Many visitors to Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin” have wanted this: a webcam that offers a 24/7 view of the colorful, slowly changing light in the building and artwork of the Blanton Museum.
And now that the museum is closed along with the rest of the University of Texas campus, that Kelly webcam you want is finally a reality.
The public can now live stream two views from the 2,715-square-foot structure and observe the gradually changing patterns of colored light created by the stained-glass windows.
While the webcam stream is officially presented to the public on May 31, the deceased artist’s 97th birthday, Sightlines readers can get a little foretaste here:
The cameras focus on two of the building’s three stained glass windows, Starburst and Tumbling Squares, both of which get the most sunlight at this time of year.
In fact, the webcam offers something that personal visits during the regular museum hours have never done: the ability to see the changing light in “Austin” during sunrise.
The late artist’s only free-standing building, the $ 23 million building, is called “Austin,” which is Kelly’s tradition of naming some works after places they are associated with.
Although he originally designed it as a chapel for a private California vineyard in the 1980s, the project was abandoned for decades. In early 2015, Kelly donated the building’s design concept to Blanton after bringing it to the attention of various UT alumni and donors. It was his last project before his death in December 2015.
In the two years since it opened in February 2018, more than 230,000 people have visited the building, according to Blanton.
Although plans for the webcam are still ongoing after the museum reopens, a Blanton spokeswoman said this is definitely being considered.
“With all of the virtual content we’ve created, let’s now look at how the digital will coexist with our personal offerings as we near the reopening,” said Penny Snyder, Blanton representative.
“We hope to reopen this summer and are planning and implementing protocols to keep our employees and visitors safe,” said Snyder. “We’ll make a formal announcement as we get closer to setting an actual reopening date.”