How does someone build an art collection? For John A. Robertson (1943–2017), a renowned bioethics scholar and distinguished professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, the process was both dynamic and highly personal. Robertson’s wide-ranging collection of modern and contemporary works on paper, nurtured by his own passion for art, his friendship with esteemed UT art historian Richard Shiff, and a longstanding relationship with the Blanton, grew to include works by international, Texan, and UT-affiliated artists.

This exhibition celebrates Robertson’s generosity and legacy with a selection of prints, drawings, collages, and photographs from the nearly ninety works of art he donated to the Blanton. With pieces by Michael Ray Charles, Sue Coe, Philip Guston, Dorothy Hood, Terry Winters, Glenn Ligon, Peter Saul, and Richard Serra—many of which will be on view for the first time—Off the Walls presents a unique slice through recent decades of art on paper.

The exhibition will also feature UT Professor Emeritus Bill Lundberg’s pioneering film installation Swimmer (1975), which Robertson helped the Blanton acquire in 2008.


Organized by Genevra Higginson, Curatorial Assistant, Prints and Drawings, Blanton Museum of Art; and Claire Howard, Assistant Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, Blanton Museum of Art.


Generous funding is provided by the Bequest of John A. Robertson.

Philip Guston, Pile Up (detail), 1980, lithograph, 19 x 29 in., Blanton Museum of Art, Bequest of John A. Robertson, 2018 © The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy Hauser & Wirth