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Summer Guide to the Arts and Culture on Campus

The Forty Acres has art and culture exhibits across campus that appeal to aficionados and casual observers alike. 

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Check out what’s going on throughout the summer at the Blanton Museum of Art, the Harry Ransom Center, and the Landmarks public art project

The Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton
Address 200 East Martin Luther King Blvd. (MLK at Congress)
Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.
Closed Monday
UT faculty, students, staff: Free
Blanton Members: Free
Adults: $9
Seniors (65+): $7
College students with valid ID: $5
Youth (13-21): $5
Children 12 and under: Free

If you’re looking to get lost in the tranquil halls of a world-class museum, the Blanton Museum of Art is the place to go in Austin. One of the leading university art museums in the country, the Blanton’s permanent collection of more than 17,000 works is renowned for its European paintings, an encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings, and modern and contemporary American and Latin American art. In addition to the permanent installations, the Blanton will be showcasing four featured exhibits this summer.

Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary: Colonial Painting from South America

On view through July 3, 2016

Our Lady of Miracles

Unidentified artist (Peru, Cuzco) Our Lady of Miracles (Cuzco), 17th or 18th century Oil on copper with gold 9 5/8 x 7 3/4 in. The Marilynn and Carl Thoma Collection

The Blanton recently opened the second phase of Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary: Colonial Paintings from South America. Featuring loans from one of the country’s most distinguished collections of colonial South American art—the Marilynn and Carl Thoma Collection of Chicago—the exhibition investigates representations of the Virgin that emerged within colonial Latin America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The first iteration of the presentation featured works from both the Thoma Collection and the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection of New York, and showcased Marian imagery created by Europeans and brought from Spain to the New World. Together, the two phases of Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary underscore the vast influence of Spain and the Catholic Church during the period and illustrate the transmission–and also the transformation–of imagery of the Virgin as it traveled from Europe to the Americas, and then throughout the Americas.


Fixing Shadows: Contemporary Peruvian Photography, 1968–2015

On view through July 3, 2016

Woman with child and photograph of missing husband. Ayacucho, Peru

Domínguez, Carlos “Chino” Madre e hijo con foto de padre desaparecido. Ayacucho, Perú [Woman with child and photograph of missing husband. Ayacucho, Peru] Gift of William P. Wright, Jr., From the exhibition The Peruvians As Seen By Peruvian Photographers, curated by Fernando Castro and made available by the Texas Humanities Resource Center, a division of the Texas Committee for the Humanities, Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Center

The Blanton Museum of Art presents Fixing Shadows: Contemporary Peruvian Photography, 1968–2015, featuring more than 40 works from a transformational period of artistic growth, political turmoil, and social engagement in Peru. Realized in collaboration with the university’s Harry Ransom Center, this exhibition will present photographs from their esteemed collection alongside new Blanton acquisitions. The exhibition further explores the influence of an important generation of photographers working in Peru during the 1970s and 1980s on the practices of a younger generation working since the 1990s. Fixing Shadows includes works by Fernando La Rosa, Mariella Agois, Carlos Domínguez, Milagros de la Torre, and Pablo Hare, among others.

“We are proud to partner with the Ransom Center to offer this exploration of the development of photography in Peru,” remarked Blanton director, Simone Wicha. “Not only does this exhibition offer a fresh look at the history of photography in Peru since the late 1960s, but it also provides insight into the power and importance of the photographic tradition in this remarkable country. This exhibition continues the Blanton’s long and recognized history of exhibiting Latin American art, as well as its dedication to collaborating with our colleagues at the Ransom Center for the benefit of our shared audiences.”


Goya: Mad Reason

June 19, 2016 – September 25, 2016

Disparate de tontos [or Toritos] [Fools’—or Little Bulls’—Folly]

Francisco de Goya Disparate de tontos [or Toritos] [Fools’—or Little Bulls’—Folly], from Los disparates [Follies] / Los Proverbios [Proverbs] ca. 1816–19 (published 1877) Etching, aquatint, drypoint (?) 15 15/16 x 12 3/16 in. Yale University Art Gallery, The Arthur Ross Collection

The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin presents Goya: Mad Reason, an exhibition of nearly 150 prints and paintings by renowned Spanish court painter Francisco de Goya. The series of prints comprising Goya: Mad Reason—borrowed from Yale University Art Gallery’s distinguished Arthur Ross Collection—illustrate the artist’s mastery of forms and concepts as he grappled with the changing political and intellectual landscape of his native Spain in the early nineteenth century. Yale chose the Blanton as a partner for its Ross Collection sharing initiative, and the Blanton in turn selected Yale’s superb and affecting Goya prints as a foundation for this exhibition. Select paintings on loan from the Kimbell Art Museum, the Meadows Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston will further punctuate Goya: Mad Reason thematically and visually, offering new and insightful ways of understanding the artist’s prints.

“We are honored to partner with Yale University Art Gallery to bring selections from the renowned Arthur Ross Collection to Austin,” remarked Blanton Director Simone Wicha. “This project has also afforded us the opportunity to borrow paintings from other key institutions across Texas, offering further insight into the remarkable works of Francisco de Goya, an artist whose oeuvre touches on the very fabric of human nature, and whose profound creativity remains an inspiration centuries after his death.”


Xu Bing: Book from the Sky

June 19, 2016 – January 22, 2017

Book from the Sky

Xu Bing Book from the Sky ca. 1987–91 Installation of books and scrolls printed from carved wood types of invented characters Ink on paper Dimensions variable Installation view at “Crossings”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottwawa, 1998 Courtesy of Xu Bing Studio

The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin presents Xu Bing: Book from the Sky, a monumental installation by celebrated Chinese artist Xu Bing. Regarded as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century Chinese art, Book from the Sky ushered in the avant-garde movement in post-Mao era China. It also won Xu Bing international recognition, including the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award. Since its completion in the early 1990s, this profound meditation on the nature of language has been exhibited globally, a testimony to its provocative power and ability to engage viewers beyond its original context.

Book from the Sky at the Blanton will offer a rare opportunity to view the iconic work in its full, intended scale for the first time in Texas. The installation will transform 1,500 square feet of the museum’s galleries into an immersive temple-like space filled with printed text. Displayed in the form of books, hanging scrolls, and wall panels, the enveloping words invite reading and appear to promise meaning, yet these texts cannot be read—not even by Xu himself—as they are composed of some 4,000 pseudo-Chinese characters invented by the artist. Each character appears plausible, when in fact it carries no meaning, rendering all readers illiterate.


The Harry Ransom Center

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird at the Harry Ransom Center. Photo courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center.
Harry Ransom Center 300 West 21st Street (21st and Guadalupe)
Hours Monday – Wednesday, Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
Cost Admission is free. Your donation supports the Ransom Center’s exhibitions and public programs.

Explore the arts and humanities at the Harry Ransom Center, with cultural materials like the Gutenberg Bible and the First Photograph on permanent display.

Summer Film Series

Buster Keaton in FILM

Buster Keaton in FILM

The Ransom Center Summer Film Series kicks off June 16 with a screening of Samuel Beckett’s sole film project, FILM, immediately followed by an experimental essay film entitled NOTFILM. On June 30, Vaudeville and Vitaphone will screen and there will be a viewing of Frida on July 14.




Frida Kahlo’s “Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.”

On view through Dec. 31, 2017

Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954) Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940 © 2009 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust.

In the Ransom Center lobby, visitors can see Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s “Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.” The Ransom Center celebrates the homecoming of this famous and frequently borrowed work of art. The painting was most recently on view at the New York Botanical Garden’s exhibition, “FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life,” which had record-breaking attendance of more than 525,000 visitors.







Elliott Erwitt: Home Around the World

August 15, 2016 – January 1, 2017

 Home Around the World

Elliott Erwitt, Chicago, Illinois, 1947. Gelatin silver print, 18 x 17 1/4 inches. © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

Balancing journalistic, commercial, and artistic work over a career spanning seven decades, Elliott Erwitt has created some of the most celebrated photographs of the past century. Elliott Erwitt: Home Around the World will present more than 200 of these remarkable images, including rarely exhibited examples of his early work in California, his intimate family portraits in New York, his major magazine assignments, and his work as a filmmaker, as well as his ongoing personal investigations of public spaces and their transitory inhabitants around the world. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue edited by Jessica S. McDonald and published by Aperture.



Landmarks Public Art

Detail of Mark di Suvero, Clock Knot, 2007

Detail of Mark di Suvero, Clock Knot, 2007 Photo courtesy of Landmarks.

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 large Clock Knot sculpture at the intersection of Dean Keeton and Speedway, the dramatic Monochrome for Austin by Nancy Rubins at Speedway and 24th Street and other eye-catching projects.

Take a self-guided tour using a public art campus map or a mobile device. From the Landmarks mobile website, visitors can access an interactive map, listen to audio guides and read artist information from individual collection pages, all while viewing the collection.


Texas Performing Arts

Bass Concert Hall

Bass Concert Hall – ©Park Street

Each year, Texas Performing Arts offers a diverse season of music, theatre, dance, and conversation, and during the past 30 years has presented such world-class artists as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Victor Borge, Nina Simone, Ornette Coleman, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Van Morrison, Philip Glass, Ella Fitzgerald, and The English National Opera.

As a university-based arts center, Texas Performing Arts is committed to serving the academic mission of the College of Fine Arts by supporting the work of students, faculty and staff on our stages, classrooms, studios and production shops; and in educational outreach programs for the Austin community.


The Cactus Cafe

The Cactus Cafe

Cactus Cafe

The Cactus Cafe is an intimate live music performance venue with a reputation for showcasing the top local, regional, national and international music acts on the circuit today. Billboard magazine listed the Cactus as one of fifteen “solidly respected, savvy clubs” nationwide “from which careers can be cut, that work with proven names and new faces.” See what’s on the calendar this summer!


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

Stay connected to the latest happenings around campus all year long by visiting our Events Calendar.