It’s no secret that Austin is an artistic hub. From the Blanton Museum of Art to the Jones Center to the Mexi-carte Museum, the city's museums continue to attract top-tier talent from across the globe.
But with so many places to choose from and a myriad of artists to peruse, where do you start? Check out our top recommendations for the can’t miss exhibitions of the year.
"Ed Ruscha: Drumskins" — now through July 12
Blanton Museum of Art
View world-renowned artist Ed Ruscha’s play on words, literally. Collected over a 40-year time period, the skins (made from real drums) offer a unique perspective on language in the American South. Ruscha, who grew up in Oklahoma, has marked the discs with phrases he grew up hearing such as “I Aint Telling You No Lie” and particular slang distinctive to the region.
Why it’s a must-see: Because Ruscha is one of the founding fathers of the Pop Art movement, along the likes of Andy Warhol.
"Gabriel Garcia Marquez: The Making of a Global Writer"— now through July 19
Harry Ransom Center
For much of his writing career, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was relatively unknown. It wasn’t until in 1967, following the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude, that he rose to fame, eventually winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. Head to the Ransom Center to view more than 300 items on display and learn more about the life and talent of this internationally celebrated author.
Why it’s a must-see: Many of this collection is available to the public for the first time.
"Majele (Venomous): An Installation By Akirash" — now through June 27
George Washington Carver Museum
The newest exhibition at the George Washington Carver Museum couldn’t be more relevant. The artist depicts children being separated from their families at the U.S./Mexico border. His work begs to ask how we can live in today’s world when confronted with such venom, grief, and uncertainty.
Why it’s a must-see: Like all great art, the show offers context for today's issues. This show offers a much needed moment of reflection amid an endless — and despairing — news cycle.
"Kim Bishop: Paradise" — now through February 16
Elizabet Ney Museum
Tucked away in Hyde Park is the Elizabet Ney Museum, a quaint property offering exhibitions, art classes, and more community events. Head there this month to view an array of wood cuts from San Antonio printmaker Kim Bishop who has crafted colorful floral pieces that seem to jump off the wall.
Why it’s a must-see: The joyful celebration of nature is one the whole family will love.
The Avant-Garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico and Peru in the 1920s — February 16 through May 16
Blanton Museum of Art
Organized in partnership with the Blanton and Peru's Museo de Arte de Lima, this exhibition tells the story of Latin American art during the early 20th century. Using the subversive publication Amatua, published in Peru from 1926 to 1930, the shows offers a unique look at the modernization of Peru and Latin America. The avant-garde magazine captured the artistic and political views of the time and led to international discussions on traditional craft, visual identity, and indigenous peoples. The exhibition, which runs through May 16, features more than 250 objects, including sculpture, portraits, and photography from famed artists like Diego Rivera, Tina Modotti, and Carlos Merida. Where possible, they run alongside the magazine's original features.
Why it’s a must-see: A unique, often overlooked era in both art, social, and political history.
"Deborah Roberts: I’m" — September 12 through January 31, 2021
The Contemporary Austin - Jones Center
Austinite Deborah Roberts is having her first solo Texas museum exhibition at The Contemporary Austin beginning in September. With her work, Roberts aims to start conversations about beauty, race, and identity in modern society. Utilizing mixed media from photography, magazines, and the internet on paper and on canvas, she depicts African American children, still one of the most vulnerable groups of people, and invites her audience to examine the way societally pressures, violence, and even acquired norms affect how they grow up.
Why it’s a must-see: In 2020, racism and violence are still seen in this country on a daily basis and Roberts wants viewers to question these issues and continue the conversation toward a better America.