In celebration of its 50 years as a fixture at UT, the Blanton Museum of Art hosted a public tour of its exhibition “Luminous: 50 Years of Collecting Prints and Drawings at the Blanton” on Sunday.
The tour, led by docent Sarah Harvey, showcased 150 pieces from the Blanton’s 16,000-piece collection of art on paper. The exhibition will be on display until Sept. 15. Harvey said the exhibition, designed by Francesca Consagra, senior curator of prints and drawings and European paintings, is a thrilling and overwhelming experience.
“Francesca set up this exhibition in a really unique way,” Harvey said. “I didn’t think it would fly with the public, but I was so wrong. People love it. They’ve been striking up conversations about the art, and that’s something that doesn’t usually happen.”
The artwork, featured in thick salon-style hang frames, appears to be jumping off the wall at guests. Another notable characteristic of the exhibit is the absence of descriptive labels next to each piece, Harvey said.
Sophomore Kelly Widder said she found the lack of labels to be a positive change from the typical museum visit.
“I liked how they had the prints displayed in a grid pattern and without any descriptions,” Widder said. “It was a really overwhelming arrangement but overwhelming in a good way.”
Harvey said she is particularly fond of the Blanton’s print collection, and admires the way the exhibition helps visitors to better appreciate each piece.
“Prints can be a hard sell,” Harvey said. “It’s hard to get people to stop and look at them. They’re a more intimate form of art, and the arrangement of this exhibition encourages visitors to take a closer look at the details of each piece.”
Harvey said although most docents are wary of the difficult explanations needed to give life to the diverse styles of print and drawing that are featured, she enjoys discussing the stories behind each piece.
Freshman Katie Lewis found the wealth of information to be a welcome addition to her visit and enjoyed the medium of the presentation.
“I think I would have overlooked a lot of [the artwork] if I had just been on my own, reading plaques,” Lewis said. “It was nice to hear someone talking about them.”