Blanton Museum to unveil two large site-specific, permanent artworks

Installations by Kay Rosen and Gabriel Dawe will debut with the opening of the Blanton’s grounds redesign in May


The Blanton Museum of Art announced today that will unveil two large site-specific artworks: a mural by Kay Rosen and new commission by artist Gabriel Dawe.

The permanent installations will debut with the opening of the Blanton’s grounds redesign in May.

The two works by artists with Texas roots join the previously announced commissioned mural by the legendary Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera (1915 – 2022), “Verde que te quiero verde (Green How I Desire You Green),” and the outdoor Butler Sound Gallery, opening with a commission by sound art pioneer Bill Fontana.

On the east-facing exterior of the Blanton’s Michener Gallery Building, which will bear the work by Herrera on its west side, Rosen presents a billboard-sized mural exemplifying her longstanding interest in aesthetic wordplay.

‘HI,’ a mural first exhibited in 1997 in Dusseldorf, Germany, has been adapted in scale and shape for the museum façade. The mural portrays the first nine letters of the alphabet with “H” and “I” rendered in a contrasting yellow typeface. With this work, Rosen asks us to consider the unexpected possibilities that can exist in common speech and, of course, offers a greeting to Blanton visitors, passersby, and drivers on Austin’s East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

“I think of language as found material, and HI is an example of how meaning can be discovered in the raw material that is the alphabet,” the artist said. “A personal message emerges from an impersonal system.”

A Texas native Rosen (b. 1943) has explored written language for over 50 years, having first become interested in it growing up in Corpus Christi and experiencing bilingualism from an early age.

Rendering of Gabriel Dawe, “Plexus No. 44, “2023 (photo: ©Gabriel Dawe)

Dawe, originally from Mexico City (b. 1973), creates vibrant installations inspired by textiles, fashion, and architecture. Composed of embroidered threads in a spectrum of colors, Gabriel Dawe’s monumental installation at the Blanton will span from the balustrade on the second floor across the lobby in the museum’s Smith Building which will house the new visitor check-in and Museum Store, plus a new café.

Part of the artist’s Plexus series, the threads and colors interact in a way that creates the illusion of ever-shifting motion as the viewer moves around the artwork.

As Dawe explains, the color gradient in his Plexus weavings “alludes to a symbolic quest to materialize light, to give it density, so that I can offer the viewer an approximation of things otherwise inaccessible to us—a glimmer of hope that brings us closer to the transcendent.”

Both works will be officially unveiled, alongside the Herrera mural and Fontana’s sound installation, at the Blanton Gala on April 29. The public grand opening celebration takes place on Saturday, May 13, starting at 2 p.m.; RSVP is available at

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