Blanton Museum of Art exhibits new acquisitions by Texas native Donald Moffett

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Blanton Museum of Art exhibits new acquisitions by Texas native Donald Moffett
Lot 121909 (18/o), 2009. Oil on linen on wood, 17 x 17 inches. Gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein in honor of Veronica Roberts, 2014 © Donald Moffett. Courtesy the artist and Anthony Meier Fine Arts. Photo: Christopher Burke Studio.

AUSTIN, TX.- As part of a growing initiative to increase holdings by artists from Texas or currently based in the state, the Blanton Museum of Art presents a special installation of newly acquired works by San Antonio native Donald Moffett. With eight works by Moffett in its collection⎯including the entire suite of eighteen drawings comprising the artist’s Mr. Gay in the U.S.A. series⎯the Blanton currently holds more works by the artist than any other museum in the United States. In this intimate presentation, Moffett’s diverse and influential practice is showcased through a rich variety of media including painting, drawing, and projected video on canvas. Alongside the Blanton’s new acquisitions, several works on loan from two Texas collections are featured.

“I think Donald Moffett is one of the most exciting artists working today and I am thrilled that his work is now well represented at the Blanton and in his home state,” explains Veronica Roberts, Blanton curator of modern and contemporary art. “One of the things I admire most about him is the way he consistently takes risks. This exhibition will spotlight the diverse directions that he has explored in his practice.”

Moffett emerged onto the New York art scene in the late 1970s and quickly became immersed in political activism. He understood the power of art to affect change, and in the early 1980s was a founding member of Gran Fury, the artistic arm of the AIDS activist group ACT UP. He later co-‐‐ founded Bureau, a design company created to support social causes. In addition to his work that investigates and advances social justice, Moffett is celebrated for his innovative use of materials and non-‐‐traditional approach to the canvas. The Blanton’s installation highlights the full breadth of his range, including digital chromogenic prints, drawings, video projection paintings, and lush, bold abstract oil paintings.

What Barbara Jordan Wore (2001), a series of digital prints exploring the legacy of Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, reveals Moffett’s interest in politics and the highs and lows of equality and progress in America. So too does his series of drawings, Mr. Gay in the U.S.A., which depicts the sentencing of Ronald Gay, a Vietnam War veteran who shot several people at a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia in 2000, killing one person and seriously injuring many others (Moffett was in attendance during Gay’s sentencing). In contrast, Lot 102807 (yellow) (2007) features an “unzipped” canvas, highlighting the artist’s exploration of abstraction and experimental treatment of the canvas. His Untitled/Green Roller (Lot 080104) (2004) further upends the confines of the traditional two-‐‐dimensional frame. It features a video projected on canvas that first appears as an abstract blue and green landscape punctuated by a black hole. In an unexpected and comic turn, a projected hand then emerges from the hole to perform the absurd task of painting the canvas surrounding it.

Since joining the Blanton in 2013, Veronica Roberts has made it a priority to collect and exhibit artists currently based in Texas or with Texas roots. She has facilitated the acquisition of works by emerging and mid-‐‐career artists including Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, Jamal Cyrus, Natalie Frank, Kirk Hayes, Vincent Valdez, Nic Nicosia, and the collective, Okay Mountain. By increasing its holdings of works by Moffett and other important Texas artists, the Blanton aims to share with visitors the significant role that Texas has played in shaping the art historical canon.

Donald Moffett was born January 20, 1955 in San Antonio, Texas. He attended The University of Texas at Austin for two years and transferred to Trinity University in San Antonio, where he received a BA in art and biology.

In 1978, Moffett moved to New York, where he has lived and worked ever since. In the 1980s, he became a founding member of Gran Fury, and in 1989, he and artist Marlene McCarty (also a member of Gran Fury) founded Bureau, a design company created to support themselves financially and to support social causes that they believed in. In 1993, Gran Fury disbanded and Moffett took a break from making art. When he returned to making art in 1995, he produced modestly sized abstract paintings. Since then, he has explored a wide variety of approaches to making work, producing everything from abstract painting to projected videos on painting, light box sculptures, works on paper, and sound installations.

Moffett is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco. His work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among other institutions.

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