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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