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Nicole Eisenman: Sturm und Drang

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Laguna Gloria

Juan Muñoz

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Deborah Roberts

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Torbjørn Rødland

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Laguna Gloria and Jones Center

The Contemporary Austin - Laguna Gloria

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sharon maidenberg Named Executive Director of The Contemporary Austin

Valerie Armstrong, President of the Board of Trustees of The Contemporary Austin, announced today that sharon maidenberg has been named the museum’s new Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director and CEO, following an international search. maidenberg comes to The Contemporary Austin from Headlands Center for the Arts in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, north of San Francisco, where she has served as Executive Director since 2010. She will assume her position in Austin on September 1, succeeding Louis Grachos, who left the museum in June 2019.

"I am thrilled to take on my next professional opportunity in one of the country’s most dynamic and rapidly evolving cities,” said sharon maidenberg. “Like the Bay Area, Austin is one of the most innovative places in the country, and it’s clear that culture, community, and creativity are deeply valued. I am eager to become part of the rich arts ecosystem in Austin at this critical time in the world—a time when the arts can and should play an integral role in society. During my tenure at Headlands I’ve worked with artists directly, built a strategic culture of relevant and thought-provoking audience engagement, and invested deeply in cultivating meaningful relationships. I look forward to applying my experience and perspective to The Contemporary’s already strong programs, and to working with the great staff and Board to write the organization’s next chapter."

Read the full press release here.

The Contemporary Austin presents new and recent work by Nicole Eisenman

As the recipient of the 2020 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize, New York–based artist Nicole Eisenman (American, born 1965 in Verdun, France) will present an exhibition at The Contemporary Austin’s downtown venue, the Jones Center (700 Congress Avenue), with an outdoor sculpture to be installed at the museum’s fourteen-acre sculpture park at Laguna Gloria (3809 West 35th Street). Encompassing drawing, painting, sculpture, and video, this exhibition explores the artist’s two- and three-dimensional works of the past three decades and includes a presentation of her recent large-scale, anti-monumental sculptures. Nicole Eisenman: Sturm und Drang is the artist’s first full-scale, solo exhibition in Texas, and the first-ever presentation of her work in Austin.

In fall 2018, Eisenman was selected for the 2020 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize by an independent advisory committee composed of renowned curators and art historians from across the US, led by Heather Pesanti, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs at The Contemporary Austin. As the 2020 recipient, Eisenman receives a $200,000 unrestricted award along with a solo exhibition, related public programming, and a scholarly catalogue. The exhibition will be on view at The Contemporary Austin from February 27 through August 16, 2020, and a related exhibition will travel to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, opening October 3, 2020, and closing September 23, 2021. More information about the exhibition, public programs, and the prize can be found here.

Read the full press release here.

The Contemporary Austin and grayDUCK Gallery present eight Austin artists in the culminating exhibition of The Contemporary Austin's Crit Group 2019

The Contemporary Austin and grayDUCK Gallery are pleased to present the exhibition Crit Group 2019, featuring work by eight artists who participated this year in the museum's Crit Group—a program that combines group critique with professional development to support the holistic artistic practice of local artists. This eight-month-long program aspires to build a supportive community of Austin artists and to strengthen their practices with input from each other and established professionals in the field.

The opening reception will take place Saturday, July 27, from 2–4 pm at grayDUCK Gallery. In addition, the participating artists will give a public gallery talk about their work and their artistic growth during a program on Saturday, August 25, at 3 pm. The exhibition is on view at grayDUCK Gallery through August 25, 2019. Regular gallery hours are Thursday–Saturday, 11 am–6 pm and Sunday, 12–5 pm. All events are free and open to the public.

The culmination of the Crit Group program, the exhibition includes a diverse range of painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, drawing, video, sound art, and installation created during the Crit Group program. Dynamic and surprising, it features work by these eight talented Austin-based artists who challenged themselves to grow their art practices in new ways: Veronica Ceci, Madeline Irvine, Paloma Mayorga, Virginia Lee Montgomery, Michael Muelhaupt, Manik Raj Nakra, Matthew Steinke, and Jenn Wilson.

Read the full press release here.

épicerie to Open New Cafe at The Contemporary Austin - Laguna Gloria

Opening spring 2019, épicerie at The Contemporary will bring chef-owner Sarah McIntosh’s sophisticated French-Cajun comfort food to the beloved, fourteen-acre art-in-nature museum site, as part of The Contemporary Austin’s transformation of the Laguna Gloria visitor experience.

On March 21, 2018, The Contemporary Austin broke ground on Phase I of its Master Plan for the fourteen-acre Laguna Gloria—home to the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, the Art School, and the Driscoll Villa. Executive Director and CEO Louis Grachos, together with chef and restaurateur Sarah McIntosh, are pleased to announce that McIntosh will launch a new concept—épicerie at The Contemporary—as a key part of this transformation.

Situated right at the entrance to the iconic property, épicerie at The Contemporary will feature fresh fare suited for eating on site or taking to-go. Signature épicerie favorites, like the porchetta and pastrami sandwiches, the salmon and kale salad, and the restaurant’s broad selection of fine cheeses and charcuterie, will be on hand. A variety of new soups, salads, and sandwiches will be available, including baked goods, a coffee program, and wine and beer. Additionally, épicerie’s new grocery line, consisting of packaged coffee, jams, chutneys, pickles, fermented goods, spice blends, and cookie mixes, will be available. Picnic packages, consisting of all of the above, will be available in limited-edition Laguna Gloria picnic bags. Along with McIntosh, épicerie at The Contemporary will be helmed by General Manager Chloe Kennedy and Chef de Cuisine Keith Abate.

Guests will be invited to order at a walk-up window and may then enjoy their meal, snack, or drink within one of two gracious, shaded terraces, or find a picnic spot throughout the wooded sculpture park. The new café will be housed in a compact, modern steel and glass structure currently under construction. This building, together with the new visitor center and museum shop, pergolas, and renovated restroom facilities, was designed by Trahan Architects of New Orleans. Landscape architects Reed Hildebrand of Boston—who were hired in 2013 to design the full Laguna Gloria Master Plan—designed the terraces, walkways, and gardens surrounding the new entrance and café.

“In building a menu for épicerie at The Contemporary, I’ve thought a lot about the sculpture park‘s visitors and the students of the Art School at Laguna Gloria who attend classes over and over again. I was an art major in college, so this really does come full circle for me,” McIntosh said. “A light bite, a cup of coffee, or a bottle of wine split by two is the perfect accompaniment to a day strolling the sculpture park grounds. The second location of épicerie was much debated, and when this opportunity came up, we knew it made sense.”

Café hours and full menu are still in development. Read the full press release here.

The Contemporary Austin acquires Ai Weiwei’s Iron Tree Trunk for Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria

On view at the museum since 2017, the poignant, monumental sculpture—by an artist who is among the most influential artists in the world—is now part of the museum’s permanent collection, for visitors to appreciate on every visit to the museum’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park.

Acquisition of Iron Tree Trunk, 2015, is made possible through the generous contributions of more than seventy individuals and foundations in Austin and nationally.

Melba Whatley, Chairperson of the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation said, “What could be more wonderful than participating in the acquisition of Ai Weiwei’s singular work Iron Tree Trunk. We believe great art elevates us all. Through Ai Weiwei’s monumental sculpture we brush up against China, immigration, civil rights, nature and the awe-inspiring dimensions of genius. All Austinites can be proud that this community has matched the Marcus Foundation’s financial support for this most important addition to the city’s cultural landscape.”

The Contemporary also announces an extension to the loan of the artist’s Forever Bicycles, 2014, which will now remain on view through June 2019 at the Waller Delta downtown.


The annual fall fundraiser benefits arts education programs that serve more than 30,000 Central Texas kids and adults every year.

The Contemporary Austin is thrilled to announce a stronger-than-ever focus on music and a diverse lineup of local and regional restaurant collaborators for its much-anticipated fall fundraiser Camp Contemporary. Thanks to a partnership with KUTX—the Austin Music Experience—the 2018 Camp stage will feature performances by Walker Lukens, Mobley, SMiiLE and Lolita Lynne. During Camp Contemporary, chefs and their teams from Elm Restaurant Group, épicerie, Le Politique, McGuire Moorman Hospitality, and Supper will present their own camp-inspired twists on dishes to pass around the campfire for all to enjoy.

Described as “your childhood camp, all grown up,” Camp Contemporary at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria takes place October 20, 2018, with live music, artist-led workshops, campfires, paddling in the lake, camp-inspired fare, craft cocktails, and more campy fun. All of the festivities take place at Laguna Gloria—a beautiful fourteen-acre art-in-nature site on Lake Austin—and all proceeds support The Contemporary Austin’s art education programs that reach tens of thousands of Central Texas kids and adults every year.

Tickets for this immersive day of art are on sale now and are inclusive of all food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages live music, outdoor activities, and hands-on art workshops with local artists and craftspeople.

The Contemporary Austin announces Nicole Eisenman as the winner of the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize

Eisenman will receive an unrestricted cash award, along with production expenses toward a scholarly publication and a solo exhibition premiering at The Contemporary Austin, Texas, with a version of the exhibition then traveling to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York.

Louis Grachos, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director & CEO of The Contemporary Austin, is pleased to announce New York based artist Nicole Eisenman is the winner of the 2020 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize. In addition to receiving a cash award, she will present a solo exhibition premiering in February 2020 at the museum’s downtown venue, the Jones Center on Congress Avenue, with the option to extend the exhibition to the museum’s fourteen-acre sculpture park at Laguna Gloria. The exhibition is scheduled to open to the public in Austin on Thursday, February 13, 2020. A related exhibition will then travel to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, where it will open in fall 2020. In addition to the exhibition and monetary award, the prize includes a scholarly publication and development of public programming around the exhibitions.

The Contemporary Austin receives $100,000 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Prestigious grant will support a major group exhibition that will span both sites of The Contemporary Austin, opening in fall 2019.

Louis Grachos, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director & CEO of the Contemporary Austin, is pleased to announce The Contemporary Austin has received a $100,000 grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for its upcoming, fall 2019 exhibition, The Sorcerer’s Burden. This is the second Warhol Foundation grant received by the five-year-old institution. Previously, the Warhol Foundation awarded the museum a grant to support the 2015 exhibition Strange Pilgrims.

Exploring the intersection of art and anthropology, The Sorcerer’s Burden will feature new and existing work by emerging and mid-career artists from around the globe. Funding from the Warhol Foundation will support new, site-specific works designed to activate the museum’s urban and outdoor sites: the Jones Center on Congress Avenue and Laguna Gloria on the shores of Lake Austin. The grant will also help fund a scholarly catalogue published in partnership with Radius Books, Santa Fe. The Sorcerer’s Burden is curated by Heather Pesanti, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs at The Contemporary Austin.

The Contemporary Austin and The FLAG Art Foundation Announce New Art Prize

The Contemporary Austin and The FLAG Art Foundation are pleased to announce the formation of the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize.

Through additional funding provided by Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, the new Prize will transform the existing, $100,000 Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize, which is currently celebrating its inaugural exhibition, into one of the largest awards presented to an artist. The Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize will fund a $200,000 unrestricted award to an artist selected by an independent advisory committee comprising renowned curators and art historians from across the U.S. and internationally, a scholarly publication, and all production expenses for the creation of new work for a solo exhibition that will premiere at The Contemporary Austin in Texas and then be presented at The FLAG Art Foundation in New York.

Groundbreaking for Phase I of the Laguna Gloria Master Plan

We are delighted to announce that we have completed fundraising for Phase I of the Master Plan for Laguna Gloria! Featuring a range of new visitor amenities and a welcoming new entrance, Phase I of this multi-year project will transform the visitor experience at the museum's beloved art-in-nature site on the shores of Lake Austin. The project will break ground this spring, thanks to a $3 million grant from The Moody Foundation, with additional grants from the Still Water Foundation, Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, Austin Community Foundation, and The O'Shaughnessy-Rivers Family Fund, along with gifts from board Trustees Jeanne and Mickey Klein, Kathleen Irvin Loughlin and Chris Loughlin, and Jannette and Pat Keating. Please join us for the Groundbreaking Celebration for Phase I on Wednesday, March 21.

L.A. Artist Rodney McMillian Peels Back the Facade

Los Angeles Times reporter Carolina A. Miranda previews the work and ideas behind our inaugural Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize Exhibition, Rodney McMillian: Against a Civic Death, opening at the Jones Center on Congress Avenue on February 1, 2018.

Jones Center Awarded 2017 Best of Design Awards for Adaptive Reuse

Congratulations to LTL Architects, who received The Architect's Newspaper's 2017 Best of Design Award for Adaptive Reuse for the stunning renovation of the Jones Center on Congress Avenue! According to award juror Eric Bunge, Principal of nARCHITECTS, “Simultaneously serious and whimsical, the project is a beacon not only for Austin, but for adaptive reuse in general—inspiring for its inventiveness.”

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Nicole Eisenman, Procession, 2019–2020. Installation view, Nicole Eisenman: Sturm und Drang, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center on Congress Avenue, 2020. Artwork © Nicole Eisenman. Courtesy the artist; Vielmetter Los Angeles; and Anton Kern Gallery, New York. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Colin Doyle. Juan Muñoz, Last Conversation Piece, 1994–1995. Bronze. 66 1/2 x 244 3/4 x 321 1/8 inches. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2019. Collection of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Museum Purchase, 1995. Artwork © Juan Muñoz. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons. Installation view, Deborah Roberts: If they come, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, 2019. Artwork © Deborah Roberts. Image courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photo by Mark Blower. Torbjørn Rødland, Avocado, 2013. Chromogenic print. 23 5/8 x 29 7/8 inches. Artwork © Torbjørn Rødland. Image courtesy the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.