Slide Slam at the Visual Arts Center

Mark Dion bird watching (left), David Brooks with fish (right)
Mark Dion bird watching (left), David Brooks with fish (right)

In September the VAC’s artist-in-residence David Brooks gave a talk detailing the inanimate material culture that formed the basis of his current exhibition Repositioned Core, in which a geologic core sample bisects the space of the Vaulted Gallery. As a contrast to the inert and the geological, Brooks has invited artist Mark Dion to join him in a dynamic Slide Slam, delving into the liveliness and diversity found within the animal kingdom. Join Brooks and Dion as they argue the virtuosity of one species over another, comparing research and past work to illustrate the exuberance of animate life hovering atop the lifeless geological.

Learn more about the artists and join us November 3!

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Enio Iommi
Línea continua, c. 1949-52
Stainless steel,
9 5/8 x 11 ¾ x 11 ¾ in.
Promised gift of Judy and Charles Tate

Celebrating Latin American Art at the Blanton this Fall

As you may have seen in the Houston ChronicleHyperallergic, and elsewhere, we are thrilled to share that the Blanton has been gifted approximately 120 modern and contemporary Latin American artworks from UT alumni Judy and Charles Tate of Houston. In addition, the Tates have made a major contribution towards the endowment that supports the museum’s Latin American curatorship. Their collection—the entirety of which will ultimately come to the Blanton—includes painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, and mixed media works by artists Tarsila do Amaral, Lygia Clark, Frida Kahlo, Carlos Mérida, Wifredo Lam, Armando Reverón, Diego Rivera, Alejandro Xul Solar, and Joaquín Torres-García, among others. Spanning the early 20th century to the present, the gift features many of the artists who were key to the creation of modernism in Latin America. 

Enio Iommi Línea continua, c. 1949-52 Stainless steel, 9 5/8 x 11 ¾ x 11 ¾ in. Promised gift of Judy and Charles Tate
Enio Iommi
Línea continua, c. 1949-52
Stainless steel,
9 5/8 x 11 ¾ x 11 ¾ in.
Promised gift of Judy and Charles Tate

For over fifteen years, the Tates have built a collection that complements the museum’s existing holdings of more than 2,100 Latin American objects. Highlights include: an ethereal painting by Armando Reverón from the 1920s; a 1946 graphite drawing by Frida Kahlo and a cubist period drawing by Diego Rivera; two paintings and an ink drawing by Wifredo Lam spanning his time in France in the late 1930s to his return to Cuba in the 1940s; a 1951 surrealist painting by Leonora Carrington; a 1953 glass mosaic by Carlos Mérida—a playful fusion of abstraction and figuration; mid-20th-century kinetic and concrete works by important artists Jesús Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Lygia Clark, Willys de Castro, Lothar Charoux, Mira Schendel, and Hélio Oiticica; and contemporary works by Fernando Botero, Waltercio Caldas, Jorge Macchi, and Sebastián Gordín.

From September 20, 2014 – February 15, 2015, the Blanton will present a selection of approximately 70 works from the collection. Entitled La línea continuathe exhibition takes its name from an elegant sculpture from the collection by Enio Iommi: a stainless steel “line” that traces an infinite loop in space. The work is also a fitting metaphor for the continual and nourishing connection between Judy and Charles Tate, the University of Texas, and the Blanton.

To bookend and contextualize the works in La línea continua, the Blanton has organized two counterpart installations that together span much of the history, culture, and geography of Latin America.

Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary: Colonial Painting from South America features seven paintings on loan from two of the country’s most distinguished collections of colonial South American art—the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, New York, and the Marilynn and Carl Thoma Collection, Chicago. The paintings, created in what are now the countries of Peru and Venezuela, represent devotions to Mary that were popular in Spain in the 17th and 18th centuries and brought to the Americas by Spanish colonists.

On the contemporary front, a selection of works from internationally recognized artist Doris Salcedo will be displayed. Salcedo addresses themes of loss and mourning with works that cross international boundaries. Employing domestic objects such as furniture and clothing—once activated and personal—her sculptures explore the history of violence and oppression in her native Colombia and beyond, giving voice to the marginalized, missing, or deceased.

Looking for more Latin American art from our collection? Visit our website, or check out our Pinterest board with works from the collection and the Tate gift. Don’t miss seeing these incredible works of Latin American art at the Blanton this season!

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A rendering of A Mathematical

Landmarks Presents: Opening Reception and Q&A for Artist Casey Reas

A rendering of "A Mathematical Theory of Communication" by Casey Reas.
A rendering of A Mathematical Theory of Communication by Casey Reas.

Join Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin, and UT’s Department of Computer Science on Friday, October 10, 2014 for the unveiling of A Mathematical Theory of Communication by Casey Reas.

Reas, a digital media artist and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, has explored software as an artistic medium for more than a decade. His open source programming language explores visual systems and emergent form, blending computer science technology and visual art traditions. He has been featured in galleries and museums internationally, in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions. Reas’s installation at the Gates Dell Complex will be a large-scale, computer generated application featured on two walls near the main atrium. A Mathematical Theory of Communication will be the third work of public art associated with the GDC building, complementing the works of Sol LeWitt installed in 2013.

5:30 p.m. – Public Q&A with artist Casey Reas and moderator Christiane Paul, Ph.D.
Gates Dell Complex 2.216

6:30 p.m. – Celebratory reception with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Gates Dell Complex atrium

Please RSVP to assure your spot.

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"The Making of Gone With The Wind" is on view at the Harry Ransom Center through January 4.

Now open at the Ransom Center: “The Making of Gone With The Wind”

"The Making of Gone With The Wind" is on view at the Harry Ransom Center through January 4.
“The Making of Gone With The Wind” is on view at the Harry Ransom Center through January 4.

The exhibition The Making of Gone With The Wind is on view at the Harry Ransom Center through January 4.

 

Go behind the scenes of one of the classic films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Featuring more than 300 rarely seen and some never-before-exhibited materials, the exhibition is drawn entirely from the Ransom Center’s collections and includes on-set photographs, storyboards, correspondence and fan mail, production records, makeup stills, concept art, costume sketches, audition footage, and producer David O. Selznick’s memos. The green curtain dress and other gowns worn by Vivien Leigh are displayed together for the first time in more than 25 years.

 

Before a single frame of film was shot, Gone With The Wind was embroiled in controversy. Selznick struggled to balance his desire for authenticity with audience expectations of spectacle. Americans debated who should be cast as Rhett and Scarlett. There were serious concerns about how the 1939 film, based on the 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell, would depict race, sex, and violence in the South during the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction.

 

This insider view reveals why Gone With The Wind remains influential and controversial 75 years after it was released.

 

Admission to the exhibition is free. No tickets or reservations are required. Your donation supports the Ransom Center’s exhibitions and public programs.

 

The Making of Gone With The Wind can be seen starting Sept. 9 in the Ransom Center Galleries on Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. Member-only hours are offered on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.

 

Public tours are offered every day at noon, as well as Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Selected Gone With The Wind screentests will be shown in the Ransom Center’s first-floor theater at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on weekends, immediately following the public tour.

 

A fully illustrated exhibition catalog of the same title will be co-published by the Harry Ransom Center and University of Texas Press in September with a foreword written by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) host and film historian Robert Osborne. Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by TCM.

 

Complementing the physical exhibition is the web exhibition Producing Gone With The Wind, which explores the purchase of the rights to Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone With The Wind; the casting of the star actress, Vivien Leigh, as Scarlett O’Hara; and the research-intensive aesthetic work in the film related to costumes, hair, and makeup. The exhibition also gives online visitors and researchers an opportunity to search through a selection of more than 3,000 letters from the David O. Selznick collection, by individuals who sought auditions, solicited employment, and protested the production.

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WorkLAB Satellites: An Interview with Artist Leslie Mutchler

To further its efforts to serve as a hub for inspiration and site for creativity, the Blanton has commissioned artist Leslie Mutchler to create new works of art to be used as creativity stations within the museum. Titled WorkLAB Satellites,the 40 x 90 inch mobile and flatpack workstations will supplement the Blanton’s WorkLab program—a series of open studio experiences offered to children and their families each summer.

Photo by Deborah Cannon for Austin360
Leslie Mutchler in front of the WorkLAB Satellites. Photo by Deborah Cannon for Austin360

Cut from birch plywood on a CNC router, each of the workstations is designed to be configured and reconfigured in a multitude of ways; changing the look of the work environment in conjunction with new projects. Window-like openings will enable visitors of all ages to engage in conversation as they create.  The stations will be stocked with everyday materials such as tape, paper, pencils, stencils and chipboard. Simple directives in English and Spanish will offer instruction for creating paper sculpture, collage and weaving, among other projects.

To introduce the project, we sat down with Leslie to interview her about her creative process and how WorkLAB Satellites came to be.

How did the idea for these creativity stations originate? What drew you to collaborating with the Blanton on this project?

For the last six years, my work has become more and more participatory. I installed a project titled tumblrEAL at Gensler Global Architecture in Austin in the spring of 2012. The project consisted of cardboard (temporary) furniture (shelving, sawhorses, and wall frames) that housed a large assortment of digitally printed images sourced from my personal tumblr site. I installed the project as a way to give the architects at Gensler (sitting behind computers and surrounded by gray cubicles) something visually striking to look at and also something to physically engage in. All of the prints were hole punched and could be easy moved from one location to another, providing endless ways in which an interested viewer could sort through and curate visual information. This level of participation has been increasingly more important in my work in the last few years as I am invested in collaboration and the notion of flux within my work. In late 2012 I developed TrendFACTORY as a production-based participatory project, in which I ask the audience to make three-dimensional forms from printed and pre-scored chipboard using limited materials and tools. I provide the maker with simple instructions and ask that the final object be documented (by the use of a smartphone or camera) and uploaded to an online archive.

Ray Williams, Director of Education and Academic Affairs at the Blanton Museum, approached me in the late spring of 2013, after he had seen TrendFACTORY at the Visual Art Center on UT Campus. He and I talked at length about the project, our interests in creating a work space for people to make and share with one another, and thus he asked me if I was interested in proposing a similar project to the Blanton, but on a larger scale. I was thrilled to engage in such a challenge- and we were off and running.

Can you explain the significance of the name “WorkLAB Satellites?” What do you hope to connote with this title?

I think there is a common misconception that an artist spends time in their studio messing around in hopes that something good might come from the time spent. While play is an important aspect of the artist’s studio practice more important is the notion of work. When I go to my studio, I work. I read, I research, I study materials and processes, I calculate and imagine outcomes and most importantly I work hard to design and create installations or projects that will invite a particular response and read from my viewer. In short- working in my studio is work. It’s the work that I’m most happy to engage in, but it’s work none-the-less. The word “lab” is in reference to the idea of the laboratory- or a place where experimentation and play takes place.

The word “satellites” references the modularity and ever-changing composition and make-up of the work environment. WorkLAB Satellites can be installed and deinstalled quickly; it can change formation; house different materials and processes; and is in constant dialogue with the Blanton’s permanent hands-on studio for making, WorkLAB.

Photo by Deborah Cannon for Austin360
The WorkLAB Satellites installed at the Blanton. Photo by Deborah Cannon for Austin360

Why are these artworks designed to be interactive, and what do you hope participants will get out of the experience?

It is my hope that through these guided projects, making use of simple but rich materials and processes, the user can experience a high-level of engagement with the making of a creative work. I believe a person, regardless of familiarity with the art world, can bring a wide range of aesthetic and cultural knowledge to their creative work practice. Essentially, they put themselves into that thing. This too is what artists do; it’s why we become so attached to the things that we make. As artists we know that work starts with an idea (whether that be small or grand). One can imagine and perhaps see it in their mind, but ultimately the thing that they are making/ writing/ composing never ends up looking like what was imagined. This, I think, is the lynchpin of creative practice; learning to see and appreciate results that might not have been planned. I want to give that experience to a person (a non-maker/ non-artist) so that they might find a new appreciation for the trials and tribulations of the creative practice.

The IKEA effect, coined by Associate Professor, Michael Norton at the Harvard Business School, is a study that proves the increase of valuation for handmade products. This psychological phenomenon essentially tells us that our labor leads to love. People that make an object with their hands (from baked goods to IKEA furniture) are inclined to be more attracted to their results as opposed to those results stemming from external efforts. By giving an individual materials and guidelines for making I am empowering that person to find value in using their hands.

What role does social media play in the artwork? What is the importance of documenting the work, and how do you achieve that in your directions?

The photos I ask the maker to take and upload exist as a way to document what happens in the work space. The online archive serves as a way for people to revisit that experience of making and for people from around the world to view that experience without actually having to be there or participate. The archive also serves a cross-section of the cyclical nature of aesthetics and a look into the current hand skills of the public.

We are surrounded by social media in all other aspects of our lives. We document experiences, travel, events and moments and send it out into the world for instant gratification. Why shouldn’t we want the same from our creative endeavors and struggles. It’s my belief that social media, while primarily is a social tool, also facilitates learning and investigation. We research, seek and engage with like- minded people and projects, and we seek to connect to a larger world to achieve greatness.

WorkLab Satellites is made possible by a grant from Texas Women for the Arts.

tx

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Photo by Pete Smith.

Displaying at World War I uniform at the Harry Ransom Center and a film series to complement “The World at War, 1914-1918”

Photo by Pete Smith.
Photo by Pete Smith.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Harry Ransom Center staff customized a mannequin to display a World War I uniform in the current exhibition The World at War, 1914–1918. Learn more about how custom legs were crafted and attached to an adolescent size dress form as Assistant Curator of Costumes and Personal Effects Jill Morena shares the step-by-step process that went into preparing this uniform for display.

 

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Ransom Center, Austin Film Society, and Paramount Theatre are presenting a series of films made during or about World War I.

 

The films will be screened throughout the summer at the Ransom Center, Paramount Theatre, and Austin Film Society. Films in the series include The African Queen (1951), The Big Parade (1925), Gallipoli (1981),  J’Accuse! (1919), Jules and Jim (1962), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Sergeant York (1941), A Farewell to Arms (1932), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). View the full schedule.

 

Screenings at the Ransom Center are free. Tickets are required for screenings at the Paramount and Austin Film Society and may be purchased at their box offices or on the Paramount website or the Austin Film Society’s website.

 

In honor of Memorial Day, the Ransom Center Galleries will be open from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. next Monday, May 26. Join us for a free docent-led tour of the exhibition The World at War, 1914–1918 at noon. The Ransom Center’s administrative offices and Library Reading/Viewing Rooms will be closed for Memorial Day.

 

Image: Photo by Pete Smith.

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Celebrate the culture of the ’60s!

shirt
Love the sixties? Don’t miss our new exhibit, “Sixty from the ’60s,” on display through January 4, 2015. It features iconic photographs, historic objects and documents, books, clothing, posters, and artwork related to sixty Americans who made an impact on this seminal era and whose work continues to be relevant today.

Included are original lyrics written by Bob Dylan, a Telstar satellite, a dress worn by Jacqueline Kennedy, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s communications headset, a boxing glove worn and signed by Muhammad Ali, and an original Peanuts comic strip – just to name a few of the many cultural icons that will be on display. As visitors explore the exhibit, they’ll also hear a soundtrack of songs from the 60s chosen as the best of that decade by renowned musical artists and the public.

After you enjoy the exhibit, take home this souvenir shirt from our museum store! Read more here.

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