10 Glittering Austin Art Exhibits To Get Inspired This Summer

While a few favorite standout museums are yet to reopen to the public (we miss you, the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, the Elisabet Ney Museum, and the George Washington Carver Museum!), there are plenty of new exhibits welcoming art lovers. Austin art with open houses and guns this summer. From experiences detailing the world’s most popular musical instrument and exhibits on everyday objects like handbags to some famous early exhibits and works by black women artists, these museums offer something to inspire, delight and expand. the mind.

The Neill-Cochran House Museum
“Essentials: Handbags in the Neill-Cochran House Museum Collection.” Now until June 6.
Handbag, purse, satchel: from haute couture to everyday necessities, this exhibition explores a group of handbags from the NCHM’s permanent collection and connects them to the cultural trends that inspired their function and design . The 12 handbags included in the show range from extremely formal evening bags to delicate crochet handbags for everyday use. The exhibit is set against the backdrop of the French salon in this 1855 estate in north central Austin.

Contemporary Austin – Jones Center
“Deborah Roberts: I am.” Now until August 15.
Austin native Deborah Roberts critiques notions of beauty, body, race and identity in contemporary society through the lens of black children. Her first solo presentation at a museum in Texas, “I’m,” is part of The Contemporary Austin’s participation in the Feminist Art Coalition, a national initiative of art institutions aimed at raising awareness of the thought, experience and to feminist action through exhibitions and events. Roberts’ multimedia works on paper and canvas combine images found on the internet with hand-painted detail in striking figurative compositions that invite viewers to look up close and see through the layers.

Bob Bullock State History Museum in Texas
“Guitar.” Now until August 15.
“Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked The World” takes visitors on an exploration of the science, sound, history and pop culture behind the world’s most popular instrument. The immersive exhibition explores all facets of the guitar, from its history as an instrument in popular culture to the science of sound creation with wood and steel. Explore the 5,000-year-old evolutionary history of the guitar, with over 60 guitars and 100 artifacts on display. The exhibition also features video performances, children’s events and music-themed films.

“Mexico, the Frontier and Beyond: Selections from the Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. Collection.” Now through August 22.
In early 2020, Juan Antonio Sandoval, now a retired reference librarian and specialist in art and Chicano studies at the University of Texas at El Paso, donated his vast collection of more than 1,500 works of art. art, including prints, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and folk art from the El Paso area, as well as Mexico. Themes in the collection include life and experiences in the US-Mexico border regions and artwork acquired by Sandoval during his summer trips to Oaxaca.

The Blanton Art Museum
“Black is beautiful: the photography of Kwame Brathwaite.” From June 27 to September 19.
In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite used photography to popularize the political slogan “Black is beautiful”. This exhibition, the first devoted to Brathwaite’s remarkable career, tells the story of a key figure in the second Harlem Renaissance. Inspired by the writings of black activist and nationalist Marcus Garvey, Brathwaite and her older brother, Elombe Brath, founded the African Jazz Arts Society and Studios and Grandassa Models, a modeling agency for black women founded to challenge the norms of white beauty. From stunning studio portraits to behind-the-scenes images of Harlem’s artistic community, including Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, this exhibition offers a long-awaited exploration of Brathwaite’s life and work.

National Museum of the Pacific War
“Fredericksburg Art: 175 Years.” Now until September 19.
As part of Fredericksburg’s citywide 175th anniversary celebration this year, the National Museum of the Pacific War is hosting an exhibit featuring more than 50 original works of art created by Fredericksburg-area artists . The nearly 30 artists chosen for this exhibition span 175 years, from the founding of Fredericksburg to the present day. Early performers include Seth Eastman, an army officer who was stationed at Fort Martin Scott in Fredericksburg; Hermann Lungkwitz, of German origin, and Richard Petri. Contemporary artists include Lee Ethel, Phil Bob Borman and sculptor Jonas Perkins.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden
“30x30x30.” From June 1 to September 2.
This exhibition celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum by offering an overview of 30 different works created by renowned local sculptor Charles Umlauf from 30 different collections – all rarely seen by the public.

Bass concert hall
“Behind the Scenes: Hollywood’s Sistine Chapel.” From June 25 to August 1.
Texas Performing Arts presents this special exhibition of an almost complete replica of Michelangelo Sixtine Chapel, including 18 backdrops from the Art Directors Guild’s Backdrop Recovery Project that depict life-size copies of historical murals. This exhibition represents the first public viewing of the whole Sixtine Chapel following. The backdrops will be displayed on the Bass Concert Hall stage, giving art lovers the chance to go behind the scenes for a rare perspective of Austin’s greatest theatre.

The Blanton Art Museum
“Suzanne Bocanegra: Valley.” From June 27 to September 19.
Suzanne Bocanegra’s immersive video installation, Valley, features eight female artists re-enacting Judy Garland’s dress test for the cult 1967 film valley of the dolls. Garland’s casting as the lead in the story of three women defeated by drugs and show business was brief. Suffering from addiction herself and known to be unpredictable, Garland was fired just days after filming began. She took the costumes with her and wore them to concerts until her death from a barbiturate overdose in 1969. The Wardrobe Test is the only surviving footage of Garland from the film. In it, she looks fragile as she poses awkwardly in a series of outfits. Although she has grown into a star, she appears embarrassed and insecure in front of the camera.

University of Texas at Austin, Landmarks
Sentinel IV by Simone Leigh, a new acquisition unveiled on July 15.
Cast in bronze and standing over 10 feet tall, Sentinel IV by New York artist Simone Leigh pays homage to black femininity and is inspired by a Zulu ceremonial spoon, a utensil that conveys status among the Zulu people and symbolizes women’s work. The artwork is Landmark’s fifth purchase and the first by a black woman. It joins Landmarks’ collection of nearly 50 modern and contemporary works, building on the program’s commitment to representing artists who reflect its diverse audiences. A public celebration will be hosted by Landmarks with a virtual Q&A led by Stephanie Sparling Williams and the artist for its July 15 unveiling.

William E. Bennett