Opening Reception at the Visual Arts Center
Sunday, September 27 // noon – 2 p.m.
Strange Pilgrims is an exhibition organized by The Contemporary Austin and spans multiple venues that include the museum’s Jones Center and Laguna Gloria locations in addition to the Visual Arts Center.
The exhibition begins with the metaphorical notion of the traveler: an open-ended journey through strange and unfamiliar spaces, embarking on a pilgrimage not only in time and place but also through imagination, the senses, and perception. Strange Pilgrims brings together a collection of experiential-based ideas and projects proposing unconventional gestures and formats, defining “experiential art” as work that is immersive, participatory, performative, or kinetic, and favoring art from the vantage point of the phenomenological experience. Taking its title from a collection of twelve short stories of the same name by the writer Gabriel García Márquez, Strange Pilgrims is The Contemporary Austin’s first large-scale, thematic group exhibition.
Strange Pilgrims includes work by artists: Charles Atlas, Trisha Baga, Millie Chen, Phil Collins, Andy Coolquitt, Ayşe Erkmen, Roger Hiorns, Nancy Holt, Lakes Were Rivers, Angelbert Metoyer, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Paul Sharits, and Sofía Táboas.
Strange Pilgrims Symposium
Saturday, November 14 // 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Focus Group: Pilgrim’s Process
Thursday, January 21 // 7–9 p.m.
Join us on a guided tour to discover and discuss artworks inspired by travel at the Visual Arts Center (VAC) on February 22, 2014 at 2:00. This tour highlights the artworks of both Dean Fleming’s exhibition Grids and Geography and Girls Gone West, a dynamic multi-media group show consisting of five of the department’s alumni. Through active participation and discussion, we invite you to have fun exploring these various artworks!
The exhibition of Fleming’s work is made up of over twenty mesmerizing 4X4-inch gouache studies from his 1964 journey from Morocco to the Greek island of Lesbos. We welcome visitors to lose themselves in the beauty of the paintings’ rich colors and succinct symmetry. Dean Fleming is known for his large abstract geometric paintings done in acrylic. Often described as hard edge, minimalist, and proto-op-art, Fleming would argue that his artistic freedom lies in other’s inability to label his work. Visitors of the VAC have the opportunity to explore early work that has influenced his contemporary pieces. Vibrant reds fill the works from Egypt while deep blues fill pieces from his travels in Algeria. Does the psychology of color affect his works? Dean Fleming was born in Venice, California in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. Reflecting on the want and misery of the Great Depression, as well as, the materialism that followed, he expressed in an interview that the hardships of his time inspired him to live a life full of experiences rather than things. In his paintings, it appears that it has been these travels and experiences that have affected what and how he creates art.
During our tour we will also consider how different exhibitions at the VAC are a compliment to Grids and Geography. By looking at other artworks, we can find answers to the questions we seek from art. Girls Gone West chronicles the week-long road trip by the five young UT graduate artists Ally Acheson-Snow, Karina Eckmeier, Maia Schall, Allie Underwood, and Chantal Wnuk as they experience the monumental Earthworks located throughout the American Southwest. Just as Fleming discovered the importance of travel in shaping our life and not our studies, each artist discovers what “going west” means for herself and reflects that idea in her own artwork. You will have the chance to observe all different types of medium from Fleming’s paintings to video installations created by Eckmeier and Underwood. Get ready to travel to faraway places during our tour at the VAC on February 22, 2014 at 2:00.
Enjoy festive music, hot beverages, special discounts and a prize drawing!
‘Tis the season to shop local, and Austin’s Cultural Campus is offering a shopping event to get everyone in the holiday spirit! Downtown Austin is a cultural destination, where unique shops within walking distance of one another offer museum-quality gifts that allow you to make meaningful purchases that support art, history and science in your city.
The Blanton Museum of Art, Bullock Texas State History Museum, Harry Ransom Center, LBJ Presidential Library, Texas Memorial Museum, and the Visual Arts Center have joined forces to present the 2013 Holiday Museum Crawl on Saturday, December 7, with festive music, hot beverages and special discounts for those who mention the Austin Cultural Campus.
By shopping in Austin museums and cultural centers, you can find distinctive gifts, such as original art work, nature-themed jewelry, dinosaur goodies, collectibles, souvenirs or the official state ornament. For a gift that lasts all year, purchase a membership and receive a free gift at some locations while supplies last. Sign up at any location to be entered in a special prize package drawing.
Explore Austin’s museum shops online:
Blanton Museum of Art
Bullock Texas State History Museum
Harry Ransom Center
LBJ Presidential Library
Texas Memorial Museum
Visual Arts Center