A webcam now offers 24-hour views from inside Ellsworth Kelly’s ‘Austin’

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It’s something many visitors to Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin” have wished for: A webcam that captures 24-hour views of the colorful, slowing changing light within the building and work of art at the Blanton Museum.

And now, with the museum closed along with the rest of the University of Texas campus, that wished-for Kelly webcam is at last a reality.

The public can now livestream two views from within the 2,715-square-foot structure and watch the gradually changing patterns of colored light created by its stained-glass windows.

While the webcam stream formally debuts to the public on May 31 — the late artist’s 97th birthday — Sightlines readers can have a sneak peak here:

blantonmuseum.org/ellsworth-kellys-austin/livestream/

The cameras are focused on two of the building’s three stained glass windows, “Starburst” and “Tumbling Squares,” both of which receive the most sunlight at this time of the year.

In fact the webcam will offer something that in-person visits during regular museum hours never did: The chance to see the shifting light in “Austin” during sunrise.

The late artist’s only free-standing building, the $23 million structure is named “Austin” in keeping with Kelly’s tradition of naming some works after they places to which they are connected.

Though he originally designed it in the 1980s as a chapel for a private California vineyard, the project was shelved for decades. In early 2015, after coming to the attention of various UT alumni and donors, Kelly gifted the design concept of the building to the Blanton. It was his last project before his death in December 2015.

In the two years since its Feb. 2018 opening, more than 230,000 people have visited the building, according to the Blanton’s figures.

While plans have not been finalized for the webcam to remain once the museum re-opens, a Blanton spokeswoman said it is definitely being considered.

“With all the virtual content we’ve made, we’re now looking at how the digital will co-exist with our in-person offerings once we move towards reopening,” said Blanton representative Penny Snyder.

“We hope to reopen this summer and are currently planning and instituting protocols to safeguard our staff and visitors,” Snyder said. “We will make a formal announcement when we are closer to determining an actual reopening date.”

 


Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is an arts and culture journalist who has covered visual art, performance, film, literature, architecture, and just about any combination thereof. She was the staff arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman for 17 years. Her commendations include the First Place Arts & Culture Criticism Award from the Society for Features Journalism. Additionally, Jeanne Claire has been awarded professional fellowships at USC’s Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and NEA/Columbia University Arts Journalism Institute. In 2022, she was awarded the Rabkin Prize in visual art journalism. Jeanne Claire founded and led Sightlines, a non-profit online arts and culture magazine that reached an annual readership of 600,000. And for two years, she taught arts journalism at the University of Texas College of Fine Arts. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Architecture magazine, Dwell, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Art Papers, and ICON design magazine, among other publications.

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