The University of Texas’ art collection, showcased here, is ranked among the U.S.’s top university collections. But the Blanton’s superb presentation, world-class visiting exhibitions, and striking architecture make it stand out beyond academia. Another bonus: The museum is comparatively small and thus possible to take in on a single visit—though you’re likely to want to return.
There’s something for every aesthetic interest here, from Greek sculpture and paintings by Renaissance masters to Latin American conceptual works. The most outstanding piece is outside and a few yards away: Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin”, a soaring stone building with light filtered through colored glass panes—a modern temple of art, which Kelly deeded to the museum in 2015. Inside, you ascend from the atrium to the second floor via another impressive art installation: Teresa Fernandez’s “Stacked Waters,” a staircase that gives the illusion you’re emerging from a deep pool of water. Across a small plaza from the Blanton’s main door, its Museum Shop carries an entertaining selection of arty gifts (see www.pinterest.com/blantonmuseumshop for a sampling), while the adjacent cafe is an attractive place to recharge with a coffee or light bite.