The Blanton Goes for Gold

On Saturday, February 16, the Blanton Museum of Art at University of Texas in Austin marks a milestone. The country%26rsquo;s largest university museum hits a half-century and celebrates with both an exhibition and a black-tie bash (PaperCity is media sponsor). The museum is the site of the big-ticket f%26ecirc;te, as well as a Gold a Go-Go After Party. Tapped as honorary gala chairs are retired UT prez Larry Faulkner and former Blanton director Jessie Hite %26mdash; two influencers who shaped the reborn Blanton%26rsquo;s $83.5 million building (unveiled 2006) and its holdings, such as the Italian Old Master canvases and works on paper that comprise the Suida-Manning Collection of Renaissance and Baroque art. Twenty-two regional chairs have stepped forward,%26nbsp;including mega-collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky; fellow Dallas denizens Patty and James Huffines; Austin%26rsquo;s astute Jeanne and Mickey Klein; and Suzanne Deal Booth (who gifted the James Turrell skyspace that graces Rice University) and husband David Booth. With tables of 10 priced from $10,000 to $100,000 and sponsorship tickets at $1,500, this soir%26eacute;e, mounted in the Blanton%26rsquo;s 124,000-square-foot Michener Building, will lure the big boys and girls of the art contingent to support the museum%26rsquo;s ever-expanding mission. (Its 17,000 artworks include the Suida-Manning cache; American gems such as Jerry Bywaters%26rsquo; Oil Field Girls, acquired by a bequest from late scribe James A. Michener and wife Mari; modernist and contemporary Latin American holdings; and the only encyclopedic print collection in Texas.) The party includes an exclusive preview of %26ldquo;Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections,%26rdquo; organized by Blanton curator Annette DiMeo Carlozzi %26mdash; a look at the acquisition acumen of UT grads. The exhibition boasts art across the millennia, from Monet to pre-Raphaelite canvases, the Egyptians, Mayans and Romans to Rauschenberg, plus Janine Antoni%26rsquo;s portrait busts in soap and chocolate that riff on antiquity. (Public opening February 24, through May 19.) Blanton Museum of Art Golden Anniversary Gala in Austin, Saturday, February 16; tickets 512.475.6013;


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