Six Must-See Exhibitions in 2020

Six Must-See Exhibitions in 2020

December 16, 2019 by Lizabel Stella

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From our cutting-edge Contemporary Project gallery presenting recently-made works by notable multi-disciplinary artists to museum centerpiece exhibitions on view in our Butler gallery space, there’s always something new to see in the museum.

We’re here to help you navigate our abundant arts calendar so you can incorporate it into your busy Austin based to-do schedule and don’t miss a thing! Check out our quick reference list of some spectacular shows coming to the Blanton in 2020.

Ed Ruscha: Drum Skins

Opens January 11, 2020

The renowned American artist Ed Ruscha combines the wry vernacular of his Oklahoman roots with a decades-long collection of drumheads in this new body of work to be featured in our Contemporary Project gallery. Informed by memories of the distinctive slang he grew up hearing in Oklahoma, the phrases featured in Drum Skins consist of double and triple negatives such as “I Ain’t Telling You No Lie” and “I Never Done Nobody No Harm.”

“I grew up with people that spoke this way,” Ruscha explains, “I was very acutely aware of it and amused by it. It seems like you’d run from incorrect English, but I embraced it. I like seeing it and exposing it.” Mark your calendars for a special artist conversation with Ruscha led by our curator Veronica Roberts at the Blanton on May 7, 2020.

Artwork by Ed Ruscha, a drumskin head with "I Don’t Hardly Disbelieve It" painted on it
Ed Ruscha, “I Don’t Hardly Disbelieve It,” 2018. Acrylic on vellum drumhead, diameter 30 3/4 inches x 1 inch depth. Photo: Paul Ruscha, courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

The Avant-Garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s

Opens February 16, 2020

Co-organized by the Blanton and Museo de Arte de Lima, The Avant-Garde Networks of Amauta premiered at one of Spain’s most respected museums, the Reina Sofia last winter. After traveling to Lima and Mexico City, it will return home to the Blanton in February. Make sure to see this innovative exhibition that explores art and politics in the 1920s in Latin America and beyond.

Installation view of “The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s” at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain, 2019. Photograph: Joaquín Cortés / Román Lores.

Expanding Abstraction: Pushing the Boundaries of Painting in the Americas, 1958-1980

Opens October 4, 2020

One of the strongest areas of our permanent collection are paintings of the 1960s and 70s from the United States and Latin America. The visual language of this era will be explored in this profound presentation of works, many of which are large scale and never been seen before, providing a narrative on how the artistic process was transformed during these decades.

Alice Baber's Lavender High, 1968 (left, detail); Alejandro Puente's Estructura (3 panels), 1966 (right)
(Left) Alice Baber (Charleston, Illinois, 1928 – New York City, 1982), Lavender High, 1968 (left, detail), Oil on canvas, 75 1/2 x 75 1/2 inches, Michener Acquisition Fund, Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin. (Right) Alejandro Puente (La Plata, Argentina, 1933–Buenos Aires, Argentina 2013) Estructura (3 panels), 1966, Oil on canvas, 74 13/16 x 63 x 78 3/4 inches. Purchase as a gift of Margaret McDermott in honor of Barbara Duncan, and Judy S. and Charles W. Tate, Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin.

Off the Walls: Gifts from Professor John A. Robertson

Opens November 8, 2020

Our collection continues to grow due to the generosity of some extraordinary donors, so we’re celebrating this fact with a show presenting a selection of prints, drawings, collages, and photographs gifted to the Blanton by the late, great scholar and professor John A. Robertson (1943–2017). Featuring artists Michael Ray Charles, Sue Coe, Philip Guston, Dorothy Hood, Terry Winters, Glenn Ligon, Peter Saul, and Richard Serra—many of which will be on view for the first time—Off the Walls presents a unique slice through recent decades of art on paper.

representational, renderings of personal symbols and objects are visible like a horseshoe and door knob and mirror
Philip Guston, Pile Up, 1980, lithograph, 19 x 29 in., Blanton Museum of Art, Bequest of John A. Robertson, 2018

Diedrick Brackens: darling divined

Opens October 17, 2020

Texas-born Brackens has been causing quite a stir in the art world, having featured in the Hammer Museum‘s 2018 “Made in L.A.” biennial, winning a Studio Museum in Harlem’s $50,000 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize that fall, and entering the Brooklyn Museum collection in 2019. His first institutional solo show at the New Museum, New York, will now travel to Austin, Texas, presenting a stunning installation of intricate wall weavings that speak to the complexities of black and queer identity in the United States. Not to be missed!

woven cotton and acrylic yarn and silk organza by Diedrick Brackens titled "bitter attendance, drown jubilee"
Diedrick Brackens, bitter attendance, drown jubilee, 2018, woven cotton and acrylic yarn and silk organza, 72 x 72 in., Hammer Museum. Los Angeles; purchased with funds provided by Beth Rudin DeWoody

(CANCELLED) Realms of the Dharma: Buddhist Art Across Asia

Summon some inner calm in time for this exhibition, drawn from the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which presents an international survey of Buddhist art. It begins with objects associated with Buddhism’s origins in India and follows its spread through Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, and East Asia. It will explore the life story of the Buddha, the role of the bodhisattva, Buddhist cosmology, and key concepts that have found their way into popular culture such as dharma, karma, mantra, and nirvana. This impressive display of some 150 rare and beautiful works will delight various audiences.

Buddha Shakyamuni, India, Uttar Pradesh, late 6th century. Copper alloy with traces of paint, 15 1/2 x 6 3/4 x 4 inches, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Gift of the Michael J. Connell Foundation (M.70.17)

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Featured image: “Diedrick Brackens: darling divined,” 2019. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photograph: Dario Lasagni.

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