In January 2015, Ellsworth Kelly gifted to the Blanton the design concept for his most monumental work, a 2,715-square-foot stone building with luminous colored glass windows, a totemic wood sculpture, and fourteen black and white marble panels. Titled Austin, honoring the artist’s tradition of naming particular works for the places for which they are destined, the structure is the only building the artist designed, and will be his most lasting legacy. Envisioned by Kelly as a site for joy and contemplation, Austin is now a cornerstone of the Blanton’s permanent collection and will enrich the lives of visitors from around the world.
Click here to read a message from Blanton Director Simone Wicha about the project and the campaign to construct and care for Austin.
On October 31, 2015, the Blanton hosted a roundtable discussion on the life and work of Ellsworth Kelly, featuring notable curators and scholars from across the country. Moderated by Veronica Roberts, Blanton Curator of Modern and Contemporary art, panelists included Gavin Delahunty (Dallas Museum of Art), Carter Foster (Whitney Museum of American Art), Tricia Y. Paik (Indianapolis Museum Of Art), and Richard Shiff (The University of Texas at Austin).
Thanks to our friends at Art This Week for making the video of this panel available.
The New York Times broke the news of Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, quoting the artist: “Go there and rest your eyes, rest your mind,” he said. “Enjoy it.”
Artnet also featured the news in an article, quoting Blanton Director Simone Wicha, who highlighted the importance of the building and its role within the community: “Kelly’s intention was always for it to exist in perpetuity in a public space.”
In an article reflecting on Kelly’s long life and career, the Guardian touched on the project as indicative of the artist’s “appetite for work [remaining] keen.”
The Blanton has also published two press releases about the project: the first announcing the acquisition of the artwork, and the second focusing on the groundbreaking and the Kelly panel that accompanied it.
Gift of the artist, with funding generously provided by Jeanne and Michael Klein, Judy and Charles Tate, the Scurlock Foundation, Suzanne Deal Booth and David G. Booth, and the Longhorn Network. Additional funding provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, Leslie and Jack S. Blanton, Jr., Elizabeth and Peter Wareing, Sally and Tom Dunning, the Lowe Foundation, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Stedman West Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation, with further support provided by Sarah and Ernest Butler, Buena Vista Foundation, The Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder Foundation, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Janet and Wilson Allen, Judy and David Beck, Kelli and Eddy S. Blanton, Charles Butt, Mrs. Donald G. Fisher, Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman, Glenstone/Emily and Mitch Rales, Stephanie and David Goodman, Agnes Gund, Stacy and Joel Hock, Lora Reynolds and Quincy Lee, Helen and Chuck Schwab, Ellen and Steve Susman, and other donors.