Exhibition: ‘Desire’ at The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas

Exhibition dates: 5th February – 25th April 2010


Many thankx to the Blanton Museum of Art for allowing me to reproduce images from the exhibition in the post. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.




Olaf Breuning (Swiss, b. 1970) 'Brian' 2008


Olaf Breuning (Swiss, b. 1970)
60 x 70 inches
Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York


Glenn Ligon (American, b. 1960) 'Lest We Forget' 1998


Glenn Ligon (American, b. 1960)
Lest We Forget
Series including cast aluminium or bronze plaques, colour photographs of plaques on site
Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York


Valeska Soares (Brazilian, b. 1957) 'Duet' 2008


Valeska Soares (Brazilian, b. 1957)
Hand-carved white marble
Installation dimensions variable
Private Collection


Tracey Emin (English, b. 1963) 'You Should Have Loved Me' 2008


Tracey Emin (English, b. 1963)
You Should Have Loved Me
Warm white neon
Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York



This February, The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin investigates the notion of desire in an exhibition of the same name. Curated by Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, Blanton curator of American and contemporary art and director of curatorial affairs, the exhibition features over fifty works from an international group of contemporary artists working in all media, including Glenn Ligon, Marilyn Minter, Petah Coyne, Bill Viola, Tracey Emin, Isaac Julien and many others. The accompanying illustrated catalogue will contain texts by art critics, fiction writers, poets, performing and visual artists, all written in direct response to the works of art in the exhibition.

Carlozzi states, “”Desire” is a complex human emotion and a driving force in our lives from childhood through old age. We all can recall examples of literature, film, and music that are rife with expressions of physical desire, but how do contemporary visual artists portray it, and all its attendant psychological states – anticipation, arousal, longing, regret, and so on? “Desire” assembles a really broad range of compelling works that together present a surprisingly diverse portrait of the experience.”

One provocative aspect of the exhibition is not its imagery, per se, but the manner by which many of the works translate intimate experiences into art a public expression. Marilyn Minter’s Crystal Swallow would seem to capture a private moment of visceral response, yet in such detail and exaggerated scale that it becomes a grotesque advertisement for arousal. Glenn Ligon’s series, Lest We Forget, commemorates those flickers of romantic fantasy that sometimes occur while people watching. And Tracey Emin’s You Should Have Loved Me is an accusation from a lover scorned, created with the neon light of public signage as if to broadcast raw feeling to an uncaring world.

Works by Kalup Linzy, William Villalongo, Olaf Breuning, James Drake, Petah Coyne, Gajin Fugita, Georganne Deen, Adam Pendleton, Peter Saul, Valeska Soares, Danica Phelps, Miguel Angel Rojas, Mads Lynnerup, Rochelle Feinstein, Richard Prince, Laurel Nakadate, Jesse Amado, Isabell Heimerdinger, Alejandro Cesarco, Eve Sussman, Robert Kushner, Luisa Lambri, Chris Doyle, and a dozen others, provide an engaging multi-generational exploration of desire. In addition, an informed selection of works of art from The Blanton’s print collection will add a historic counterpoint to the contemporary works on view.

Press release from The Blanton Museum of Art website [Online] Cited 17/04/2010


Will Villalongo (American, b. 1975) 'The Last Days of Eden' 2009


Will Villalongo (American, b. 1975)
The Last Days of Eden
Cut velour paper
Courtesy the artist and Susan Inglett Gallery, New York



William Villalongo (born December 14, 1975 in Hollywood, Florida) is an American artist working in painting, printmaking, sculpture, and installation. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Villalongo is also a professor at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York.

Villalongo typically focuses in his works on the politics of historical erasure, with a particular focus on the artistic reassessment of Western, American, and African Art histories. The artist states that his intention toward these reassessments evolves in part from the West’s histories of “taking African art objects and placing them on the side of the sofa to decorate, although that is not their purpose. We are obsessed with fitting a narrative, a story.”

His works engage with the black body, examining the influences of socialisation, history, occupation, dress, and speech on it. In many of his portraits, bodies emerge from “a tumult of white negative space cut out of black velour paper,” in ways that evoke leaves, branches, feathers, or slashes.

Villalongo is also influenced by Pablo Picasso, who incorporated African masks into his primitivist works, and Aaron Douglas who he credits as inspiring him. Villalongo reexamines the power dynamics of history and representation in his own pieces. “It’s problematic and interesting, and I wanted to think about how to use it and tell a story.”

Text from the Wikipedia website


Petah Coyne (American, b. 1953) 'Untitled #1103 (Daphne)' 2002-3


Petah Coyne (American, b. 1953)
Untitled #1103 (Daphne)
Mixed media
77 x 83 x 86 inches
Collection of Julie and John Thornton



Petah Coyne (born 1953) is an American sculptor and photographer. She is known for her large-scale sculptures composed of unconventional, and often organic, materials, such as clay, silk, wax, and hair.


Bill Viola (American, b. 1951) 'Becoming Light' 2005


Bill Viola (American, b. 1951)
Becoming Light
Colour High-Definition video on plasma display mounted on wall
47.6 in x 28.5 in x 4 in (121 x 72.5 x 10.2cm)
Performers: John Hay, Sarah Steben
Photo: Kira Perov
Courtesy Bill Viola Studio


Marilyn Minter (American, b. 1948) 'Crystal Swallow' 2006


Marilyn Minter (American, b. 1948)
Crystal Swallow
Enamel on metal
Promised gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein, 2007



Blanton Museum of Art
MLK at Congress (200 East MLK)
Austin, Texas 78701

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 1 – 5pm
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

The Blanton Museum of Art website


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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