I have lived in Austin for almost three years and have never taken the time to seek out what Austin really has to offer. This week I visited about eight art museums, some under construction, others that have been here since early 1900's or some brand new. I really wanted to learn a little more about Austin while at the same time enjoying one of my favorite hobbies, art. Austin is a great place to view art of all sorts: sculpture, painting, photography, and all other creative sorts.
It's pretty amazing what little hidden secrets Austin has to offer if you allow it. For instance a Michigan born artist, Charles Umlauf moved to Austin back in early 1940's and brought with him what he had learned at the Chicago Art Institute and Chicago School of Sculpture. His works (drawing, sculpture, and photography) can be found on Robert E. Lee Road at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. This museum brings about Umlauf's spirit and sensual side of art; nothing short of unique beauty.
Other art museums that can be found in Austin include: Austin Museum of Art at Laguna and on Congress, Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Blanton at the University of Texas, I personally found the Blanton Museum to be the finest so far. Of course it all depends on what you are looking for. AMOA on Laguna offers a great backdrop to many pictures with a great array of landscape: ponds, fountains, flowers, and peacocks walking the grounds. AMOA on Congress currently is offering the William T. Hatch Print Show. This was something I was not expecting; a smaller museum with amazing works of art. For those of you out there who do not know of William T. Hatch, he was the man behind the poster prints for concerts (Elvis, Johnny Cash, White Stripes) and advertising before television became a big hit. If you get a chance definitely visit this museum before May 9th. The Mexic-Arte Museum has a different type of art, more culture defined and educational. From pottery to fabrics this museum has a lot to offer.
My favorite so far of the hidden secrets of art in Austin was the Blanton Museum. While walking in we were welcomed by one of Austin's finest...a bat. Not part of the show, but still an interesting aspect. Here they are showing the exhibit of Desire until April 25th. A great exhibit one must see. Then you head upstairs to the finest of European, Roman, and Abstract art. This is one museum I will be visiting again; two hours is not quite enough time to take in this amazing gift from the University of Texas. Another great aspect of this museum is that every Thursday this museum is free to the public.
When you find yourself living in such a great city such as Austin that is known for its music or art, or whatever, you are almost robbing yourself of such brilliance if you don't take the opportunity to take in such majesty. You never know, you may learn something.