What does Texas sound like? That’s what an upcoming installation at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin will explore. The outdoor exhibit will incorporate sound sculptures, and is part of a larger revamp of the Blanton’s grounds.
The future Butler Sound Gallery, designed by sound artist Bill Fontana, will be the first dedicated space of its kind at an art museum in the United States. Fontana, and Blanton Museum Director Simone Wicha, joined Texas Standard to talk about their vision for the permanent exhibit.
“We were looking to create a space where, when visitors arrived at the museum or linger around our space, they are interacting in our outdoor spaces with works of art. And we were looking for, in particular, this one area that is next to Ellsworth Kelly’s ‘Austin.’ … For Austin, [there’s] this connection between visual art, music of this town, and to be able to now experiment and explore sound art in our community is thrilling.” – Simone Wicha
“I’m planning for recording expeditions to Austin, in that region of Texas, to really map out really amazing and interesting sounds relating to the natural environments of landscapes of Texas. … My first target of recordings is going to be the Bracken [Preserve] because I’ve got special, very high-tech recording equipment that I want to record the echolocating calls of bats.” – Bill Fontana
“I don’t like the distinction between natural sounds and [sounds] in humans. And I think all sounds obey the laws of physics, and I’m interested in the context in which we hear things. And so I’m really open to kind of exploring all the possibilities of Austin and its surroundings as a potential musical tapestry of sounds that I can work with.” – Fontana