Ellsworth Kelly:
Austin

Ellsworth Kelly has created an ode to color.

Last weekend, Ellsworth Kelly’s final work and only building, Austin, opened to the public. Designed in 1986, it was inspired by Byzantine and Romanesque architecture that he saw in postwar France. The design was donated to the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas in 2015, the year he died.

The 2,715-square-foot structure focuses attention on Kelly’s use of colored grids and sourced materials from different European countries. The limestone was sourced from Alicante, Spain, black marble from Belgium, and white marble from Carrera, Italy. Kelly was unable to visit the location before his death but was very involved in the selection of materials, he worked closely with the glass blower that produced 33 glass windows for the façades. One of Kelly’s “Totems” will be on display inside, an 18-foot-tall sculptural form carved from salvaged 19th century redwood. Overall the structure cost $23M to complete and is a permanent piece at Blanton, and although seemingly a religious structure, the museum insists this is not a chapel.

A number of early drawings are included in the exhibition “Form Into Spirit,” on view at the Blanton through April 29.

Images via Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin