Top 10 Arty Ways 2020 Was the Best Year Ever

Barbara Purcell shares art highlights from a year that tested our sanity and humanity

James Turrell's The Color Inside (Courtesy of James Turrell)

Art highlights from a year that tested our sanity and humanity.

1) VIRTUAL SKYSPACE James Turrell's The Color Inside on the UT campus is closed for the time being, but you can still visit the famed oculus through the mind's eye with this online meditation.

2) SOLE AIR Northern-Southern gallery's dispersed outdoor art exhibitions and Vault Stone Shop's window displays have offered innovative ways to gawk in peace.

3) NON-SXSW The city's decision to cancel its largest annual event saved us from the hipster superspreaders.

4) PUCCINI AND POPCORN Austin Opera cinematically reimagined its 2020-2021 season by partnering with Blue Starlite Drive-In for a one-of-a-kind film series in the comfort of your Kia.

5) EAST MEETS WEST It was the fall of the Berlin Wall all over again as Big Medium's Austin Studio Tour combined its annual East Austin art-pocalypse with its springtime West Austin counterpart.

6) MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY'S MOM We can thank Kay for having a son whose memoir has lifted the mood of a nation, thanks in part to such TMI moments as that time Matthew's dad died during sex with her.

7) ONLINE BOOKING This year's virtual Texas Book Festival gave us a glimpse into the lives (and living rooms) of our favorite authors.

8) BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Three little words that granted access to galleries (and museums) with art all to yourself.

9) FUSEBOX FESTIVAL The online-only event drew 10,000 attendees for a truly impressive reconfigured roster of quarantined artists, performers, and corona slayers.

10) ZOOM-BA Ballet Austin's live and on-demand dance/fitness permitted me to pirouette in my PJs.

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  

SXSW Leaping Online With 2021 Dates
SXSW Leaping Online With 2021 Dates
Confirms conference, film fest, and Edu

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 22, 2020

ATX Television Festival Goes From Small Screen to Big Screen to Small Screen Again
ATX Television Festival Goes From Small Screen to Big Screen to Small Screen Again
How the celebration of TV is leading the way in streaming fests as it becomes ATX TV ... From the Couch!

Richard Whittaker, June 5, 2020

More by Barbara Purcell
"Renee Lai: A Study of Fences" at grayDUCK Gallery
In her grayDUCK Gallery solo exhibition, the artist considers not only what these barriers keep out but also what gets through them

Jan. 22, 2021

"Premember" Drawings Capture Austin Shops Before They're Gone
Northern-Southern gallery is showing Drew Liverman's art series focused on quirky local businesses that are still here, but maybe not for long

Nov. 20, 2020


Top 10s, Top 10s 2020, Landmarks, James Turrell, The Color Inside, Northern-Southern, Vault Stone Shop, SXSW, Austin Opera, Blue Starlite Drive-in, Big Medium, Austin Studio Tour, EAST, WEST, Matthew McConaughey, Texas Book Festival, Fusebox Festival, Ballet Austin

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