Kent Ullberg Honored by Art Museum of South Texas with Naming of 'Kent Ullberg Gallery;' Gallery Naming Part of Museum's Expansion, Renovation and Grand Re-opening

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Sculptor Kent Ullberg, widely recognized as one of the world's leading wildlife sculptors, has been honored by the Art Museum of South Texas with the naming of the Kent Ullberg Gallery.

Sculptor Kent Ullberg, widely recognized as one of the world's leading wildlife sculptors, has been honored by the Art Museum of South Texas with the naming of the Kent Ullberg Gallery. The museum closed in July for major renovation, including the construction of a second building, designed by famed Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. The new building nearly doubles the size of the museum, standing alongside the original Philip Johnson-designed building and allowing more of the museum's permanent collection to be showcased.

Corpus Christi's American Bank, a major supporter of the museum, and its President, CEO and Chairman of the Board Al Jones, originally proposed the idea of naming the gallery after Ullberg. "Kent is highly respected here in Corpus Christi. He's the most outstanding artist we've had out of South Texas, bar none," said Jones, adding, "When American Bank pledged funds to the capital campaign for the museum's expansion, the museum offered to name the gallery after the bank; but we feel it's much more fitting to honor Kent for his artistic achievements. This new gallery will bring even greater awareness to his work, and to the work of many others. It's exciting to be involved."

The Ullberg Gallery will broaden the museum's focus to include western and wildlife art, and will house featured exhibits, as well as the re-installation of Ullberg's Triptych, part of the museum's permanent collection, which was recently on loan to Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi. Dr. Bill Otton, Director of the Museum, said of Ullberg, "Kent is an important part of South Texas culture. He's recognized for his dedication to wildlife issues, not only in his highly acclaimed sculptures, but also as a supporter of conservation efforts. It seemed only natural to recognize him with this gallery, which was built as part of our expansion."

The gallery is 744 square feet, and is constructed of white concrete aggregate and shell from the surrounding area. It features an impressive natural skylight, and the 24-foot ceiling holds the Blue Cascade Cohn Chandelier, created by Dale Chihuly. The chandelier, a gift to the Museum's Permanent Collection, was originally installed in February 2004.

"I'm honored and thrilled that American Bank and the museum chose to name a gallery after me," notes Ullberg. "The facility's expansion takes this world-class museum to a completely different level, and it's great to be a part of that."

Ullberg will introduce the new gallery by leading a slideshow of his latest installation at a brown bag presentation in the Museum on Tuesday, November 7 at noon. Titled "The Wild Side of Art in Bronze," the presentation is free to the public with paid admission to the museum. Participants are invited to bring a lunch and enjoy the program, which is part of a monthly series at the museum.

About the Architects

The Art Museum of South Texas was designed by internationally recognized New York architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee and completed in 1972. The striking building of cast concrete is accentuated with bronze-tinted windows that flood its galleries with natural light and offer spectacular views of the Corpus Christi Bay. The 30,000 square-foot building includes four galleries, an auditorium, a gift shop, a library, classrooms, administrative areas and two outdoor sculpture courts. After its completion, the $1.3 million facility was deeded to the city of Corpus Christi. From its opening, the gleaming white structure has served as a landmark on the Corpus Christi Bayfront and an anchor of the downtown museum district.

Ricardo Legorreta and his son Victor designed the new museum addition. The building contains characteristic elements of a Legorreta structure, including the use of light, color and creative space by the placement of walls. In addition to galleries, the new building will house classrooms, an expanded gift shop and a cafe. A quintessence of their work together, it combines Ricardo Legorreta's vocabulary and the youth and vision of Victor Legorreta. Just as Philip Johnson was one of the greatest American architects of the 20th century, Ricardo Legorreta holds a similar place in the history of modern Mexican architecture. Both architects are internationally recognized and are past winners of the Gold Medal Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

About The Art Museum of South Texas

The Art Museum of South Texas has been located at 1902 North Shoreline on the Corpus Christi Bayfront since 1972. The museum's permanent collection contains 1,100 works of art in the media of painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, collages, mixed media, ceramics and textiles. The focus is on fine art and craft of the Americas with particular interest in Texas and surrounding states, as well as Mexico. The museum is affiliated with Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi, and hosts educational programs, youth art classes and traveling exhibits throughout the year. The museum is operated by the South Texas Institute for the Arts. Membership, program, and exhibit information is available at http://www.artmuseumofsouthtexas.org, or by calling (361) 825-3500.

About Kent Ullberg

A native of Sweden, Kent Ullberg is recognized as one of the world's foremost wildlife sculptors. While he has done hundreds of works on a small scale, he is perhaps best known for the monumental works he has executed for museums and municipalities from Omaha, Nebraska to Cape Town, South Africa. His Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Omaha, Nebraska installations are the largest wildlife bronze compositions ever done, spanning several city blocks. Regardless of scale, he imbues all of his subjects with unparalleled vitality.

Ullberg is a member of a number of important art organizations that have honored him with prestigious awards. These include, in New York City, Allied Artists of America, the National Academy, the National Arts Club, the National Sculpture Society and the Society of Animal Artists. In 1990, his peers elected him a full academician to the National Academy, he first wildlife artist since John James Audubon to receive one of the greatest tributes in American art. His memberships and awards outside New York include the American Society of Marine Artists, Ambler, Pennsylvania; and the National Academy of Western Art, Oklahoma City, which awarded him the Prix de West Award in 1998, the foremost award in western art. He is a major supporter of many wildlife conservation efforts.

Ullberg's work can be found in major museums and corporate headquarters around the globe, including the National Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, Sweden; the National Gallery in Botswana, Africa; National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.; Exhibition Hall, Beijing, China; the Guildhall in London, and many more. His pieces can also be found in the private collections of world leaders and celebrities, including H.R.H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Jack Nicholson and Robert Wagner. For more information, call (970) 667-7809 or (361) 851-1600, email Ullberg @ sbcglobal.net or visit http://www.kentullberg.net.

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