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Blanton Museum at the University of Texas announces upcoming reinstallation of collection
Philip Guston, Two Legs, 1976. Oil on linen canvas, 80 x 92 1/16 in. Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin. Bequest of Musa Guston, 1992, 1992.283.

AUSTIN, TX.- The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin announces a complete reinstallation of its collection, slated to open in February 2017. Collectively titled You Belong Here:Reimagining the Blanton, the presentation will offer visitors a fresh experience with the museum’s holdings, including: newly-installed galleries with many works that have been recently acquired; several works from the collection that have rarely (or never) been on view; new way finding and interpretative materials, such as wall texts and object labels that contextualize works to help audiences gain a better understanding of the collection; renovated and reconfigured galleries that will provide more intimate viewing experiences; and galleries devoted to Spanish colonial art and video art, neither of which have had dedicated spaces at the Blanton before. The reinstallation will also launch several new temporary exhibition series, featuring works from the collection that will periodically rotate throughout the year. In order to comprehensively reinstall the collection, select galleries on the second floor of the museum will begin to close in July of 2016 and will reopen in February 2017. During this period, the Blanton’s first floor galleries will remain open with a dynamic slate of exhibitions and public programs will continue. Details for a community celebration of the reinstallation will be announced at a later date.

“This project will enable us to share our collection with visitors in more striking and impactful ways,” remarked Blanton Director Simone Wicha. “Beyond a simple rehanging of the collection, the reinstallation encompasses everything from the presentation of recent acquisitions and hidden gems, to the introduction of new wall texts and object labels that will help audiences form richer connections with the objects on display. The reinstallation will also launch a new series of collection rotations to ensure that the collection always feels fresh and exciting. We look forward to welcoming the community to experience the 'new' Blanton in 2017, and hope that they will be inspired to come back often."

Throughout the project, the Blanton will offer its online followers an inside perspective on the process of reimagining a museum. How do curators decide which artworks to display? How does an exhibition come together? How is text developed for labels that accompany works of art? Via web, social media, and mobile platforms, the Blanton's followers will come to understand exactly what makes a museum tick, and what considerations were at play during the reinstallation process. Online programs will work hand-in-glove with targeted public programs to give visitors unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Blanton.

Highlights of You Belong Here: Reimagining the Blanton include:

· A presentation of the Blanton’s celebrated Latin American collection, hung— for the first time since the opening of the museum’s building in 2006—as a chronological narrative, highlighting key periods in the history of Latin American art, including: a gallery dedicated to Spanish colonial painting; works from the 1920s vanguard and the advent of Latin American modernism; abstraction of the 1950s and 1960s; and conceptual art of the 1970s through art of today. Heretofore, the Blanton’s Latin American collection has been displayed in dialogue with its North American modern and contemporary works. This new presentation will underscore the full depth and historic range of the Blanton’s Latin American holdings.

· A total rehanging of the museum’s Suida-Manning collection of Old Masters, including: a “salon-style” presentation of paintings by Cambiaso, Veronese, Crespi and other masters; thematic groupings ranging from mythology and the Old Testament, to saints and genre scenes; and the integration of three-dimensional objects such as sculptures, and copper plates to provide a more complete and engaging narrative. Many of the paintings will be cleaned and/or conserved for the reinstallation, with regilded frames.

· Galleries dedicated to art that addresses civil rights and social issues both in the U.S. and globally; this thought-provoking presentation is inspired in part by the Blanton’s recent acquisition of significant works by African-American artist Charles W. White, one of the most renowned draftsmen of the 20th century and a champion of equality.

· Works from the Blanton’s collection that have rarely—or, in some cases, never—been publicly exhibited including: Diana of the Hunt, a 17th-century work by Michel Dorigny, previously never exhibited; Two Legs, a 1976 oil on canvas by Philip Guston not shown since 2002; and rarely-exhibited drawings on paper with letraset from Mira Schendel’s 1970 untitled “spray” series.

· Smaller, more intimate galleries, with reconfigured entrances and exits, and more accessible wayfinding.

· New in-gallery interpretation, including object labels and gallery wall texts that aim to demystify and illuminate the curatorial process. Visitors will have a clearer understanding of not only why specific works were selected for display, but how they function in conversation with one another, and within the larger art historical narrative.

· A new rotating exhibition series of works from the collection, providing ongoing opportunities for visitors to frequently return to and engage with the Blanton’s holdings in fresh and unexpected ways, including:

· A gallery highlighting video and new media art by contemporary artists

· The Paper Vault highlighting the Blanton’s encyclopedic collection of works on paper, reflecting the history, characteristics, and processes of the medium from the Renaissance to the present day, and featuring examples of major masters from Dürer and Rembrandt through Goya and Picasso

· The Contemporary Project featuring contemporary American, Latin American and international works of art, including new acquisitions; part of the Blanton’s commitment to developing a legacy of contemporary art in Austin through building a nationally recognized collection

· Blanton Spotlight highlighting new acquisitions and key works from the collection on a regular basis

A team of curators, educators, and other museum staff is overseeing the reinstallation. The new presentation is informed by conversations and focus groups with scholars and colleagues from across the University of Texas, Blanton visitors, the Austin community, and professionals from within the museum field. The goal of the project is to help visitors make new connections across cultures, genres, and periods, using objects in the Blanton’s collection as a point of departure. You Belong Here: Reimagining the Blanton will present a more coherent narrative for the works on view and feature better representation of diverse histories.

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