What to Expect at The Contemporary Austin

What to Expect at The Contemporary Austin

Who also enjoys visiting art museums on their travels? ?? While in Austin, Christina and I visited The Contemporary Austin. I think both of us expected it to be some kind of modern art museum. Well to put it shortly, it was not that! While I was disappointed at first, our exploration of all that The Contemporary Austin offered more than made up for it.

The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center

Going in, I was expecting a modern museum like NYC’s MoMA or London’s Tate Modern. I did not expect a two-story building of only two exhibits. Nevertheless, we were there, so might as well look around! We started on the bottom floor with Monika Sosnowska’s exhibit, “Habitat.” I knew contemporary art could get weird/not easy to understand, and her work did just that. Imagine a few rooms made of unfinished dry wall surrounding sculptures of concrete & iron inside. I didn’t really like it. So we went upstairs in the hopes of seeing more:

The Contemporary Austin

The Contemporary Austin

Well I guess this was it.

And that was it.

Thankfully we learned that there’s a 2nd part to this museum – a sculpture park.

The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria

The sculpture park, located at Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, was too far to walk to from the Jones Center. It is actually very close to Mount Bonnell, so you actually visit both on a good day. It was cloudy and drizzling for us, so we skipped Mount Bonnell and only went to the sculpture park.

The Contemporary Austin Sculpture Park

The Contemporary Austin Sculpture Park
A demented Snow White and friends

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Well this place was a lot fancier than I expected! The welcome center actually looked like a European manor. Lookie:

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And here’s the view once you descend the steps behind the manor:

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Natuuuure!
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Christina under a rainbow deck-like sculpture

In the photo above, you can see the trail that leads visitors into the forest to see the rest of the sculptures.

The Contemporary Austin Sculpture Park
Into the forest we go!

I really liked how the sculptures were outside among the trees. It was refreshing to see all the greenery as well as the fall-colored leaves around me.

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The Contemporary Austin Sculpture Park

The outdoorsy-ness of this place reminded me of Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis where everything was also outside and in the forest.

Another glamor shot Christina took! She did such a good job here and at HOPE Outdoor Gallery.

Nisolo Shoes

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The Contemporary Austin Sculpture Park
“The aliens got me!” 😀

The Contemporary Austin Sculpture Park

The sculpture park was larger than expected. After exploring one side of the park, we moved on to the other.

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Wishing well!

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This side was quite charming. I can totally see it being a hotspot wedding venue in the spring and fall…

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This Miffy fountain got me all excited. Why? Because it took me back to Amsterdam’s Museumplein (Miffy’s creator is Danish) and its row of different Miffy’s.

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Tearing up along with the fountain of tears.

The sculpture park was a weird mix of classic European architecture and American art. I liked it! It’s unbelievable that this piece of greenery and water existed only 15-20 minutes outside of the city. If you live around here, lucky you!

What is your favorite sculpture park or art museum?

TL;DR

  • Where:
    • JONES CENTER
      700 CONGRESS AVENUE
    • LAGUNA GLORIA
      3809 WEST 35TH STREET
  • Cost: $5 for both places
  • Time spent: ~3 hours
  • Tip: skip the Jones Center and check out Laguna Gloria instead

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