Austin is a lot of things: state capital, Live Music Capital of the Universe ®, home of the second most important football team in the state, hippie playground. But Austin has never really been an art town –– at least compared to Fort Worth, with its three world-class museums and two exceptional MFA programs (TCU’s, UTA’s), or Houston, with its MFAH (Museum of Fine Arts Houston), Menil Collection, and Rothko Chapel, or Dallas, with its Dallas Museum of Art and progressive gallery scene. Austin’s first and only museum friendly to contemporary art, the Blanton Museum of Art, became bona fide –– it got a new massive building –– only a few years ago (though the museum was established in the late ’20s).
But Austin may be well on its way to becoming an art town after all. Founded just a few years ago by Big Medium, an art-focused Austin nonprofit, the Texas Biennial intends to shine a light on Texas art, offering exhibits across the state (but mostly in Austin) by emerging and established Texas artists handpicked by out-of-town curators.
“I think it’s great,” said Fort Worth’s Christopher Blay, multimedia artist, curator of TCC Southeast’s Art Corridor II, and noted rabble-rouser. “I like the idea of art concentrated in Texas as opposed to the oversaturated East and West coasts.”