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Blanton Museum of Art Raises $23 Million for Ellsworth Kelly–Designed Structure

After a $23 million capital campaign, the fabrication of Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a 2,715-square-foot structure, is finally finished. The stone building, featuring prismatic glass windows and black-and-white marble tiles, is the first and only freestanding structure conceived by the artist. Kelly gifted the design for the piece to the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin in 2015, making it one of the last works he produced before he passed away in December of that year.

“The opening of Austin further cements the Blanton as an international cultural destination,” Blanton director Simone Wicha said. “The broad geographic support we received for this project is reflective of the audience we anticipate visiting Kelly's monumental achievement.”

Akin to the Rothko chapel in Houston, and the Matisse chapel in Venice, the structure is meant to be a place for joy and contemplation, “without religious program.” The debut of Austin on February 18 will coincide with the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the artist, “Form into Spirit: Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin.”