My final Blanton ‘escapade’

Once again I traversed the serenity of the atrium from the diverse exhibition pieces.  I traveled upstairs excited to revel in pieces acquired through donations by patrons as Farah Fawcett and the American novelist James Michener and his wife Mari, among many others, to the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas at Austin.  True to the Blanton, my perceptions change again as spacious areas turned into intimate rooms with a variety of seemingly tall and small domed ceilings with panes of glass. Lightening is dimmed to protect the prints and paintings that showcase the various galleries.  Here in these various intimate galleries the European Masters are showcased from the small prints of the 14th Century to the impressive oils as in Three Maries at the Tomb.  This 181.7cm x 150.5 cm oil on wood panel was created by Jacopo Chimenti, (Jacopo da Empoli) in the 1570’s.

     Moving past the prints and art works of the European Masters, a small antiquities selection of Greek vases, vessels, reliefs, and cemetery markers allowed a shift in dimensions as I moved into a room filled with American Painters and sculptures.  The CR Smith art collection of the American West as well as pieces of Iron Works by Solon H. Borglann bridges the antiquities hall to the hall of Cast Statues. These casts range from free standing to busts whose originals lie in the best museums around the World. These casts date to the 17th and 18th Century and allowed students of Universities to study the art of the Greeks and Romans when they could not afford to study abroad.

     Just when I thought I reached the end, another hallway leads me to a huge L-shaped gallery. As if on cue, perceptions change again to see a very modern long gallery with a running skylight across the ceiling. Huge modern pieces encompass not only the white walls, but the dark hardwood floors with only a few low walled partitions in the middle of the floor to break the flow. The other long portion of the L-shaped gallery changes both perception and dimension again, as this room holds large pieces that use materials previously discarded or materials that can be used again. However, it is a dark room sandwiched between that will ultimately draw the attention.

     In this dark room a single piece stands in illumination. It is Cildo Meireles’ Missalo/Missoes [Mission/Missions]. A favorite among patrons, a soft black cloth, reminiscent of course steel tulle hangs off of the exhibit. Passing through the cloth, I walk around a square fountain of brass coins representing wealth. Hanging above the 600,000 coins that glimmer and dance with light and shadow are 200 suspended cattle bones representing agriculture. Connecting the two together is a single strand of communion wafers. This unique piece represents the Jesuit Missions and “draws attention to the fact that the conquest of the Americas was as much about economics as it was about religion or saving souls.”

   Tacked on the edge of the collections galleries is an obscure but special room.  Known as the e-lounge, this room is brimming with knowledge where computers, audio, and books enrich the concepts of color, shape, and analysis. There is even a book club for those adventurers of both literature and art. If interested in the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas in Austin, visit

By Colleen Katelynn Pepper

Published by on September 2011. Filed under Archives, Reviews-other, Two Sisters Bookmart. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed