Photo courtesy of Blanton Museum of Art

¡Gracias a Dios, más arte latino en Austin! The University of Texas’ Blanton Museum of Art has just announced the launch of their Latino art initiative with two new gallery spaces set to open in March, plus a new exhibition to premiere in spring 2024.

According to a press release, the new initiative is supported by the gift and purchase of 5,650 artworks from former UT staff Dr. Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia. An ongoing endeavor for six decades, the Cárdenas/Garcia collection has a large focus on Chicano prints from the 1960s and is one of the largest private collections in the world.

As a former professor at UT, Dr. Cárdenas has first-hand experience supporting Latino artists and promoting their art nationwide. Dr. Cárdenas previously donated to the Blanton in 2017, gifting over 350 prints from community arts center Self Help Graphics & Art.

Blanton Museum director Simone Wicha praised Dr. Cárdenas and Garcia for their continued support of Latino art in museums throughout the decades:

“Latino culture is an essential part of U.S. culture, especially here in the Southwest, and our shared commitment to representing and amplifying Latino history and voices through art prompted me to begin this collaboration with Gilberto and Dolores,” she says. “The new initiative is an important next step for the Blanton, which has been a leader in American contemporary art and holds one of the oldest and most distinguished collections of Latin American art in this country.”

The decision to house their Cárdenas/Garcia collection at the Blanton came from the museum’s long-standing commitment to the field of Latino art. Additionally, the museum will spend the next five years digitizing every artwork from the collection, donating a select number of works to other institutions around the country.

“The Cárdenas/Garcia collection at the museum will provide access to Latino art for the student body and faculty for discovery and research, in addition to serving as a resource for the Austin community,” Dr. Cárdenas and Garcia said in a statement. “We are confident that the research undertaken by the curatorial staff and the exhibitions and publications that result will represent a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge and understanding of this aspect of American art.”

The first rotation in the new Latino art-dedicated gallery spaces, Cara a Cara / Face to Face: Chicano Portraits from the Gilberto and Dolores Cárdenas Collection, will open in March and feature several Chicano artists’ paintings who “use portraiture as a form of personal, cultural, or political affirmation” as described in the release. Works displayed will come from artists like Claudio Dicochea, Esperanza Gama, Yolanda López, Linda Vallejo, and many more.

The Blanton also received a five-year grant from Latino art initiative Advancing Latinx Art in Museums to hire a dedicated associate curator. The curator will serve as an essential aid in documenting and exhibiting the Cárdenas/Garcia collection, while also working directly with faculty to support Latino studies at UT through the development of educational and exhibition programming. The museum will seek to endow the position when the grant expires.

“Importantly positioned within the first Latin American art department to be founded in this country, this new curatorial position will expand the study and presentation of Chicano and Latino art, working closely with the Cárdenas/Garcia Collection,” said Vanessa Davidson, the Blanton’s curator of Latin American art. “The Blanton’s new dedicated gallery spaces will ensure that these artworks, as well Latino art more generally, have a constant, dedicated presence for museum visitors and for scholars who come from far and wide to research this landmark collection.”

A new exhibition in the Blanton’s Paper Vault gallery is anticipated in the spring of 2024, dedicated to the Cárdenas/Garcia collection and representing the significance of Latino artists’ printmaking and photography. Though the exhibit will have a special focus on Chicano artists, works will span several historical periods and cultural communities.

More information about The Blanton Museum’s new Latino art initiative can be found at blantonmuseum.org.

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Space-inspired screenings invade Austin Film Society ahead of Wes Anderson's upcoming release

Asteroid City

Yes, Wes Anderson was born in Houston, but we like to claim the UT graduate as our own here in Austin. With his latest film Asteroid City set for release in just a matter of weeks, the anticipation is high. Thankfully, Austin Film Society (AFS) is helping locals get ready.

On June 9 and 10, AFS will screen a series of three films the Texas director cites as influences on his new project. The series is free and will culminate with a special sneak preview of Asteroid City on June 10 at AFS Cinema.

Set in a fictional American desert town circa 1955, the film follows the itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention. Organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition, the convention is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.

In true Wes Anderson form, the large ensemble cast features both previous collaborators (Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton and Adrien Brody, among others) and newcomers in the Anderson universe such as Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Maya Hawke, and more. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May to rave reviews.

The trio of AFS screenings leading up to the sneak peek will include On The Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan, on Friday, June 9, at 5 pm, followed by Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind at 9 pm. The series continues on Saturday, June 10, with John Huston's The Misfits at 5 pm before the Asteroid City preview screening at 8:30 pm.

A new book about the mid-century cinematic influences on Asteroid City will also be available for purchase throughout the weekend series. Edited by Jake Perlin and published by Pushkin Press, Do Not Detonate Without Presidential Approval focuses features essays, photography, and a new conversation between Perlin and Wes Anderson.

This series of films is free, and tickets will be available to the public on Tuesday, May 30. To reserve tickets to these events, click here or visit austinfilm.org.

Lil Yachty, Jenny Lewis, and more join summer schedule for ACL tapings

Summer Sounds

Summer at Austin City Limits isn't just about the festival. The music is flowing in at the Moody Theater, where four diverse new acts will be taped for the world's ongoing enjoyment, even if Austin is too far to visit.

The taping schedule for Season 49 already includes Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Tanya Tucker, and Jorge Drexler, but more is coming. The more recent announcement brings in rapper Lil Yachty, singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis, jazz duo Domi and J.D. Beck (stylized DOMi & JD Beck), and Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. The latter duo will be accompanied by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, to mark the guitarists' first appearance in a decade.

Lil Yachty beckons to the mainstream youth of 2023, having built a career on recognizable red braids and an absurdist sense of humor in his melodic flows. Still only 25, he is gaining acclaim through his creative approach. Domi and J.D. Beck take an equally, if not even more wacky approach, combining their jazz sensibility with high-profile artist features like Snoop Dogg and Mac DeMarco.

Jenny Lewis and Rodrigo y Gabriela are the more long-established acts — Lewis, a former child actor, known for her honest lyrics and campy style, and the guitar duo known for blending disparate styles like nuevo flamenco and heavy metal. Their appearance with the Austin Symphony will expand the instrumentation of their latest release, In Between Thoughts…A New World.

Austinites can see the live performances if they win passes through KLRU, the PBS station that airs Austin City Limits. Tapings will later be available on KLRU and YouTube.

  • June 28 — Lil Yachty
  • July 7 — Rodrigo y Gabriela
  • July 8 — DOMi & JD Beck
  • July 26 — Jenny Lewis

City of Austin offers bonuses to meet lifeguard staffing shortage

Just keep swimming

It's that time of the year again! Pools are getting busier on the weekends, and that means the demand for lifeguards is on the rise. Right now, the City of Austin is offering pay bonuses to help fill its shortage.

The City currently operates 45 public aquatic facilities, including Barton Springs Pool and Deep Eddy Pool, as well as 22 neighborhood pools and 11 splash pads.

In an effort to fill over 500 lifeguard positions at pools and summer camps, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department has changed its bonus structure. The new structure is tied to the number of hours worked.

To receive the bonuses, an employee must earn a minimum of $20 an hour work between May 21 and August 12 to be eligible for any bonus payouts. For example, lifeguards will receive a $250 bonus for 200 hours of work, and 300 and 400 hours of work will add another $250 bonus.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.