general public, will take place immediately following— from 9PM-midnight— with performances by Kathy Valentine (The Bluebonnets and former member of The Go-Go’s) and Charlie Sexton. Call (512) 475-6013 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information and to purchase tickets.
Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections
This exhibition of nearly 200 extraordinary objects will be on view February 24 – May 19 and draws from the art collections of University of Texas at Austin alumni from across the country. Ancient Mayan vessels, tribal masks, Chinese jade, Renaissance paintings, and Old Master prints and drawings will be showcased alongside modern and contemporary art by major artists such as Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Ed Ruscha. Through the Eyes of Texas will tell the fascinating stories of these objects and celebrate the leadership of UT Austin alumni who have helped transform the cultural landscape of Texas and communities across the country.
Another exhibition, Luminous: 50 Years of Collecting Prints and Drawings at the Blanton, on view June 8 – September 15, 2013, will celebrate the museum’s rich collection of prints and drawings, acquired over fifty years through the generosity of supporters such as Leo Steinberg, John and Barbara Duncan, and Mari and James A. Michener. Included are drawings by Raphael, Sonia Delaunay, and Diego Rivera and prints by Rembrandt van Rijn, Pablo Picasso, and Ana Mendieta among others.
All are invited to Fifty Fest, a free 12-hour celebration from noon-midnight on April 27. The event will take place in the museum’s two buildings and outdoor plaza and will feature:
The Minor Mishap Marching Band, Navasota Strings, DJ Tarek, musicians from the Butler School of Music, The Ransom Notes and others will provide music throughout the day and into the night.
Families can enjoy special programs including Storytime Tours in English and in Spanish— read by television personalities from Univision – as well as tours with costumed characters.
Guests can explore the Blanton’s Through the Eyes of Texas exhibition and permanent collection as part of a group tour or on their own. Art-making stations include a craft bar, artist-designed T- shirt screen-printing with Print Industry Shop, and fun temporary tattoos.
Creatives Past/Creatives Future
Poets and musicians will present artistic responses to works in the Blanton collection, and will open up their creative process providing visitors a behind the scenes look at how artists make choices as they create.
Visitors can capture their experience in free photo booths, purchase tasty treats from some of Austin’s favorite food trucks, and enter to win prizes from community partners including the Alamo Drafthouse, Austin Film Festival, Ballet Austin, Hey Gorgeous, Texas Rowing Center, UT Press, W Hotel and many others.
New Brand and Graphic Identity
During Fifty Fest and in the months following, visitors will see the Blanton’s new brand articulated via fresh new signage and marketing materials, and will experience programming designed to highlight how the museum can function as a site for creativity and inspiration.
At its core, the new brand promises to deliver “thought provoking, personally moving, and visually arresting experiences with art.” Through a dynamic array of new programs, the museum will provide encounters with art that offer visitors an opportunity to see beyond their world and learn something unexpected.
History of the Blanton
While the 2006 completion of the complex at MLK and Congress was the first time many in the community heard of the Blanton, the museum actually has a rich 50-year history. In 1927, philanthropist Archer M. Huntington donated more than 4,000 acres of land along Galveston Bay to The University of Texas at Austin to fund an art museum. In 1938, the university established the College of Fine Arts, and funds from the Huntington endowment supported art exhibitions held in buildings throughout the campus. In 1963, the University Art Museum, with a modest collection of only a few hundred works of art, opened to the public in the newly constructed Art Building. Rapid growth, most notably the gift of the Mari and James A. Michener Collection of 20th-century American paintings, resulted in further expansion in 1972. At that time, the museum moved its permanent collection to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center and maintained a Print Study Room and galleries for temporary exhibitions in the Art Building.
In 1980, the University Art Museum was renamed the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, and a decade of growth and achievement followed with the acquisition of a number of important European works from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The museum also continued to build upon its strengths in the fields of modern and contemporary American art, contemporary Latin American art, and prints and drawings. By the mid-1990s, with growing collections and expanded programs serving university students and the general public, the Blanton had outgrown its facilities. In 1997, a campaign was announced to build a major new facility, and the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art opened to the public in 2006, named for the former chairman of the UT Board of Regents.
The Blanton Museum of Art
Founded in 1963, the Blanton Museum of Art is one of the foremost university art museums in the country and holds the largest public collection in Central Texas. Recognized for its modern and contemporary American and Latin American art, Italian Renaissance and baroque paintings, and encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings, the Blanton offers thought provoking, visually arresting, and personally moving encounters with art.
The museum is located at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Congress Avenue and is open Tuesday though Friday from 10 – 5, Saturday from 11-5, and Sunday from 1-5. Thursdays are free admission days and every third Thursday the museum is open until 9 pm. Admission Prices: Adults $9, Kids 12 and under FREE, Seniors (65+) $7, Youth/College Students (13-21) $5. Admission is free to members, and all current UT ID-holders. For additional information call (512) 471-7324 or visit www.blantonmuseum.org