Blanton expands permanent collection through art lottery

Rachel Perlmutter

The Blanton Museum of Art acquired 12 new works of contemporary art for their permanent collection through a lottery organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and on behalf of art collectors Nona and Richard Barrett.

The paintings, sculptures and works on paper, all by Texas artists, is an expansion to the museum’s collection of regional art.

According to Kathleen Brady Stimpert, Blanton director of public relations and marketing, the Barretts have one of the state’s most comprehensive and celebrated collections of art by Texas artists. Their collection of regional art spans from the late 19th century to today. Wanting to enhance the reputation of this region and augment the holdings of Texas museums, the Barretts donated many of their works to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and, more recently, the Dallas Museum of Art, Stimpert said. Both museums integrated some of the works into their collections and set up a lottery to distribute remaining works to other regional museums.

The Dallas Museum of Art extended invitations to the Blanton, The Old Jail Art Center, the Austin Museum of Art and several other museums to participate in their lottery to distribute remaining works from the Barrett’s 2010 donation. This is the second lottery organized to distribute works from the Barrett collection to Texas museums across the state. The Blanton, along with other museums across the state, received an invitation to participate at no cost.

Assistant curator Risa Puleo attended the lottery on behalf of the Blanton, where all representatives drew numbers to determine the order in which they would select works for their museum. Puleo drew No. 1, so the UT museum was entitled to first choice.

Puleo used the opportunity to obtain an oil-on-linen painting by former UT professor Melissa Miller, titled “One Rabbit Feeling the Pain of Another.” Stimpert said the Blanton was hoping to add this specific piece to their collection.

“We have one of Miller’s works in the collection already, and it is a favorite among visitors,” Stimpert said.

Among other pieces acquired for the Blanton was an untitled mixed-media work by Jesse Amado. The piece will go on display Aug. 19 next to his 1995 installation piece currently on display in the museum’s Lowe Gallery. Amado, a San Antonio native who received his master’s of fine arts from UT-San Antonio, is known for his minimalistic interpretation of Chicano art.

Puleo chose those pieces on behalf of the Blanton because they allow the museum to present a more comprehensive picture and history of art from this region, Stimpert said.

“They deepen our holdings of Texas art,” she said.

As of now, the Blanton has no specific plans for unveiling these new acquisitions besides Amado’s piece, and according to Stimpert, the Blanton does not yet know where or when the works will be displayed in the museum.

“It is all under discussion, and will be decided within the context of our current and future exhibition schedules,” Stimpert said.

The acquisition is an exciting expansion for the museum’s collection of Texas art, as it showcases more regional art and brings in new artists.

“It will provide UT students, faculty and the community at large an opportunity to research and enjoy works from many of the state’s most celebrated artists,” Stimpert said.

Printed on Monday, August 8th, 2011 as: Blanton Art Museum receives new pieces from lottery drawing