In 1985, famed sculptor Charles Umlauf and his wife Angeline donated their home, Charles' studio, and many sculptures to the city of Austin. Six years later, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden was opened next to Zilker Park. Now, as part of the museum's 25th anniversary, the Umluaf is giving visitors a way to get a unique view of the late sculptor's work process.
Curator Katie Edwards hopes to one day open Charles Umlauf's actual studio to tours, but in the meantime, the museum is offering a preview of the studio, in the form of a stage-set-like reproduction. Created by designer Stephanie Busing, it's a pretty faithful reproduction of the studio in which Umlauf worked for years. "It's very, very close, but we also had to make some choices as to what to exclude from it," she says. "We chose to make it a little bit shorter and more manageable, but otherwise, the layout is very, very close to his original studio and we used his original artifacts." So when you see cans of paint thinner and WD-40 on the shelf at the museum, you're seeing the actual cans (and tools and assorted personal items) that Umlauf owned and worked with in his studio.
The exhibit also includes a wall-length timeline of Umlauf's life (which spanned a good portion of the 20th century), giving historical context to his life as an artist. There are also some interactive elements which aim to teach visitors about Umlauf's creative process; you can even try your hand at sculpting in the Umlauf style by working on a half-finished portrait of the artist himself.
There are two live events planned in conjunction with Studio in the Museum:
Q&A with Exhibition Designers Stephanie Busing & Nimer Aleck - Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – 6pm
Thomas Motley on Umlauf’s Graphic Legacy – Wednesday, September 28, 2016 – 6 pm