Blanton Museum of Art

Atrium blues

Blanton Museum of Art

The atrium of the Blanton Museum of Art's Michener Gallery Building was designed to make a statement, and until recently that statement seemed to be: white! Here was this vast open space, with natural light streaming in on walls two stories high, and they had nothing on them but paint the color of a snowman's back. Since the staircase leading to the second-floor collections cuts through the atrium, walking up or down gave one plenty of time to notice those bare walls and the conspicuous absence of art.

Well, that's changed as of Jan. 31. The atrium is now host to an artwork almost as epic as the space itself: 3,100 square feet of custom-cast acrylic in various shades of blue, laid out in horizontal bands from the ground floor almost to the top of the staircase. Titled Stacked Waters, the installation is the work of 2005 MacArthur Fellow Teresita Fernández, who was commissioned to create it for the Blanton through the generosity of museum patrons Jeanne and Michael Klein. It plays on the artist's longstanding interests in our relationships with the natural world and architecture, how materials in a built environment can be manipulated to suggest nature, and immersing viewers in a piece. Stacked Waters – art fans who have made the pilgrimage to Marfa may pick up on the title's tip of the hat to Donald Judd – pretty much turns the Blanton's atrium into a huge pool of water, with natural light playing on the reflective striations of blue and white in much the way it does with standing water in a pool. Fernández has also indicated that she intends the bands to function as a mirror, capturing Blanton visitors as we move in and out of "the pool" and creating "a changing portrait of Texas light." A traveling exhibition of other recent work by the artist will land at the Blanton Nov. 1 for a two-month run. For more information, visit www.blantonmuseum.org.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Blanton Museum of Art
The Blanton Museum Undertakes a $35 Million Makeover of Its Grounds
The Blanton Museum Undertakes a $35 Million Makeover of Its Grounds
With the international architectural firm Snøhetta, the UT museum will add community spaces and art to its outdoor experience

Robert Faires, Jan. 22, 2021

Diedrick Brackens Weaves Multitudes in the Blanton's
Diedrick Brackens Weaves Multitudes in the Blanton's "darling divined"
From his loom, the acclaimed artist fuses folk tales and forgotten memories with his own experiences to tell new, expanding stories of identity

Sara Hutchinson, Jan. 1, 2021

More by Robert Faires
Trust the Process in Gesel Mason's <i>burst!</i>
Trust the Process in Gesel Mason's burst!
In this Texas Theatre & Dance project, students learn to undo

Feb. 25, 2021

"Deborah Roberts: I'm" at the Contemporary Austin
In the exhibition at the Contemporary Austin, we learn what it is to be seen and not seen

Feb. 19, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Blanton Museum of Art, Teresita Fernández, Donald Judd, Marfa

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle