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Reimagining the Blanton

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Michel Dorigny's Diana of the Hunt, 17th century

Michel Dorigny’s Diana of the Hunt, 17th century

Come February 2017, when you walk into the Blanton Museum of Art’s second-floor galleries, you’ll feel like you’re entering a new museum. After a decade in its present campus home, the Blanton is organizing a complete rehanging of its wide-ranging holdings to inspire and engage audiences in new ways.

Collectively titled You Belong Here: Reimagining the Blanton, the renovated and reinstalled permanent collection galleries will feature nearly twice as many works and in-depth explorations of new genres that have not previously had dedicated spaces.

Several of the works have rarely, if ever, been displayed, including Diana of the Hunt, a 17th-century work by Michel Dorigny, and drawings on paper with letraset from Mira Schendel’s 1970 untitled “spray” series.

The result of three years of research and planning, the reinstallation is the first major change to the upstairs galleries since the Mari and James A. Michener Gallery Building opened in 2006. The second floor has been closed since July to allow for the significant updates, while several special exhibitions have continued in the first-floor galleries.

Mira Schendel's Untitled, 1970

Mira Schendel’s Untitled, 1970

On February 11, the 2017 Blanton Gala will mark the celebratory unveiling of the reinstalled galleries, giving guests the rare opportunity to dine in the downstairs galleries and to be the first to experience the fresh look.

Blanton National Leadership Board members Jeanne and Michael Klein are the evening’s honorees. The Kleins have had an enormous impact on the Blanton and its audiences through their passion, energy, and generosity.

Sabrina Brown, Jocelyn Hornblower, and Fredericka Middleton are the Austin co-chairs of the gala, and more than a dozen regional chairs have stepped up to represent other parts of Texas and beyond. From Dallas/Fort Worth (Sally & Tom Dunning and Shannon & Mark Hart) and Houston (Kelli & Eddy Blanton) to New York (Anthony Grant, Jenny & Trey Laird, and Darren Walker & David Beitzel), anticipation for the event is building.

In addition, a public festival celebrating the reinstallation is being planned for March 25. The Blanton Block Party will include programs and entertainment for visitors of all ages.

“We are in the final stretch of this massive undertaking to share our remarkable collection in more striking and impactful ways,” says Blanton director Simone Wicca. “The reinstallation encompasses everything from showcasing recent acquisitions and hidden gems to new interpretive materials that will help visitors form richer connections with the art. We look forward to celebrating this milestone with the community.”

Image credits:

Michel Dorigny’s Diana of the Hunt: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Fund, 1970

Mira Schendel’s Untitled: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida Manning Collection

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