Blanton Blooper?

Last December, when UT Austin President Larry Faulkner announced that the firm which would design the new Blanton Museum of Art at Speedway and MLK was Herzog & de Meuron Arkitekten, Basel, Switzerland, we tried to think positively about the choice. Given the firm's glowing reputation, based on projects like the new Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London, we wanted to believe Herzog & de Meuron could deliver a miracle museum, striking and satisfying to both the architectural connoisseur and the conservative partisan to traditional campus building design. But in our hearts, we feared that a Swiss firm and a Lone Star institution of higher education was an unpalatable match -- hot chocolate and Pearl beer, if you will. And last week we got a little indication of that when the UT Regents got a gander at Herzog & de Meuron's initial designs for their new world-class museum and balked. Turns out the rather minimalist look -- which was pretty much in line with the firm's previous work, if the illustrations published in the Austin American-Statesman are any guide -- didn't sit well with the regents. So it's back to the proverbial drawing board for the architects, and we'll see if their next effort comes any closer to Pearl territory. The new Blanton is scheduled to open in 2002.

More Travelin' Artists

Last week's feature story on Austin artists who are spending their summer vacation time doing art in other cities was too small to cover every local director, playwright, actor, dancer, and painter who's hitting the road this summer, so here's an addendum covering a few more wandering locals and what they're up to.

  • Director Michael Bloom of the UT Austin Department of Theatre & Dance headed to Boston last month to accept the 1999 Elliott Norton Award for Outstanding Direction at a Major Theatre for Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, which he staged at the Huntington Theatre Company there. Our hearty congratulations to him. Next month, he returns to Boston to direct Mrs. Warren's Profession at the Huntington.
  • Playwright Colin Swanson (Waterless Places) has flown off to Prague for two weeks. While the reason for the trip is unrelated to theatre -- Swanson does accounting work and some writing for a small legal and economic consulting firm there -- the playwright will be strengthening her ties to the English-language theatre community developed during the time she lived there and during follow-up visits. In 1997, she attended the Prague Summer Writers' Workshop, where she spent two weeks under the guidance of Paula Vogel. This year, Swanson says she'll be looking into applying for a Fulbright, networking for potential teaching and research opportunities in theatre, and getting a better grip on the language.
  • Josh Frank -- whose Theaterless Theater Corps is headed to NYC for the Ice Factory '99 gig reported in last week's article, just returnedfrom Prague, one of his stops on a vacation tour of Europe. In addition to seeing lots of theatre (including a rarely staged opera by Kurt Weill which travels to the Brooklyn Academy of Music this spring), Frank met with the manager of German filmmaker Werner Herzog and got permission to stage the first authorized adaptation of one of his films. Frank's Stroszek, adapted from Herzog's The Ballad of Bruno Stroszek will premiere locally this fall.

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More Articulations
The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003


Larry Faulkner, Jack S. Blanton Museum Of Art, Herzog & De Meuron, Arkitekten, Michael Bloom, Ut Austin Department Of Theatre & Dance, Huntington Theatre Company, Colin Swanson, Paula Vogel, Josh Frank, Theaterless Theater Corps, Werner Herzog

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