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DISCOVERY MAGAZINE

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Blanton Musuem of Art


One of the few of its kind in the country and one of the finest in the world, the collection of Latin American art at the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art includes more than 1,600 works of art, representing more than 500 artists from eighteen countries. The collection reflects the Blanton’s thirty-seven-year history of leadership in this field and complements the other internationally recognized programs of study in Latin American history, culture, politics and society at the University of Texas.

Pieces from the Blanton Museum of Art
Fernando Botero
Santa Rosa de Lima según Vásquez
Oil on canvas
Gift of John and Barbara Duncan, Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, 1971
The core of the Blanton’s collection came through the generous donations of Barbara and John Duncan, who made their first gift in 1971, and the Barbara Duncan Collection remains at the center of the Blanton’s holdings. The museum’s full collection of modern and contemporary Latin American art spans the twentieth century and includes important works by Fernando Botero, Luis Camnitzer, Eugenio Dittborn, Armando Morales, Liliana Porter and Joaquín Torres-García among many others. Ongoing acquisitions initiatives continue to enhance the range and depth of the collection, providing new opportunities for exhibitions, teaching and research. Recently, the Blanton acquired a number of intriguing contemporary works by acclaimed artists such as Cildo Meireles, Regina Silveira, Juan Calzadilla and León Ferrari.
Pieces from the Blanton Museum of Art
Joaquín Torres-García
Constructif en rouge et ocre
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Eugene McDermott Foundation in honor of Barbara Duncan Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, 1981

The museum is also pursuing the cross-pollination of its twentieth-century American and Latin American art collections. Recent acquisitions by artists such as Ana Mendieta, Fabian Marcaccio and Luis Jiménez Jr. illustrate the dialogue between Latin America and the cultures of Mexican-American, Latino(a), Puerto Rican and other Latin American artists working in the United States.

Many highlights of the museum’s comprehensive collection can be explored on-line, thanks to a partnership between the Blanton Museum of Art and the Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC). Visitors to the Blanton/LANIC Web site may search for specific works of art by artist’s name or by nationality, or they may browse through thumbnail sketches of the eighty-three works available for on-line study. Key facts, including the artist’s dates and nationality and the media he or she used, accompany each image.
Pieces from the Blanton Museum of Art
Cildo Meireles
Detail, Missão/Missões (How to Build Cathedrals)
Mixed-media installation
Museum purchase with funds provided by Peter Norton Family Foundation Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, 1998
Invaluable for the study of these works, each image is available to be viewed at three different levels of detail. Smaller images may be useful for browsing and gaining a general idea of the scope and types of works represented, while larger, more detailed images are crucial for in-depth study of the works of a particular artist or country.

For example, Argentinean artist Liliana Porter’s 1980 assemblage Historia sin fin appears in its more general view as a sparse composition of nearly monochromatic elements balanced against one another across an expanse of canvas. However, after selecting the larger, more detailed representation, the small and delicate components of the piece emerge as varied and highly detailed images in their own right, deepening the viewer’s understanding of the work.

Pieces from the Blanton Museum of Art
Regina Silveira
Masterpieces (In Absentia: M.D.)
Vinyl
Gift of the artist and Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund
While two-dimensional, on-line images can never replace the “face-to-face” encounter with a work of art, the images available on the Blanton/LANIC Web site offer scholars and the general public a great way to introduce themselves to, remind themselves of and further explore specific pieces from the Blanton’s collection when a visit to the museum is impractical or impossible.An active program of exhibitions and educational opportunities reinforces the Blanton’s role as a valuable resource for the UT and Central Texas communities. The critically acclaimed 1999–2000 exhibition Cantos Paralelos: Visual Parody in Contemporary Argentinean Art, for example, presented the work of nine of the most outstanding Argentinean artists of the past three decades and traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, Bogotá, Colombia and Buenos Aires, Argentina. While on view at the Blanton, the groundbreaking exhibition was accompanied by a cross-disciplinary festival of Argentinean culture that included lectures by prominent Argentinean artists and writers, films and complementary exhibitions of art and artifacts.

As the principal art museum serving Austin and Central Texas, the Blanton plays a leading role in promoting a comprehensive awareness of Latin American art and culture through its own collection and through collaborations with a wide range of organizations from the University of Texas, across the state and around the world. The museum continues to build and explore its holdings through innovative exhibitions and programming for students, scholars and visitors.

For more information about the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art and its collections, call 512-471-7324 or visit the Blanton Museum of Art Web site.

Nicole Chism Griffin

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May 14, 2002
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