Monday, October 20, 2014

Art in Austin

I traveled to Austin, TX recently on business and extended my stay by one precious day to visit with a cousin and her family. The two things which stand out in my mind from this trip are:

1. Cemeteries seem to enjoy turning up in my life in October (through no fault of my own, the hotel at which my colleagues and I stayed was right next to a graveyard); and

2. Austin's chock-full of art.

I had no idea of the latter, and deeply regret that I didn't keep my camera phone at the ready to snap up the beauty all around me, though I did manage to capture a few things.

Dale Whistler's Nightwing (1998)
Whistler's sculpture pays tribute to the nearly one million bats which hang out beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge every summer. (Yes, I know—cemeteries and bats. I really do seem to belong in Austin, except I don't drive and would, thus, likely be screwed with regard to getting around and whatnot.)

Jen Beck’s Crow I (2013)
According to nearby plaque-type thing,
This work is part of a series best described by the word saudade. (Ed. note: this is a uniquely Portuguese word/concept.) With no direct translation in English, saudade describes a nostalgic or melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that will never return. It is the complex and bittersweet recollection of feelings, experiences, and places that once brought excitement, pleasure, and well-being, and that now still trigger the senses and make one feel alive.”

I deeply regret not making note of either the artist or the work's name, 'cause I heart it. It might be the work of Judith Simonds.

Sarah Collins’ Untitled (2013).
This work is composed of fabric, thread, old clothing, and old linens. Of the piece, the artist says, “My textile collages, which include old clothes and housewares, are based on abstract paintings and landscapes. Stitched artwork pieces were once supposed to be tidy, but these bring the process to the forefront and show the heavy mess of thread. By flipping the fabric and leaving edges unfinished, I am playing with ‘wrong’ versus ‘right’ sides of the fabric.
I love this for its motion and colors. Love it.

I believe this sculpture is the work of Austin artist James Tisdale, but don't quote me on it. In any event, it's certainly doing its part to keep Austin weird. :-)

Dudes, I had the best time checking out all the groovy artwork and sorely wish I'd had more than just one free day in the fabulous city of Austin. I reckon my saudade for the place will take me back someday, se Deus quiser.


  1. Very interesting art! Austin actually has a lot going for it, the main drawback being, Texas.

  2. Austin is like Texas' only liberal and decent place, from what I hear.

  3. Hey, let's keep the conversation focused on the art.

  4. The piece by (possibly) Judith Simonds is stunning. I love it! And I'd love to see Austin - and not just for the graveyards and the bats :)

  5. Dang, woman. You were nearly down in my neck o' the woods.
    Lovely pics. Austin is nice. :)

  6. @DRC - Agreed! It so entranced me I snapped numerous pics of it from various angles. I'd love to have that piece for my very own.

    @Melissa - Dang it, I forgot you're in TX! I'm making a mental note to reach out to you if I head down your way again, I'd love to meet you!

  7. So much great art! How cool that you got to see these pieces in person...


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