LIPGLOSS Goes Out: The Blanton Museum

LIPGLOSS is a weekly dating and humor blog. Check back every Thursday for anything from restaurant reviews to dating advice to eclectic lists.

I know, I know. Museums can be nightmare date material. I’m sure you’ve seen it before, either in person or in a movie: one half of the couple, usually the girl, wanders blissfully around a sparse art gallery, accompanied by the sulking, miserable significant other, usually male. The sulking figure stands dejectedly near the corner of the gallery, looking at nothing in particular, the shadow of pure death in their eyes.

It happens all too often. Even as a moderate art-liker, I’m pretty intimidated by “a day at the museum” for a date.

Which probably explains my favorite thing about the Blanton Museum of Art, a diverse museum just east of UT campus on MLK: it’s really pretty small. I love looking at art as much as the next person, probably a bit more, but it’s still so daunting walking into a huge marble foyer of a museum that we both know will take hours to walk through. The Blanton is different–I mean, yeah, there’s marble-looking materials in the foyer, but the museum space itself is surprisingly manageable.

This means that all-too-well-known movie and tv trope–the non-art lover being dragged around a giant, sterile building by their pushy art-loving significant other–is much less likely to happen here.

But even though it’s small, the Blanton houses an unusually diverse collection of art. There’s early Renaissance works and full-room mixed-media installations; Counter-Reformation altarpieces just a few steps away from abstract expressionist canvases. So if you’re really digging a certain painting, but your boyfriend/girlfriend is just not having it, not to worry–they can get hypnotized by some postmodern sculptures or spend some time in a room full of pennies.

Room. Full. Of pennies.

Which brings me to my next point: the Blanton has some delightfully weird art. I don’t mean weird in the way color field painting or existentialism is weird. I mean actually, unabashedly weird. As in baby heads coming out of clouds and 3D canvases that look like space creatures.

It’s a great museum for art haters–or, at least, art-ambivalents. I’d even recommend it if both parties hate art. They could bond over how crazy the baby heads look. It’s not crazy expensive, either–Thursdays are free–and it’s not in some snooty “arts district,” either. It’s in the middle of downtown, with plenty of relaxed restaurants and good music venues close by.

Bottom line: It’s chill, not a huge commitment of time, intellect or money, and there’s lots of weird stuff. You can feel fancy for a few hours, and it won’t make your significant other hate you! Everyone wins!