Eyes of Texas

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns strutted off the field after their win over Texas Tech, the merriness of the “Eyes of Texas” radiating from their faces. Seniors, especially, in their last night at Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium, portrayed a healthy dose of holiday-like spirit.

Players quickly dressed to head out of the stadium, as parents waited to whisk them home for a quick post-Thanksgiving visit.

But, as many students roll into campus Sunday, dragging in leftovers and clean laundry, the Longhorn players will have shifted their focus to Baylor. The team is one week away from its first Big 12 championship — at least a share of one — since 2009.

A conference title for this team was almost inconceivable two months ago and, even now, holds the same sense of disbelief. This team is led by a group of players whose strengths are nearly equally foiled by what should be insurmountable faults.

A fill-in quarterback that exudes moxie but can’t chunk the ball farther than 30 yards consistently? Check.

A No. 1 wide receiver that makes spectacular catches and plays but often lets simple catches bound off his hands? Check.

A legendary coach on the brink of unemployment, fighting to keep his job? Yep, the Longhorns have that too.

This Texas team is essentially an extension of a TV drama, a sequel to “Friday Night Lights,” if you will. The elements are all there, anything a producer could think to throw at this team has been leveled this season.

A young quarterback star falling to injury early in the year, a coach fired because of poor performance, injuries to a different player nearly every week: It’s all there, even suspensions and some last-minute game-winning magic, results which seem more appropriate in a perfect script than for Texas.

The Longhorns have been counted out frequently this season, but they’ve always clawed back. After two early losses and the dismissal of Manny Diaz, Texas reeled off six-straight wins, including an upset of rival Oklahoma. When Texas suffered its worst home loss in the Mack Brown era against Oklahoma State, it didn’t wallow. Instead, the Longhorns held the Red Raiders to their lowest point total in two seasons in the win. 

It’s almost the season finale. With two episodes remaining, the producers have the opportunity to deal Texas a resounding triumph or yet another taste of defeat. Baylor will be the Longhorns’ penultimate challenge. A top 10 team stands in the way of a Big 12 championship and redemption for a senior class that’s suffered through the worst four-year stretch at Texas in two decades.

A history of cheesy movies and unforgettable dramas says Texas’ cast of challenged characters will come away with the victory. But this is where fiction and fact separate; no producer will yell cut if the Longhorns fall behind.

The end of the script is blank. It’s up to the Longhorns to fill it.

Director Simone J. Wicha and curator Annette DiMeo Carlozzi amassed a collection of artworks for their Through the Eyes of Texas exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art. The works included originals from Monet, Picasso, and O’Keeffe. 

Photo Credit: Marshall Nolen | Daily Texan Staff

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Blanton Museum of Art, director Simone J. Wicha and art curator Annette DiMeo Carlozzi scoured University of Texas alumni collections for rare and impressive artworks to display in their Through the Eyes of Texas exhibition. 

“Throughout the museum’s history there’s been a history of collectors giving major gifts to grow the collection,” said Claire Howard, a graduate research assistant at the Blanton. “The 50th anniversary gives us the opportunity to stop and look back on the major points on the museum’s history and to where it’s going. We can look to the role alumni and UT students have played in the development of the museum in the past and in the future.”

Displaying works from different centuries, styles and regions, the collection serves as a representation of the changing tastes of UT art aficionados. The connecting thread is that UT alumni of all majors and disciplines contributed the works. 

“What is so great about the exhibition is that there are over 200 works, and they span from ancient objects to modern and contemporary,” said Kimberly Theel, director of membership and museum services. “What is so phenomenal is that they haven’t been seen together and many have never been seen in public because they are in private collections. It provided opportunities for the curators to make connections between works that aren’t necessarily so obvious.”

Works featured in the exhibition range from Egyptian sculpture to Monet’s water lilies. Some of the most prominent artists include Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Andy Warhol.

“It provides students and the Austin community with a chance to see not only some very rare works, like Mayan artifacts, but also artworks that have never been exhibited in one place before,” said Samantha Youngblood, public relations and marketing manager for the Blanton. “It’s going to take multiple visits to see all of the nearly 200 works in the exhibition. There’s something unexpected and beautiful around every corner.”

The show encapsulates the extent of the Blanton’s history of diverse works. For the past fifty years, the Blanton has attempted to cater to the changing cultural makeup of the Austin community. It embraces a variety of shows with the intention of broadening the scope of arts appreciation.

“We want to be a hub for creativity, and we really want to share with them the life-enhancing power of art,” Theel said. “Just knowing that these works have never been seen in public before because they have been hanging in someone’s dining room, and having that one-on-one experience with works of art, and seeing the connections and the way that works are situated in the galleries is really powerful.”

To better connect past students with current campus culture, the audio tour of the exhibit features commentary from distinguished UT art professors. By working to incorporate the interests of faculty members, the show offers the opportunity for classes to get engaged in the arts community. 

“We work frequently with faculty to bring their classes to the Blanton, so it’s not just art history classes that come to the Blanton.  Classes from across the curriculum come, and we try to connect with different teaching interests of the faculty,” Howard said. “When Annette went out and saw different collections, she had in mind the interests of faculty that we work with and how classes might benefit from the show.”

But bringing high-caliber works to the University has posed a challenge for curator Carlozzi. She flew around the world, visiting over 150 collections, to bring prominent works to the Blanton. Meanwhile, Howard worked relentlessly matching pieces with information crucial for display. Because many of the works have never been publicly displayed, Blanton staff lacked crucial information like titles and dates. Howard had to rely on library catalogues, auction records and the cooperation of alumni.

“Something that’s been impressive is the level of leadership among the alumni that we have worked with on this show,” Howard said. “There’s a huge range of types of collectors, but this uniting thing is the passion they have for art and their willingness to assume a leadership position. I think something that UT incorporates into its mission is training leaders, and we have been pleased to see alums that have taken positions of art leadership.”

Everything at UT stays the same, at least in regard to Student Government. Campaigns with catchy slogans about empowering students or uniting Texas mark the campus every semester. However, it seems that every couple of years, a revolution almost takes place; a few years ago, it actually happened. Lance Kennedy and Geoffrey Geiger, members of the College Republicans, formed “The Texas Revolution” as an alternative to SG and its corruption. SG elections had been so corrupted that it was not a true democracy as there was no real opposition to the status quo candidates who were supported by the Eyes of Texas, UT’s secret society.

We are seeing yet another reform movement on campus. Abolish SG has sent out a petition asking students to sign up to do just what the organization’s name implies: abolish SG. But this organization is just a temper tantrum designed to reinstate the candidates who were disqualified. They also claim to have a roster of the Eyes of Texas and to be willing to expose them if their demands are not met.

It really isn’t that hard to see who is in the Eyes of Texas since the Texas Revolution took place. However, Kayla Oliver’s Monday column makes it seem that someone is trying to link Thor Lund’s ticket to the Eyes of Texas. This looks like an attempt by the status quo to take back control and constitutes unnecessary drama that the University could do without. If students want reform, they should form an alliance that will truly support students rather than complain about the past election season.

Saul Mendoza is a Government and Spanish Literature Senior.