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Two New Major Works of Art at Blanton Museum
Louise Nevelson, 1899, Kiev, Russia-1988, New York, Dawn's Presence-Two Columns, 1969-75, Wood painted white, 9'8" x 5'7" x 2'7", Purchased as a gift in memory of Laura Lee Scurlock Blanton by her children, 2005.



AUSTIN.-The Blanton Museum of Art has been given two major works of art—Dawn’s Presence—Two Columns (1969-1975) by Louise Nevelson and Summer Circle (1991) by Richard Long—in honor of Jack S. Blanton and in memory of his first wife, Laura Lee Scurlock Blanton (1928–1999).

The Blantons’ three children and their spouses—Eddy and his wife Kelli Blanton, Jack Jr. and wife Leslie Blanton, and daughter Elizabeth and her husband Peter Wareing—have donated the works. Dawn’s Presence will be featured in the galleries of the Blanton’s new museum complex opening in February 2006, and Summer Circle will be installed in the Blanton’s plaza and garden in a special site designed for the work by noted landscape architect Peter Walker.

“Jack and Laura Lee Blanton, more than anyone else, made the new Blanton Museum of Art a reality,” said museum director Jessie Otto Hite. “Their children’s generosity in giving these works is a wonderful testament to their parents’ dedication and commitment to creating an exceptional resource for the people of Austin and the university. We look forward to sharing these stunning works with our neighbors when the Blanton’s new home opens to the public early next year.”

Dawn’s Presence – Two Columns (1969–1975) by Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson’s Dawn’s Presence – Two Columns (1969–1975) is a gift to the museum from the Blanton children in memory of their mother. The impressive, freestanding work is the first Nevelson piece to enter the Blanton’s permanent collection of modern sculpture⎯an area the museum is rapidly strengthening.

Said curator of American and contemporary art, Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, “This lyrical white wooden assemblage is from the artist’s less familiar ‘Dawn’s Presence’ series. Reaching nearly ten feet tall, it consists of several column-like elements positioned on the floor. The construction is a particularly beautiful and well-preserved example from the mid-point of Nevelson’s notable career. Its resonance with our New York School paintings will be extraordinary.”

One of the most important artists of the 20th century, Nevelson found success as both a sculptor and a female artist in New York’s male-dominated art world. Her sculptures range in size from the small and personal to the large and monumental. Much of her work expresses the mysteries of certain times of day⎯dawn and dusk⎯ and she often referred to herself as an "architect of shadows" when describing her artistic process.

The piece will be included in the new Blanton’s permanent installation America / Americas, which will feature the museum’s significant holdings of modern and contemporary American and Latin American art. Dawn’s Presence – Two Columns will be presented among several other recent mid-century acquisitions, including works by Julio Alpuy, Francisco Matto, and George Sugarman, further enhancing one of the most comprehensive areas of the Blanton’s 20th-century collections.

Summer Circle (1991) by Richard Long

Given in honor of their father, the second gift by the Blanton children is an exceptional example of Richard Long’s renowned stone circle series. Made from chunks of Delabole slate arranged in a dense and complicated pattern on the ground, Summer Circle (1991) is one of his largest works, measuring 29.5 feet in diameter. It was created for Long’s retrospective exhibition in London at the Hayward Gallery in 1991 and has not been publicly exhibited since it was installed there.

Born in 1945 in Bristol, England, Long makes reference to his solo walks in largely unpopulated landscapes through his installations. He translates his personal meditations during these journeys into sculptures and mud drawings that are created for exhibition spaces and private collections. Pieces composed of flint, slate, feathers, pine needles, sticks, and other rustic materials become metaphors for the paths taken on his treks. The sculptures are not meant to be truthful representations of nature but rather aesthetic documents of Long's engagement with the land. “This exquisite sculpture will join works by Glenn Ligon, Bill Viola, and David Reed, among others in our collection, whose explorations and notions of time offer unique insights into contemporary life,” said Carlozzi.

Summer Circle will be installed on the lush grounds of the Blanton’s new home in a special site designed for the work by renowned landscape architect Peter Walker. Walker (of Peter Walker & Partners) has designed a plaza and garden, opening in 2006, which will be a gateway between the Austin community and The University of Texas at Austin campus. The installation will be situated appropriately in a flowering grove on the southeast corner of the grounds⎯a quiet spot that is meant to inspire contemplation and discovery.










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