The Contemporary Austin Feeds Your Head at Home
All the art in the Jones Center and at Laguna Gloria is yours for the viewing on the museum's new website
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., May 15, 2020
You ever visit the Contemporary Austin's exhibitions in that Jones Center building Downtown? All those collections of fascinating work created by globally recognized artists, filling the rooms of that aquaglass-studded venue. Or you ever spend a golden afternoon appreciating the world-class sculpture set among the manicured flora or purposely untamed woods of the Contemporary's Laguna Gloria outpost, sunlight dappling through the trees, nature blazing like a green fire of life around you?
Let's guess: You wish you could now.
We're right there with you, citizen. We're right here at home, in our shorts, unshaven and no makeup unless we've got another goddamn Zoom meeting to attend, trying to busy ourselves so's not to spiral into a misery of daydrinking and depression.
"Logic and proportion," as Grace Slick sang with the Great Society and then with the Jefferson Airplane, "have fallen sloppy dead." And what we need right about now, when we can barely tell the Dormouse from Dormammu, is to feed our head.
One virtual respite from this dreary milieu we're in, come to find out, is the Contemporary Austin. Online now, of course – The Contemporary at Home – but refreshing and very, very welcome. Point your biggest screen's browser thataway, we're suggesting. Click through the images and videos embedded within the well curated site. Become an eye, flowing with the camera, viewing portions of "Sturm und Drang," Nicole Eisenman's odd and brilliant figurative sculptures currently inhabiting those Jones Center galleries. Become an ear, hearing curator Heather Pesanti background the complex works for you – or perhaps an ear listening to birdsong and insect buzz within glimpses of Laguna Gloria's verdant landscape.
These are marvels of the made world, vetted for our delight. This is the intersection of the fabricated and the real, the eternal crossroads where creatives have thwarted the devil again and again to bring us the more godly details.
And this is the internet we're talking about, too, so time's bounds are broken and you can also enjoy brief videos from the museum's past shows, artist discussions from the Before Times (hey – Jim Hodges in conversation with Dan Rather!), and musical performances from the likes of line upon line percussion and Lucky Dragons. There's even some DIY activities to share with your kids, if you've got kids, or to coddle your own inner child with in these rough days.
Art is always best, we think, when you're right there with it in physical space; but photography and videography themselves can be forms of art, and this bright array of Contemporary frames does no disservice to what's contained for public joy and edification.
The Contemporary at Homewww.thecontemporaryaustin.org/fromhome