8.28.2010

A new semester

Four more years have passed since my last blog, and something happened today that has ticked me enough to write in this again... My friend Hannah and I visited the UT art museum, the Blanton Art Museum, and I am now infused with opposing emotions that I have to let it out.

Legend has it that Herzog & de Meuron was commissioned to build the new UT art museum back in the late 1990's. However, after they were selected, the UT Regency demanded the art museum to be more stylistically in line with the rest of the campus. As a result, Herzog said "BISAK (bye in Swedish)" and we don't have a landmark. We have a building that looks like the rest of the campus, with unadorned post-modern arches and columns and boarded up windows at the street level! At least the overhang soffit is generous and has nice wood paneling.

Entering the museum, unimpressed, my mind changed quickly as we approached the central atrium with north facing sawtooth skylights, filling the space with energetic daylight.


My heart was beaming with joy when I saw the interior wall treatment at the atrium. The horizontal acrylic blue and white stripes made you feel like you are floating in the ocean near Santorini.


But then, my feelings for this place only plummeted here-after... The galleries are reminiscences of the Kimball Art Museum by Louis Kahn, yet they look more like faithful copies instead... On the way out, we realized that the interior wall treatment was not part of the original architectural design. It is an installation art done last year, so kudos to the artist, not the architect... Also, the four corners of the building have circular rooms within, yet they are absolutely in disguised from the outside. The roof details are also hidden from view.


The element of surprise is often appreciated in buildings, but I hate buildings that lie. I felt cheated as I walked away from the museum.