"Donald Moffett" at the Blanton

The Blanton exhibition marks a shift not only toward artists from Texas but also toward more political art

Lot 102807X (Yellow) (2007) by Donald Moffett

Donald Moffett's work is as much about a philosophical experience as a tactile one. Though the Blanton Museum of Art's exhibition of his work represents an effort by the institution to procure more work from Texas artists, it also marks a shift in programming, which has arguably been a little apolitical in past years but is now beginning to take on a more timely cultural tone. Moffett, a San Antonio native, is known for his mixed-media works, notable for their bright colors and structural components. His more direct subject matter, like his digital prints and works on canvas, is equally bold and often points to philosophies of social activism and political progress. Moffett's own political ideologies have been well documented, especially through his involvement with AIDS activist groups in New York during the height of the AIDS epidemic.

In What Barbara Jordan Wore, to be displayed on December 5th, Moffett explores the life and legacy of the famed Texas politician. In his series of digital prints of the Texas Legislature in the late Sixties, Moffett offers a subtle nod to the fraught racial tides within Lone Star politics while simultaneously lauding Jordan for her public works. What Barbara Jordan Wore could easily be passed over – these prints look identical to the ones that hang in the Texas Capitol – but Moffett intends for your eye to be drawn to Jordan initially and then pan out. What you find is that she is not only the sole person of color within the Legislature, but also the lone female in a political body composed exclusively of white men.

Moffett's social innuendos are contrasted with works that explore abstraction, color, and texture. These are more indicative of Moffett's practice in later years and follow an interesting trajectory from the more radical and conceptual focus of his early work. In Lot 102807X (Yellow), a canvas unzips from the wall, exposing a bright yellow center.

If anything, the "Donald Moffett" exhibition feels lacking due to its brevity. For an artist who has made giant strides in the visual art world, it feels paltry to limit his exposure in a city that could benefit from a few more liberal voices willing to take an aggressive stand against a conservative political climate.

"Donald Moffett"

Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK
Through Feb. 28

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  

More Blanton Museum of Art
Kambui Olujimi Speaks Art to Power in
Kambui Olujimi Speaks Art to Power in "Zulu Time"
This Brooklyn artist’s solo exhibition at the Blanton shows how those in power make sure the world runs on their watch

Barbara Purcell, March 15, 2019

"Vincent Valdez: The City" at the Blanton
The artist's epic portrait of Klanspeople is all the more frightening for the mundane character of its subjects

Melany Jean, Sept. 14, 2018

More Arts Reviews
Road Tripping With a Serial Killer in <i>Paper Ghosts</i>
Road Tripping With a Serial Killer in Paper Ghosts
As well as being a riveting psychological thriller, this tale of a road trip across Texas with a serial killer shows the state in an intimate light

Elizabeth Cobbe, July 19, 2019

<i>Houston Noir</i> Anthology Explores H-Town Badness
Houston Noir Anthology Explores H-Town Badness
H-Town badness gets the Akashic rundown in a criminally good anthology

Wayne Alan Brenner, July 19, 2019

More by Caitlin Greenwood
Kevin McNamee-Tweed: The Exit Interview
Kevin McNamee-Tweed: The Exit Interview
As he leaves Austin, the award-winning curator and artist reflects on the city's artists and art community

March 10, 2017

“I saw the world” at Pump Project
“I saw the world” at Pump Project
Imperialism and identity compete in Betelhem Makonnen’s solo show about a 19th century Ethiopian prince

Dec. 23, 2016


Blanton Museum of Art, Donald Moffett, Texas artists, Barbara Jordan

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

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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