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If the Sky Were Orange: Art in the Time of Climate Change

Sep 10, 2023 - Feb 11, 2024

This special two-part exhibition explores the history and contemporary urgency of climate-related issues. Guest curated by journalist Jeff Goodell, who has written extensively on the topic, If the Sky Were Orange is the first exhibition at the Blanton to explore one topic across several of the museum’s temporary gallery spaces. The Contemporary Project and Film & Video Gallery feature work by ten contemporary artists addressing how climate change affects life on our planet, from how we create energy to the stability of ice sheets in Antarctica. Texts by Goodell and internationally known scientists and writers from The University of Texas at Austin and beyond interpret the artworks from the perspective of the authors’ specialized knowledge of climate change. In the museum’s Paper Vault, works selected by Goodell from the Blanton’s collection complement and contextualize the contemporary works on view. Spanning centuries, the featured artworks demonstrate that many of the issues related to climate change today are not new. For example, artists have long addressed how humans both harmonize with nature and grapple with its unpredictable and monumental forces. They have explored energy as both an economic and cultural force, as well as what has been gained and lost by technological progress. While many of these works were not created in response to climate change, Goodell interprets the selections in light of our rapidly changing world. The exhibition’s title, "If the Sky Were Orange," is inspired by a large painting in the Blanton’s collection by Aaron Morse, "Cloud World (#3)" (2014), which features jarring, hot-orange clouds floating above a massive seascape. Goodell sees the painting as a striking visual metaphor for the greenhouse gases causing rising temperatures on our planet: Were those gases a visible color, he suggests, we would be far more aware of their presence in our atmosphere and thus their consequences for the Earth. A hotter planet and the rela
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Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK Jr. Blvd.
Austin, TX 78712
Phone: 512.471.5482
Cost: Included with museum admission
Reocurrence: now through February 11, 2024