The Contemporary donates more than 700 artworks to Blanton Museum of Art

Eilish O'Sullivan

More than 700 pieces of artwork have found a new home at the Blanton Museum of Art, and several will be on display starting Aug. 5.

The Contemporary Austin, a local community art museum, gifted the collection to the Blanton. The works consist of prints, photographs, paintings, sculptures, drawings, glass and textiles.

“We’re especially thrilled that the gift includes so many great photographs since this is an area we’re eager to strengthen,” said Carlotta Stankiewicz, director of marketing and communications at the Blanton.

Stankiewicz said receiving this collection is exciting because many of the works are by Texas artists, such as Port Arthur-based Robert Rauschenberg and Houston-based Dario Robleto. It also includes art by UT faculty members, such as art professor Margo Sawyer and art senior lecturer Sarah Canright.

“The transfer is a great service to artists and the art–loving public,” said Sawyer, professor of sculpture and extended media, in a news release. “Finding the right home for our work means continuing — even deepening — the dialogue between each of us as artists, our creative output and new audiences who may now continue to view, study and interact with our work.”

Works by celebrated artists based outside of Texas are also part of the collection.

“I’m doing mental backflips and somersaults over having Polly Apfelbaum’s velvet floor sculpture, “Townsville,” in the Blanton’s collection … I love how she unabashedly combines high and low traditions,” said Veronica Roberts, curator of modern and contemporary art, in an email.

The Contemporary carefully selected the Blanton as the museum to receive this transfer, said Louis Grachos, executive director of The Contemporary.

“It became clear to me that we could never have the proper kind of facility to care for these objects and exhibit them in a way that would be respectful to the artists and the donors,” Grachos said. 

Grachos said the Blanton has all the professional entities of conservation services, proper storage and more space to exhibit, so there would be more potential for the work to be on public view.

“It became really clear, up front, that (the Blanton) would be a wonderful home for the artworks,” Grachos said. “We feel really good about this, (and) we feel the work will be cared for.”