PaperCity Magazine

February 2018- Houston

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Page 48 of 83

V ence, France, has Matisse's Rosary Chapel, and Houston has the Rothko Chapel. Now Austin gets into the act. Unveiling this month, The University of Texas' Blanton Museum of Art becomes a pilgrimage site for late contemporary master Ellsworth Kelly's magnum opus. The chapel-like space, christened Austin, is one of Kelly's final creations. With stained-glass windows across three facades, the soaring, 2,700-square-foot space echoes a church basilica. The handsome, stone-clad structure — its $23 million construction campaign now com- pleted — adjoins the Blanton Museum of Art. Inside, visitors encounter the artist's totemic wood sculpture, a wall of black- and-white marble panels rendered in minimalist shapes, and glorious panes of color in linear and rectangular forms, each one a singular pigment. Considered a work of art unto itself — the artist said it is "without a religious purpose" — Austin is a destination for those seeking contemplation and inspiration. Donors from around the world made it possi- ble, including Houstonians Judy and Charles Tate and the Blanton family. Concurrently, an exhibition traces the beginning of Austin and the meaning this project held for Kelly. Included are early drawings made in France after WWII, as well as Kelly's first models, circa 1980s, for what would become Austin. "Form into Spirit: Ellsworth Kelly's Austin," February 18 – April 29, and Ellsworth Kelly's Austin, opening Sunday, February 18, at the Blanton Museum of Art, Catherine D. Anspon ART + DECORATION Edward Lane McCartney's Box #5, An Aggregate of All Things, 2016, at Hooks-Epstein Galleries ELLSWORTH KELLY'S LAST STAND BOX OF CURIOSITIES It's a wunderkammer, a testimony to the kingdom of craft, a sly homage to Lucas Samaras, and a creation of obsessive beauty that also winks at outsider art-making, especially tramp art. It may contain a brooch encrusted with mosaic work, beads, and paper, but to call it a mere jewelry box would wildly miss the mark. Houston artist Edward Lane McCartney considers it his greatest piece ever — one that begs its next home to be a major museum. (Cindi Strauss, do you have this on your radar?) Before a private collector or institution snaps it up, visit McCartney's Box #5, An Aggregate of All Things, at Hooks-Epstein Galleries (through February 28; $12,000). Catherine D. Anspon CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: COURTESY THE BLANTON MUSEUM OF ART, THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN; COLLECTION ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO. © FIGGE ART MUSEUM / LICENSED BY VAGA, NYC. PHOTO COURTESY ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO / ART RESOURCE, NYC.; COURTESY THE ARTIST AND HOOKS-EPSTEIN GALLERIES; COURTESY BLANTON MUSEUM OF ART, THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN. Ellsworth Kelly reviews the architecture model for Austin with Blanton director Simone Wicha, in the artist's studio, Spencertown, NY, 2015. Ellsworth Kelly's Austin, 2015 (exterior rendering), at Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin PITCH ( FORK ) PERFECT O ne of the most beloved yet least understood canvases of American art serves as the subject for a re-exploration of its maker's career. When "Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables" opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art next month, it marks only the third survey of the painter's work outside the Midwest since 1935. Billed as the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to Wood (1891–1942), it revolves around the seminal American Gothic, a painting that rocked audiences when it captured third prize at a competition held by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1930. Painted in a style mimicking the tight detail and airless atmosphere of European Renaissance painting, the canvas depicts a farmer and his daughter, cast as hermetic emblems of the Midwest. Wood, reared in rural Iowa until the age of 10, then thereafter largely in Cedar Rapids, embarked on a European tour during his 30s, only to return home to paint the common folk of small- town Iowa. The house in American Gothic is based on a real one in Eldon, Iowa, while the models were Wood's dentist and his sister, Nan. More than 100 works, including decorative arts such as the droll Corn Cob Chandelier (1925), murals, magazine covers, book illustrations, and canvases convey a portrait of Wood that goes beyond his regionalist label to reveal a complicated artist who painted the simple, yet often claustrophobic world in which he lived. March 2 – June 10, Catherine D. Anspon Grant Wood's American Gothic, 1930, at the Whitney Museum of American Art

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