Behind the Blanton: Carter E. Foster

Carter E. Foster gives a tour standing next to a sculptureIn May, the Blanton announced that Carter E. Foster would join the museum as Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Prints and Drawings. His face might be familiar—Carter participated in a roundtable discussion on the life and work of Ellsworth Kelly in 2015 as the museum celebrated the groundbreaking of Austin, Kelly’s only freestanding building. Fast forward to September of 2016—Carter has officially left New York to begin his tenure in Austin! In the latest installment of Behind the Blanton, a series profiling the faces behind the museum, we caught up with Carter to learn more about him and what he expects from life in Austin.

You’ve visited Austin before—what are you most looking forward to about living here? How has it been moving from what is essentially one of the epicenters of the art world to the heart of Texas?

A few things I’m looking forward to: getting into my new job; the wonderfully friendly people of Austin; vicariously enjoying other people’s dogs; barbecue and more barbecue; music.  The move has been great! I love New York but it’s so exciting to relocate to a totally different city—one I’ve loved for a long time—and have all that it offers waiting to be explored.

You were the first Curator of Drawing at the Whitney Museum, and now oversee the Blanton’s collection of prints and drawings (among other responsibilities!). What draws you to works on paper?

The intimacy and directness. Drawing can both describe both an actual type of object and act as a wonderful metaphor for the nascence of the creative process.

Photo of brightly colored squares tattooed onto an armIs there a specific area of the Blanton’s collection that you’re especially excited to work with? If you could hang one work from the collection in your office, what would it be?

Well I’m very excited to work with Latin American Art, since it’s always nice to learn new things, and it’s an art history with which I am much less personally familiar.

Oh the second question is always a hard one—so much from which to choose! I’ve been really interested in Norman Lewis lately so it would be awfully nice spend time with that great painting

We’ve heard that you play host to the only tattoo that Ellsworth Kelly has ever designed. Can you tell us a little more about how you approached the artist for this non-traditional artwork?

Well we were good friends, so I just asked him one day, and he said yes! It took him a few months to come up with the design, but once he did, I knew I had to have it done. He was a truly kind and generous man.

Please join us in welcoming Carter to Austin and the Blanton! Learn more about other faces at the museum by exploring the previous installments of Behind the Blanton.

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