UT Museum Acquires Original Work by Artist Ellsworth Kelly

Feb 6, 2015

UT-Austin's Blanton Museum of Art has acquired and will construct an original work by artist Ellsworth Kelly. The price tag for the construction is $15 million, but the work is more than a sculpture or an installation – it's a 2,715-square-foot building.

Kelly designed the piece, now titled "Austin," in 1986, and he hoped that it would one day be built in a public space. The work will feature a redwood totem sculpture, black and white marble panels and colored stained glass windows.

"I think it will be beautiful," museum director Simone Wicha says. "I think it will be uplifting, it will be a place to rest, it will be a place to contemplate."

Speaking to the New York Times about the piece, Kelly said: “I think people need some kind of spiritual thing because, as you can see, there are spots around the world that are blowing up and we don’t want that."

Blanton already features two of Kelly's works in its gallery – a print, and a painting titled "High Yellow."

The museum needs to raise $15 million in donations before it can begin the planning and construction phase. So far, says Wicha, they have seven of the fifteen. Once the full amount's been raised, construction will take about a year, she says.