Realism to Raphael: Summer Exhibitions at the Blanton Museum Now on View

June 27, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas — This summer, the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin presents two exhibitions to delight and inspire visitors interested in everything from High Renaissance to contemporary art.

Startlingly Real Artwork in “Lifelike”

Miniature elevator artwork by Maurizio Cattelan

Maurizio Cattelan, "Untitled," 2001, stainless steel, composition wood,electric motor, electric light, electric bell, computer, 23 1/2 x 33 5/8 x 185/8 in., Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

The exhibition “Lifelike,” on view at the Blanton until Sept. 22, invites a close examination of artworks based on commonplace objects and situations that are startlingly realistic but often made of unexpected materials in unusual sizes.

Organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, this international, multigenerational group exhibition features 75 works from the 1960s to the present by leading figures in contemporary art, such as Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, Gerhard Richter, James Casebere, Vija Celmins, Keith Edmier, Robert Gober, Ron Mueck, Mungo Thomson and Ai Weiwei, and illuminates artists’ enduring fascination with realism.

Avoiding the flashiness embraced by 1960s pop artists and the slick urban scenes introduced at that time by the Photorealists, contemporary artists in “Lifelike” investigate often overlooked objects and moments as subject matter: a paper bag, an eraser, an apple core, a waiting room, an afternoon nap. Favoring a handmade, labor-intensive practice over technological enhancement, the works in the exhibition — including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing and video — transform the seemingly ordinary into something beguiling, loaded with narrative and metaphor.

The Blanton serves as the final venue for “Lifelike,” which opened at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and toured at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

Highlights from the Blanton’s Renowned Prints and Drawings Collection in “Luminous”

Etching of woman walking in New York

Martin Lewis, "Night in New York," 1926, etching, only state, 13 3/8 x 11 15/16 in., Gift of E. Wyllys Andrews IV, © Estate of Martin Lewis

As part of a series of events organized in celebration of its milestone 50th anniversary, the Blanton presents “Luminous: 50 Years of Collecting Prints and Drawings at the Blanton.” On view through Sept. 15, the exhibition highlights the breadth and depth of the museum’s collection of works on paper and provides a rare opportunity to see some of its finest examples displayed together for the first time.

Exhibition highlights include a self-portrait by Diego Rivera and Vik Muniz’s “Jorge,” a portrait of the celebrated Brazilian musician Seu Jorge, Raphael’s “The Holy Family” (1508-09), Pablo Picasso’s “Minotaure aveugle guide par une fillette dans la nuit” (1933-34), Mary Cassatt’s “In the Opera Box” (circa 1880) and Yayoi Kusama’s “Horizontal Love, along with works by Cézanne, Cambiaso, Kentridge, Whistler, Kandinsky and numerous others.

In “Luminous, visitors can examine some of the Blanton’s most iconic works of art in new ways. Salon-style hanging allows for a unique viewing experience, while thoughtful curatorial pairings bring to light intriguing visual connections between works that span centuries, continents and artistic movements.

The Blanton’s encyclopedic collection of works on paper has an international reputation and serves as a resource for art historians and other researchers in the field. Representing a wide range of subjects and techniques, “Luminous” celebrates the Blanton’s impressive legacy and bright future.

High-resolution images for both exhibitions are available for the media.

“Lifelike” is organized by the Walker Art Center and made possible by generous support from John L. Thomson and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous funding for “Lifelike” at the Blanton is provided by Jeanne and Michael Klein, with additional support from George and Nicole Jeffords.

For more information, contact: Samantha Youngblood;  Kathleen Brady Stimpert, Jack S Blanton Museum of Art, 512-475-6784; Stacey Ingram Kaleh, Jack S Blanton Museum of Art, 512-471-8433.