The Blanton Museum presented Impressionism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and His Transatlantic World, an exhibition of approximately eighty paintings by Realist-Impressionist painter Francisco Oller (1833–1917) and his contemporaries. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum and debuting at the Blanton, the exhibition revealed Oller’s important contributions to both the Paris avant-garde and the Puerto Rican school of painting. Providing historical, geographic, and cultural context for Oller’s work, the exhibition also featured paintings by nineteenth-century masters Paul Cézanne, Winslow Homer, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and others. The Blanton’s presentation also included a small selection of works by contemporaneous Texas artists working on both sides of the Atlantic.
As part of their Andrew W. Mellon fellowships at the Blanton, Alexis Salas and Katie Anania, PhD candidates in art history at UT Austin, organized Paper and Performance: The Bent Page and All the Signs are (T)Here: Social Iconography in Mexican and Chicano Art from Collections at the University of Texas at Austin.
The Blanton Museum of Art and the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin presented Wildly Strange: The Photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard. On view March 7 – June 21, the exhibition featured over 35 photographs—including never-before exhibited prints—exclusively drawn from the Ransom Center’s photography collection and archives of writers from Meatyard’s intellectual circle. Included are the artist’s acclaimed photographs of masked figures set against a deteriorating Southern landscape, and his somewhat lesser known, yet equally dynamic portraits—primarily of American writers. Curated by Jessica S. McDonald, the Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography at the Ransom Center, the exhibition demonstrated the collective strength of cultural institutions across the UT campus.
Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, on view at the Blanton Museum of Art February 15 – May 10, 2015, offers a focused look at artwork from a decade defined by social protest and American race relations. Featuring approximately 75 paintings, sculptures, and photographs by Richard Avedon, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Mark di Suvero, Barkley Hendricks, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Rauschenberg, Faith Ringgold, Andy Warhol, Jack Whitten and others, the exhibition highlights the wide-ranging aesthetic approaches artists used to address the struggle for racial justice. Situating the artwork within the larger context of the Civil Rights movement, the presentation examines the ways in which artists aligned themselves with the campaign to end discrimination, bridging racial borders through creative work and protest.