Posts Tagged ‘Blanton Museum’

Hudson River school of painting: last day for this show

Today’s the very last day for a wonderful traveling exhibition at the Blanton Museum. There’s still time to get there before it closes at five.

It’s called “American Scenery: Different Views in Hudson River School Painting.” Views of the Susquehanna, Hudson, Saco, and other rivers and panoramas of Niagara, Lake George, Saranac astonish in their beauty. The 119 works of art are for the most part quite small, and the frames are as interesting as the art displayed within them. There’s always instructional material in addition to the labels mounted on the walls; look in the slots in the middle of the banks of benches in the exhibition halls.

The Blanton cafe and gift shop are worth visits for their own sake. There’s a gift in every price range for every age: books, toys, stationery, tabletop items, and much, much more.

Turner to Monet: today and tomorrow

Those wishing to tour the “Turner to Monet” exhibit at the Blanton Museum may do so from 11 am to 5 pm even though it’s New Year’s Day, and also during the same hours tomorrow, which is the very last day to see these masterpieces.

Yesterday, the line formed outside the doors before they opened. Being there early makes for a less crowded experience than arriving later, but these galleries are far from deserted. We found no exhibition catalogue or even a listing of the paintings, but the Web site mentions many of them. There’s a descriptive card for each painting, and the cards appear to be placed at a height convenient for those in wheelchairs; all others but the most diminutive or those with the sharpest vision must stoop to read. The galleries take viewers to an exit via the museum gift shop, where there are stationery items and other inventory related to the exhibit, most of which feature the Degas, Monet, or Manet.

Not to be missed is the exhibit upstairs called “Repartee: 19th-Century Prints and Drawings from The Blanton Collection.” This runs through January 16 and is intended to be a companion to the works downstairs. Here, the views are unobstructed by others, and the rewards to the viewer are exceptionally great.

We all have a fantasy art collection. I’d like the Asher B. Durand and the orientalist paintings, plus nearly every one of the prints and drawings in the Repartee exhibit. This is a wonderful alternative to football, football, and more football, and the entry fee is worth every penny.

Lines and more lines

Time’s running out, and not just on the year 2010. This picture of the tranquil allĂ©e outside the Blanton Museum does nothing to convey the bustle there this morning. Today is the last day of free admission for the loan exhibit from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, and long lines snaked everywhere. People were being admitted only as others left. After waiting but seeming to make no progress, we departed (as did many others), planning to try again tomorrow. “Turner to Monet” will be on view through January 2.

Katz’s will klose at the end of business on January 2. We waited in line there, also, today, seeing many familiar faces, but didn’t wait long enough to take a seat. Out-of-town visitors always want to visit Katz’s at least once a day while they’re in town. Katz’s for me has always been the place to go in the middle of the night. At those times, the acoustics are hushed, all are members of one big party, and everything tastes just as good as it can be. Everyone has a favorite main and side; in our household, we’ll especially miss the true milkshakes and the giant perfect potato pancakes.

All Katz’s souvenirs are sold out, it appears. The bar seems to be as it has ever been. The menu for these dwindling days is in abbreviated form and is not the complete one of yesteryear. So call ahead to learn whether your favorite is still being served.

Austin art exhibition receives national notice

The exhibition of the Petrobelli altarpiece by Veronese, just concluded at the Blanton, receives a good three print pages in The New Republic (“Venice in Texas,” byline Jed Perl, February 18). Here’s a representative quotation offering tribute to the curatorial knowledge at the Blanton: “In Austin, the exhibition was embraced by a loyal audience that has come to expect word-class scholarly work from the curators at the Blanton.” The accomplishments so far and the goals for the future are recognized. Perl dislikes the atrium and staircase as much as many of us do (“simultaneously overbearing and bland”). The Blanton is credited at its fiest with “exhibitions in which the best art historical scholarship, closely linked to the academic values of the university, flows seamlessly into the dazzling showmanship that any museum needs to attract the public.” The Veronese show is said to be “a powerful example of a modium-sized museum building on its strengths and coming up with something truly substantial.” The Suida-Manning, Leo Steinberg, and Latin American collections are recognized for their artistic and scholarly value. “Even after you have factored in Austin’s long tradition of intellectual sophistication, there is something rather extraordinary about the amount of money that has been raised to support a program of collections and exibitions,” Perl says. I’ve noticed that the Blanton seems to have cut back on its mailings and other forms of publicity. We should not overlook the gem in our midst; the rest of the world doesn’t.

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