Blanton Museum of Art raises $23m for the construction of Ellsworth Kelly-designed building

Ellsworth Kelly, Austin, 2015, model for a building with installation of coloured glass windows, marble panels, and redwood totem. Courtesy Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin

The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas has completed its $23m-fundraising campaign towards the construction of a monumental work by Ellsworth Kelly. The campaign started back in 2015 when Kelly gifted the design of the building, titled Austin, to the Blanton, a few months before he passed away. The first and only freestanding building designed by the artist, Austin will span 2,715 sqft (252 sqm), with luminous glass windows, and will house wood totem sculpture and black-and-white marble panels featuring signature Kelly shapes.

Set to open to the public in February 2018, the inauguration will coincide with an exhibition that will contextualise the work by telling its story in relation to Kelly's broader career. The museum hopes the work will make the museum an international destination, comparing it to the likes of the Rothko chapel in Houston and the Matisse one in Vence, France - though, in the artist's words, ‘without a religious program’. 

7 December 2017