Take me back to the Blanton Museum

Today I am remembering the Blanton Museum of Art, at the University of Texas in Austin. As you have probably heard, everything is bigger in Texas, and the Blanton Museum is a fine example of that. It is one of the largest university art museums in the United States and it has the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in central Texas. It is as impressive as it sounds. 

While I was visiting I saw a temporary exhibit: Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections. The exhibit featured over 200 diverse artworks- ancient, modern, and contemporary all intermingled. The mix of time periods, techniques, and subjects could have been awkward, but the show was expertly curated, and each piece felt as though it belonged. These were privately owned pieces, so it was a treat to see them in a museum setting. 

The permanent collection was striking and inspiring. The lighting and the layout of the museum was incredibly thoughtful. Because the museum is so large the artworks have room to breath. The ceilings were tall and the walls were wide. The paintings felt appreciated and special simply because of the careful placement and lighting. The sculptures did not shrink in the large space but were easily accessible from all angles. It is rare for me to love the building and the museum itself, just as much, if not more, than the art.

One thing that made this museum experience even better is that it was free. The museum is free for all on Thursdays. Another plus is that photography is allowed- so check out these great pics! My visit to the Blanton Museum was one of the highlights of my trip to Austin!

 

date days at the ICA

Going to a museum is one of my favorite date activities. We can see and experience something new together, take our time, talk or just look, hold hands or kiss in front of something extraordinary. I love going to a museum with someone I love.

I recently visited the ICA on a double date. The four of us went to see "This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s". Many artists were represented, with a variety of paintings, photography, sculpture, ads, and textiles. It was reassuring to see so many people in the galleries, taking the time to admire and appreciate the contemporary artwork. My favorite piece in the show, to no surprise, was a Basquiat painting. Ever since senior year of high school I have been crushing admiring obsessing in love with Basquiat. I felt like I was seeing an old friend and I couldn't stop smiling. Joe secretly took a photo of me  in front of the masterpiece, while I pretended not to pose.

The last time we were on a date at the ICA it was my 24th birthday. We went to see "The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl". We held headphones to our ears and talked about our favorite songs. We watched the other visitors, families, students, and other couples on other dates. I found my favorite piece.  We snagged a photo infront of  an original Talking Heads album, collaged out of polaroids. 

At the time, these photos were taken as proof that we were there and as a way to remember impressive works of art. They have become more like reminders of a happy goose bump moment and a loving date day with my photographer. These two photos have become precious to me. 

MOMA- Probably my favorite museum

It is hard for me to pick a favorite museum. Last year, I may have said the City Museum in St. Louis. Before that, probably the Pompidou in Paris. At one time it was definitely Washington D.C.’ s Spy Museum. But right now, the MOMA in New York is probably my favorite museum.

 Last week I had the opportunity to visit the MOMA with my mom and dad. I’ve been once before but not recently. The museum is incredible, and we were thrilled to see so many “big-hits” of the art world- Picasso, Van Gogh, Dali, Matisse, Gaugin, Warhol, Pollock, Duchamp, and the list goes on. I was star struck. The museum is 6 huge floors of stunning and recognizable art. It felt  special  and comforting to see so many crowds of people enjoying the art together on a Monday afternoon.

 I was especially excited to see some recognizable posters hanging in the design room. I remembered learning about these in my History of Graphic Design class from Sophomore year, and have had a fondness for them ever since.

These posters were created by Lester Beall, who is an American graphic designer, most popular in the late 1930s. This poster series was for the United States Government’s Rural Electrification Administration, trying to promote the idea of bringing electricity to rural parts of the country. I think the posters have a current look to them because they are so bold and bright. 

I was also very pleased giddy over the museums special exhibit: Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language.  The show combines historical and contemporary works that focus on language- sometimes as a system of communicating, other times as an art form, or as a material that can be manipulated and played with. The historical section is mostly works on paper from Da Da artists, Fluxist artists, and visual poets (all my favorites!).  I appreciate the concept and simplicity in many of the pieces.

In my opinion, Paul Elliman was the star of this show with his contemporary work. His “Found Founts” are vast collections of font-like items: scissor handles, cardboard pieces, plastic lids, metal rings, etc. I love the repetition, the organization, and the typography associations. I also think I just love collections.