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Explore Artistic Treasures on the Forty Acres

The University of Texas at Austin offers art exhibits across campus that appeal to aficionados and casual observers alike. Get all the info you need to plan the perfect visit to campus. 

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The University of Texas at Austin offers art exhibits across campus that appeal to aficionados and casual observers alike.

Blanton Museum of Art

interior of the Blanton Museum

Photo courtesy of Jim Nix.

The Blanton Museum of Art will be closed Dec. 23, 24, 25, 30 and 31 and Jan. 1 for the holidays and is closed every Monday. The museum’s hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for youth and students ages 13 to 21 and is free for children 12 and younger. Admission for UT Austin students, faculty and staff is free with a current UT ID. For more information about visiting the museum, see its “hours and admission” page.

There are a lot of new and exciting things to see and do at the Blanton this holiday season. Check out a special installation like four works by internationally renowned artist Doris Salcedo or go on a guided tour of special exhibitions, which is included in the cost of admission, on select Thursday, Saturdays and Sundays.

James Drake: Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash) is on view through Jan. 4 and features 1,242 drawings revealing artist James Drake’s innermost thoughts. Using a stream-of-consciousness process, Drake committed to drawing every day for more than two years. His depictions of everything from wild animals and landscapes to scientific ideas and family portraits come together in this monumental exhibition. Each of the 1,242 drawings has been pinned directly to the Blanton’s gallery walls, unframed, bottom edges fluttering free, for an immersive, studio-like viewing experience.

La Linea Continua: The Judy and Charles Tate Collection of Latin American Art showcases a selection of approximately 70 works from the Judy and Charles Tate Collection of Latin American art and is on view until Feb. 15. Recently gifted to the museum, the collection includes paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and mixed media works spanning the early 20th century to the present and features many artists who were key to the creation of modernism in Latin America.

Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary: Colonial Painting from South America features seven paintings on loan from two of the country’s most distinguished collections of colonial South American art and will be displayed through June 2015. The paintings, created in what are now the countries of Peru and Venezuela, represent devotions to Mary that were popular in Spain in the 17th and 18th centuries and brought to the Americas by Spanish colonists. Possessing a unique blend of European Baroque and representations of indigenous traditions of South America, the paintings reflect the wide-ranging influence, power and importance of Spain and the Catholic Church in the Americas during this period.

Harry Ransom Center

A visitor taking a picture of Scarlet

Photo courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center.

The Ransom Center will close Dec. 24 and 25 for the holidays but is open the rest of winter break on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Additional member-only hours will be available from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free, and additional information about visiting the museum is available here.

Explore the arts and humanities at the Ransom Center, with cultural materials like the Gutenberg Bible and the First Photograph on permanent display and current exhibitions highlighting a classic movie and a Mexican artist. And if your Christmas shopping list isn’t yet complete, a gift membership to the Ransom Center makes a perfect present for lovers of film, literature and photography.

The Making of Gone With The Wind takes visitors behind the scenes of one of the classic films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Featuring more than 300 rarely seen and some never-before-exhibited materials, the exhibition is drawn entirely from the Ransom Center’s collections and includes on-set photographs, storyboards, correspondence and fan mail, production records, makeup stills, concept art, costume sketches, audition footage and producer David O. Selznick’s memos. The green curtain dress (above) and other gowns worn by Vivien Leigh are displayed together for the first time in more than 25 years. This insider view, on display until Jan. 4, reveals why Gone With The Wind remains influential and controversial 75 years after it was released.

In the Ransom Center lobby, visitors can see Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s “Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,” which was most recently on view at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, Italy, and will travel next to The New York Botanical Garden for the exhibition Frida Kahlo’s Garden.

Landmarks Public Art

Photo by Sandy Carson and courtesy of Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin.

Stroll around campus to soak in some of the works on display as part of the Landmarks public art program, which helps turn the 350-acre campus into a “campus-wide classroom” with colorful, creative art providing visual anchors at gateways, accentuating main axis corridors and consolidating architectural edges.

The Landmarks pieces on campus include the Skyspace in the Student Activity Center, the large Clock Knot statue at the intersection of Dean Keeton and Speedway and other eye-catching projects. Though some of the Landmarks pieces are displayed inside campus buildings that may close at times during the winter break, some of the best-known works are in open air for visitors to see anytime.

Ben Rubin’s And That’s The Way It Is, is a large, outdoor piece projected every evening onto the walls of the Walter Cronkite Plaza and the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center Building. Rubin created a software program that first scans for various patterns in speech and grammatical constructions and then selects sequences of text from televised news broadcasts to be interwoven into a grid projected onto the wall.

The work acquires its content from two sources: closed caption transcripts of live network news and archival transcripts of CBS Evening News broadcasts during the Cronkite era, including those housed at the university’s Briscoe Center for American History.

The Landmarks program also oversees the Circle with Towers (above) in front of the Gates Dell Complex. Created by artist Sol LeWitt, this outdoor structure, which is a low circular wall capped with towers, possesses a discernible logic and rhythm: the concrete towers are four blocks wide while the low walls between them are eight blocks wide a perfect 1:2 ratio. The fact that there are eight towers, each composed of repeating four-sided square modules, further instills a sense of calibrated order.

For information about parking, visit the Parking and Transportation Services website, check out the campus parking map and check for special-events parking updates.