Blanton Museum of Art

The art of communication

“Art is a form of language” and “an image is worth a thousand words” are commonly heard notions that suggest there is an intimate relationship between words and images. Visual and written forms of communication can intersect in a myriad of ways in art. In fact, some of the most provocative artworks resulted from the creative exploration of the fluid relationship between words, images, and communication.

Color Chart

The word “orange” was not used to describe color until the 16th century. Color is intangible; it only exists in language and has to encompass individual perspectives. As a result, meaning can change when seen through a contemporary lens. In the following selection of works, viewers are invited to reflect on the different ways artists tackle color. Some use it to their advantage while others omit to highlight form, line, and texture.

How to Develop Grit in an Art Museum

GRIT—a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal. In Grit, an instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” Why do some succeed while others fail? Duckworth, a professor in […]

Art and Architecture: Which Comes First?

Architecture can inform a work of art in a number of ways: in its conception, its construction, and its eventual presentation. The works gathered here illustrate the range of influences architecture can have on the meaning of an artwork: where it was commissioned to be displayed, what building(s) it references, and the structures it engages physically or evokes mentally.

The American West: Manifest Destiny, or Not?

Spanning over a century, the Blanton’s collection of Western art features a range of perspectives, including romanticized images of both the American cowboy and vanishing Native American cultures. Many of the artists subscribed to the nineteenth-century doctrine of Manifest Destiny—the belief that the U.S. was predestined to expand across the entire continent.

The Cold War: Art and Politics

After World War II, Latin America enjoyed a period of relative economic prosperity, which lasted until the mid 1950s. As the conditions for economic growth became more elusive and social instability increased, leftist-leaning groups became active throughout Latin America. By the late 1960s, escalating social unrest was ruthlessly repressed by military dictatorships that controlled the region until the mid 1980s. Works featured here explore this turbulent time period with a focus on economic context, the Cuban Revolution, radicalization of politics, and military dictatorships.

What is a portrait?

Portraits are not as straightforward as they seem. As history progressed, artists began to play with the concept of faithful representation, creating new, intriguing forms of portraiture, ranging from conceptual works that focus on surprising aspects of the subject, to works that many would not immediately recognize as a portrait. Explore works from the Blanton’s collection that range from conventional portraiture to surprising representations in contemporary art.

Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s

February 21, 2016 – May 15, 2016

The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin presents Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s, the first major museum survey to examine, within an historical context, art that emerged in this pivotal decade. The exhibition showcases approximately 45 artists born or practicing in the United States—including Doug Aitken, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Glenn Ligon, Donald Moffett, Shirin Neshat, Catherine Opie, Gabriel Orozco, Shahzia Sikander, Frances Stark, and Kara Walker—and features installation, video, painting, sculpture, drawing, prints, photography, and early Internet art. Organized by the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey, the survey includes works created from 1989 to 2001, and explores a range of social and political issues as diverse as the decade from which they emerged.

Xu Bing: Book from the Sky

June 19, 2016 – January 22, 2017
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.

Goya: Mad Reason

June 19, 2016 – September 25, 2016

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.

Fixing Shadows: Contemporary Peruvian Photography, 1968–2015

April 23, 2016 – July 3, 2016

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.

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