The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin presents “Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections,” an exhibition of nearly 200 extraordinary objects from the art collections of UT Austin alumni across the country, on view through May 19.
Marking the occasion of the Blanton’s 50th anniversary, this special survey includes ancient Mayan vessels, tribal masks, Chinese jade, Renaissance paintings, and Old Master prints and drawings, showcased alongside modern and contemporary works by major artists such as Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ed Ruscha, Vija Celmins and Kehinde Wiley. “Through the Eyes of Texas” tells the fascinating stories of these objects and their owners, as well as provides unique learning opportunities and a chance for visitors to experience significant works that span the history of art.
“We are at one of the most exciting points in our 50-year history,” says Blanton Director Simone Wicha. “This exhibition gives us an opportunity to highlight the important leadership role that University of Texas alumni play in our cultural landscape. What starts here truly does change the world. We are pleased to share these significant works with our audience and are grateful to the many collectors who made this presentation possible.”
The unique nature of the exhibition enables the Blanton to display works outside the scope of its permanent collection art and artifacts not normally on view in Austin. Among them are an Egyptian lion-headed goddess from 664-30 B.C., an ancient Chinese urn from the Liao Dynasty and an eccentric Mayan flint from the late Classic period. This grouping, along with a selection of tribal masks loaned to the museum from several private collections, marks the Blanton’s first major presentation of ethnographic objects. Other highlights include costume designs for the Ballets Russes, a 1916-19 “Nympheas (Water Lilies)” by Claude Monet and a Robert Rauschenberg “Jammer” from 1975.
Spanning many periods, media and genres, the works in the exhibition allow viewers to make creative connections, says exhibition curator Annette DiMeo Carlozzi. A second-century Roman bust of a goddess, for example, will be paired with a landmark work of contemporary art, Janine Antoni’s “Lick and Lather,” which features unusual portrait busts made of chocolate and soap. Sculptor Petah Coyne’s “Daphne” provides a contemporary counterpart to Alfred Maurer’s “Woman in a Black Dress.” And the dense detail of large-scale photographs of Brazilian and Japanese jungles and forests by Thomas Struth conjures a manner of seeing different from the precise clarity of Henri Rousseau’s “Exotic Landscape with Tiger and Hunters.”
“Through the Eyes of Texas” also explores the stories behind the objects and the lives of the collectors who, after leaving the university, have gone on to significantly impact the art world here and abroad. Among the lenders to the exhibition are UT alumni Jeanne and Michael Klein of Austin, Mary Winton Green of Chicago, Judy and Charles Tate of Houston, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky of Dallas, and Darren Walker and David Beitzel of New York. They and the many others who have graciously shared their collections support artists, strengthen arts advocacy and scholarship, and steward important collections that, in many cases, will ultimately be gifted to cultural institutions across the county. Several collectors’ voices will be heard through an audio guide created for the exhibition, as will UT students and faculty members responding to their experiences of this unprecedented assembly of works. An illustrated catalog will accompany the show.
High-resolution images are available for the press.
“Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections” is organized by the Blanton Museum of Art.
Generous funding for the exhibition is provided by Cornelia and Meredith Long and The Eugene McDermott Foundation, with additional support from Mr. and Mrs. Jack S. Blanton, Sr., the ECG Foundation, Windi and David Grimes, Houston Oil Producing Enterprises, Inc., the Vivian L. Smith Foundation, Judy and Charles Tate, and John Schweitzer.
About 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 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Congress Avenue and is open Tuesday though Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays are free admission days, and every third Thursday the museum is open until 9. Admission prices: Adults $9, Kids 12 and younger FREE, Seniors (65+) $7, Youths/College Students (13-21) $5. Admission is free to members and current UT ID holders.