Austin is known for its creativity. With good reason. Not only are we home to some world-class museums, we're also home to plenty of artists themselves. Take a look at our spring arts and culture roundup for some of Austin's best seasonal exhibits.
The Contemporary Austin Downtown: Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 19992015 In a multi-site exhibition at The Contemporary Austin, American sculptor Tom Sachs employs the iconography of the boombox and a large-scale play with forms to examine ideas of production, innovation, and desire. The look of Sachs is unmistakably his own: an art world provocateur with a youthful visage, dressed in what could be called smart boyish attireoxfords buttoned to the collar, pants rolled, stylish sneakers with his signature mop of curly hair, facial scruff, and round glasses. With wit, charm, and a mischievous grin, Sachs scans his surroundings for potential fodder for his work, pulling a myriad of everyday references into his creative orbit. JANUARY 24 - APRIL 19, 2015
Laguna Gloria: John Grade: Canopy Tower Canopy Tower, a new commission by artist John Grade, is an ongoing exploration of landscape is at the forefront of the Seattle-based sculptors practice. Pulling from his avid travels through various terrains, including the arctic circle and the Great Basin Desert, Escalante plateau, and other canyonlands and mountains of the southwest, Grade absorbs and mirrors patterns found in nature, engaging these organic elements in his monumental, sometimes multi-site projects. His sculptures question the human journey through time and space through the lens of the environment, while many of his recent projects also allow for an interactive experience with the work.
Lucky Dragons: 17,000 Observations 17,000 Observations is a new musical composition and temporary sculptural and sound installation developed for Laguna Gloria's floodplain forest site by Los Angeles based collaborative artist duo Lucky Dragons. The exhibition will be accessible both as a performance in which a small instrumental ensemble plays the composition and as an environmental recording, which can be played by visitors to the floodplain forest site. NOVEMBER 9, 2014 - MAY 31, 2015
Blanton Museum of Art: Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, is an exhibition of approximately 100 works by 66 artists that explores how painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and photography not only responded to the political and social turmoil of the era, but also helped influence its direction. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the exhibition highlights the wide-ranging aesthetic approaches used to address the struggle for civil rights. The diverse group of artists in the exhibition includes, among others, Barkley Hendricks, Charles White, Andy Warhol, May Stevens, Philip Guston, Betye Saar, David Hammons, Jack Whitten, Danny Lyon, Romare Bearden and Faith Ringgold. Unique to the Blanton's presentation is the inclusion of a rarely-seen portrait of President Lyndon Baines Johnson by Norman Rockwell, a special loan from the LBJ Library and Museum. FEBRUARY 15 - MAY 10, 2015
Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary: Colonial Painting from South America To further celebrate and contextualize the Judy and Charles Tate Collection of Latin American art recently gifted to the Blanton, the museum will present a selection of colonial religious paintings from South America and works by renowned Colombian artist Doris Salcedo. Drawn from private collections in the United States, the installations will complement La lnea Continua, the Blanton's current exhibition of highlights from the Tate Collection. Together, the presentations will provide viewers an expansive view of much of the history, culture and geography of Latin America. SEPTEMBER 20 - JUNE 14, 2015
Bullock Texas State History Museum: La Belle: The Ship That Changed History Special Exhibition The Bullock Museum's special exhibit showcasing recently conserved hull timbers and artifacts excavated from the 1686 French shipwreck in Matagorda Bay opens in October 2014. Newly edited film footage, rare artifacts, touch pad games, interviews with conservators, and the transformation of a 600-piece, three-dimensional "jigsaw puzzle" into a recognizable ship over the course of the exhibit will make this a unique opportunity for visitors of all ages. OCTOBER 25, 2014 - MAY 17, 2015
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at the Harry Ransom Center. Photo provided by Harry Ransom Center.
Harry Ransom Center: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland The Ransom Center celebrates 150 years of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with an exhibition for the curious and curiouser of all ages. Learn about Lewis Carroll and the real Alice who inspired his story. See one of the few surviving copies of the first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Discover the rich array of personal and literary references that Carroll incorporated throughout Alice. Explore the surprising transformations of Alice and her story as they have traveled through time and across continents. Follow the White Rabbit's path through the exhibition, have a tea party, or watch a 1933 paper filmstrip that has been carefully treated by Ransom Center conservators. The Center's vast collections offer a new look at a story that has delighted generations and inspired artists from Salvador Dali to Walt Disney. FEBRUARY 10 - JULY 6, 2015
Women and Their Work: Sara Frantz: Between Borderlands Sara Frantz's recent work explores the contemporary built environment once-removed. Her subjects tend toward the anonymous and ubiquitous: standard commercial buildings, often ornamented with eye-catching architectural flair, are carefully framed by trimmed hedges and lawns. These locations are seemingly viewed from the (never explicitly shown) roadside, which indirectly reveals that extensive travel and chance encounters with varied architectural vernaculars is an important catalyst for Frantz's process. This point of view also presents her buildings as closed, slightly mysterious tableaux: no one enters or exits and contents are never revealed. JANUARY 24 - MARCH 19, 2015
Hollis Hammonds: Blanket of Frog Hollis Hammonds is obsessed with man-made and natural disasters. Her childhood home burned down in 1986 and she's currently gleaning photos from the internet of similar but less personal chaotic moments sourced in Blanket of Fog. Featuring charcoals, inks and other materials these large scale drawings are digital collages that memorialize childhood memories of piles of rubble and smoke. The gestural and emotional quality of the drawings is tangible as she seeks to preserve and convey a mood. Hammonds reflects on the nature of objects and artifacts. Her work is at once personal story, a conjured memory and a projected social fantasy. APRIL 2 - MAY 7, 2015
Wally Workman Gallery: Fatima Ronquillo: Possession Ronquillo's fifth show with the gallery, Possession, exposes the portrait as captor. In essence, portraits are vignettes of personalities held in cherished objects. These figures are possessed by the mind of the viewer, however, are they also the possessors? Where lies the literal as well as the emotional claim? There lurks the uncertainty. Born in San Fernando, Philippines in 1976, Fatima Ronquillo immigrated as a child to the United States in 1987 where her family settled in San Antonio, Texas. MARCH 7 - 28, 2015
Mexic-Arte Museum: Selections from the Contemporary Art Collection Selections from the Mexic-Arte Museum Contemporary Art Collection will showcase the recent contemporary acquisitions of the Mexic-Arte Museum by artists such as David Shek Vega, Adriana Corral, Miguel Aragon, Teresa Cervantes, and Gil Rocha. JANUARY 23 - MAY 31, 2015
Hello Lamp Post Hello Lamp Post brings to life the hidden stories of Austin by finding out what the street furniture has to say. Get talking to familiar objects around the city using text messages. For 10 weeks only everyday things will come to life. Created by London based Pan Studio, the project has been commissioned by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department in celebration of the Art in Public Places program's 30th anniversary year, and in partnership with Art Alliance Austin. Text Hello Lamp Post at 512-580-7373 with the phrase Hello (object name) # (object number) to join the conversation!
Big Medium: Greg Pond & Jesse Cahn Thompson: Flat Earth Folded Flat Earth Folded is a sculptural installation that uses transducers to activate various materials as speakers. The exhibition is both site and sense-specific. Thompson and Pond are interested in how the perception of the physical size and movement of sound defines the space around us. The arrangement of objects and sound in the work creates a reframing and re-describing of our temporal and spatial experience. A sonic transducer transforms the material to which it is attached into the device that conveys pulses of energy into audible sound. This transformation of energy to sound to spatial/sculptural arrangement defines the structure for each of their projects. MARCH 6- APRIL 18, 2015
For a weekly listing of art talks and other events, the Art Alliance's Austin Art Weekly is a great resource!