Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cold Day in Austin, Time for Art

Forecast for Austin: Bitter Cold. We could hear the Arctic blast roaring down from the north last night and we  woke up to temperatures even colder than predicted. It went from 78F yesterday to 40F today. What's an Astral to do? Go see some art in the warmth of a museum, have lunch in the warmth of a cafe, check out some Texas history in the warmth of another museum, and check out some 3D cinema in the warmth of an IMAX theater. The first museum we went to was the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas. An incredible space and a well-curated collection. We also checked out the Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History, which was right across the street and also contained an IMAX theater where we saw Hubble 3D, a moving flick about the Hubble Telescope.

Since we're staying in South Austin, we drove up Congress Avenue
into the heart of the city. Traffic? Pretty damn light for someone
used to the Northeast.

The skies were clear but it was cold and windy.

Texas is all about the Lone Star. They're everywhere. Here's the
front of the history museum.

The Blanton Museum is a really great space architecturally.

There's an artist named Robert Wilson who's a native
son of Texas (from Waco) and they had an installation
of some of his video portraits. Not sure myself about 
the value of this particular medium but this piece was
pretty arresting. And downright freaky.

The collection here is not overwhelming in terms of
number of items, but the display space is excellent and
is really well-curated. There are detailed information
cards for every piece. Here's an original Remington.

These are 19th reproductions of Greek statuary.

Astral Wendy had a dream as a child of the busts of great
philosophers floating up the stairs of her childhood home so
this display was deja vu for her.

The collection was nicely balanced in terms of
time periods.

Great space for giant Abstract Expressionist works.

We both really dug this work but I cannot
remember the artist's name.

This seemed liked a Kandinsky but it wasn't. Ha!

A haunting work in blue by George Segal.

This installation piece was pretty cool. It was supposed to say something
about the colonization of Mexico. Black curtains, a floor of 60,000 pennies,
a central hanging cord made up of communion wafers, and hundreds of
cattle bones hanging from the ceiling. Hmmm..Not sure about the 
colonialism message but the shimmer from all that copper was enchanting.

This installation piece made up of lots of hunks of sun-bleached
timber was so huge it dwarfed me.

This was another video installation by Robert Wilson. Sorry not
to get your black panther party.

There was a decent representation of European Masters.

The outside of the museum had shady arcades that would probably 
be great in the summer heat. Today, we just walked down as fast
as our legs would carry us.

There was no photography allowed in the exhibit space of the Texas
History Museum, but it did have this great floor mural in the lobby
depicting the types of people who played a role in Texas history.
My favorite: Buffalo Soldiers.

In the Imax 3D theater: Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun!

In New Jersey we would call this Grease Truck dining. In Austin,
it's called truck food. There's a couple of these at locations along
Congress Avenue in South Austin. 

Just another beautiful day.

In case you thought we were kidding about the 
weather, here's some icicles.


  1. I thought Texas was always hot. Icicles -- who knew?

  2. Here's the info on the op art painting that you liked:
    Kazuya Sakai. Filles de Kilimanjaro III, (Miles Davis) [Girls of Kilimanjaro III, (Miles Davis)], 1976. Acrylic on canvas.

    Art History degree in action!

    Have a super day! - Darrelle Anne

  3. Wonderful Darrelle Anne! So glad for that information... it is a fine piece and now I can put that artist to memory and learn more. You have a great day as well!

  4. 'A haunting work in blue by George Segal.' is my favorite picture of yours yet, Wen. I never thought I'd say this, but stay warm in Austin.

  5. Thanks Colin... I always think of my peeps when I'm snapping these shots... glad you noticed! It's frigid outside... so we're inside with the heat to 80 pretending we are in the South!

  6. Astrals should just say screw it and hop the Mexican border head towards the equator! Your bound to find some warm weather there.

  7. @dale: Sage advice son. Set the controls for the heart of the sun. Ha!

  8. Ma love the pic of the panther with your reflections in the glass.

  9. Thanks Dale... sometime my photographic mistakes develop a meaning of their own. Glad you like it! XOXO