Step inside a fresh look at art at The Contemporary Austin

The Contemproary AustinOne of the common complaints I hear about Austin is the lack of a serious art museum. (And to be honest, I’ve said it myself.) Nearby Houston has an entire museum and arts district — something many of us would love to see here in town.

But I’m discovering that Austin does have some wonderful small museums and galleries, including my newest find: The Contemporary Austin.

We made an unplanned visit last week to the Jones Center location (honestly, we were just out for a walk and saw the sign) and were very pleasantly surprised. The spacious galleries featured an installation by Do Ho Suh and his vision of the art in everyday objects and spaces.

DO HO SUH toilet

His work strips away the shells and reveals the essence of space and function. The installation includes a full-size house created from translucent fabric and a bare-bones structure.

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According to the docent, his intent was to illustrate what we carry from house to house as we move through life — our ghost memories of walls and sinks, doorways and cabinets.

3-2014-12-06 19.44.10An installation of this size and complexity is usually reserved for larger museums in big cities. (Do Ho Suh’s work has recently been displayed in New York City, Hong Kong and Singapore.) So its presence in Austin says something significant about the art community here.

The Contemporary Austin actually consists of two locations. The Jones Center, located downtown at 700 Congress Avenue and Laguna Gloria with its indoor and outdoor space, located at 3809 W 35th Street in Austin. Both locations are committed to bringing innovative and cutting edge art work and installations to the Austin art community.

Admission to either location is only $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors. Members get in free, and Tuesdays are free to all visitors (although donations are gratefully accepted). The museum offers art classes, programs for teens and children and special events throughout the year.

The Specs

The Jones Center
700 Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
512-453-5312

Mon- Closed
Tues – Sat 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sun 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Laguna Gloria
3809 West 35th Street
Austin, Texas 78703
512-458-8191

Gallery
Mon: Closed
Tues. – Sun 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Grounds
Mon. – Sat. 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sun. 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

http://www.thecontemporaryaustin.org/

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Austin castle hides a wealth of classic sculpture on Wordfree Wednesday

 

02-DSC03663You may have seen it while you were driving or biking around town…a castle up on a hill above the city . Surrounded by adorable, quirky houses, this seemingly out-of-place castle is more than an odd architectural choice. It’s actually home to some of the most amazing sculptures I’ve seen outside of the world’s fine art museums.

The art is the work of Elisabet Ney, who worked in Austin in the late 19th to early 20th century. You can ready more about her and her work on the studio website. But since this is (nearly) Wordfree Wednesday, on to the images.

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And one last set of images. Lest you get overwhelmed by her artistry….a very human piece of the collection.

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A work of fine art? A treasured family heirloom? Read on….

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The Specs

304 East 44th Street
Austin, 78751
Phone: 512-458-2255
Fax: 512-453-0638
Hours:
Wednesday – Sunday 12pm – 5pm
Closed: Monday and Tuesday

 

 

Walk into History at Pioneer Farms

Pioneer Farms Austin

I am a sucker for living history museums.  It’s one thing to walk into a brand new building and see pictures of the “old days” and peer into glass cases filed with old tools and such.  But to see the things in a action, in a realistic setting?  Now THAT is something else entirely.

We found out about Pioneer Farms because of a Living Social offer, and decided to check it out.

When we pulled in the parking lot, we were initially disappointed…it looked tiny, and except for a couple of other cars in the lot, deserted.  But we headed for the general store/ticket counter and showed our passes.

The helpful volunteer showed us a map that immediately changed our thoughts about the place…instead of just the handful of building we could see, there were acres and acres of historical buildings, including three early Texas homesteads…one typical of homesteaders waiting for their claim, one typical of a working German farm, and one from a wealthier landowner.  There were also blacksmithing demos (and classes!), period crafts, farm animals, and costumed docent to explain the buildings, artifacts and lifestyle.

In the end, what seemed like a 10 or 15 minute walk around a few buildings turned into a wonderful half day learning about Texas history and settlers.

This is a great place to take kids or out-of-town visitors.  Take your time wandering and absorbing the quiet of an earlier time when the ring of cell phones or the drone of the TV was mercifully unheard of.

Picnics are allowed, but pets are not.  Check their website for special events, craft demos and classes.