Blue Star Voices
Fort Hood, Texas
The downtown branch of the Austin Museum of Art is at 823 Congress Avenue. Photo by author
While visiting Austin last weekend with my husband, we stumbled upon the Austin Museum of Art. My husband had not yet been to an art museum before, but I had. (I visited the Milwaukee Art Museum a few years ago.) When we wanted to pay for our admission, the host there saw my husband’s U.S. Army hat, and asked if he was active military. My husband is a soldier in the U.S. Army and has been serving for 13 years now. The host offered us free admission as part of the Blue Star Museums Program. I had heard of it, but I did not realize the Austin Museum of Art was part of it.
The main artist exhibits at the museum currently are Chris Jordan and Sunyong Chung. Chris Jordan, who calls himself a political activist and can be named a photographic artist, fuses together images and information into epic photographs that ask us to consider our role as global citizens. His work “Running the Numbers” makes you think about the number of certain objects used per day. Like the 426,000 cell phones in one of his works that depicts the number of cell phones that the U.S. retires every day. This collection is displayed together with a selection from his work “Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption,” a collection of documentary images of container sites, recycling centers, and industrial yards.
[Jordan's work] made me think about the mass amount of waste we have in the U.S. Too many plastic bottles we use per five minutes, the amount of sodas that are consumed per day. It encourages me to recycle more, and to drink less soda. It also makes me aware of other global issues that are going on in this world. More information on Chris Jordan and his artwork can be found on www.chrisjordan.com.
Sunyong Chung is an artist originally from Korea. Her massive artwork called “One Year” is on view. It is a floor-based circular solid covered in thousands of wonderfully colorful, handmade, low-relief porcelain tiles. "One Year" displays the four seasons and day and night. Worth seeing! “The Dance” is an image of change. It is an artifact hanging from the ceiling that displays molecules, DNA, and cellular changes that come from evolution. It's an art work you can sit and look at for a quite a while. It is pretty breathtaking.
Next to these amazing artists, artwork of various other artists are displayed. There is also a family room, where the kids can learn about art, and make some art themselves. The museum also has various seminars throughout the day.
We are planning on visiting more museums when we get the chance. I love art; we both love art. It really makes you think deeper of the meaning behind the piece of art. So, if you spend a day in Austin, do not forget to visit the Austin Museum of Art. It is worth the visit!
Learn more about the Blue Star Museums program and participating museums on the NEA website.