As San Antonio tentatively reopens, the city's museums were among the first attractions to begin welcoming visitors. With large, lofty spaces and social distancing measures in place, a museum just might be the perfect antidote to six months of house-bound blues.
Over the past month, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the McNay Art Museum, and the Briscoe Western Art Museum have all announced opening plans — and unveiled their fall exhibition lineups. Women and artists of color make up the majority of creatives on display this fall, a welcome shift in a world that has too long ignored them. Peruse a few of the season's can't-miss exhibits below, grab that mask, and prepare for a day of social-distanced culture.
McNay Museum of Art —"Folk Pop" and "Hockney to Warhol: Contemporary Drawings from the Collection"
The McNay was one of the first museums to welcome San Antonio art lovers back when it reopened its doors June 24. It's since had a busy summer, adding three new outdoor sculptures to its permanent collection and opening two new exhibits: "Kelly O’Connor: Multifaceted Woman" and "Artists Looking at Art: Ruben Luna."
O'Connor, a University of Texas grad, makes her McNay debut with a "candy-colored collage" inspired by the It’s a Small World ride at Disneyland. The new installation is the ninth in the museum's AT&T Lobby. "Artists Looking at Art: Ruben Luna" tapped the museum's head installer Ruben Luna to showcase three of his own pieces.
On August 19, the museum opened "Folk Pop," featuring bold acrylic drawings by San Antonio-based artist Victoria Suescum. The Panama native was inspired by the paintings on the exterior walls of mom-and-pop shops in San Antonio, Mexico, and her home country. Beyond being nice to look at, Suescum believes the public art pieces actually serve a greater moral purpose.
"Truly, if we can increase appreciation, love, and understanding for vernacular art which is typically overlooked, we can work towards peace and conflict resolution in this great nation," she says in a release.
Coming soon on August 27 is "Hockney to Warhol: Contemporary Drawings from the Collection", an exhibition of watercolors and drawings pulled from the McNay’s Permanent Collection. See work by some of the biggest names of the 20th and 21st century, such as Judith Cottrell, Leonardo Drew, David Hockney, Beth van Hoesen, Yvonne Jacquette, Donald Judd, Leigh Ann Lester, Ken Little, Ed Ruscha, Robert Tiemann, Vincent Valdez, Liz Ward, and Andy Warhol.
"Folk Art" is on display now through January 10, 2021. "Hockney to Warhol" is on display August 27-January 3, 2021.
San Antonio Museum of Art — Latin American Popular Art gallery
SAMA is pulling from its own 8,000-plus Latin American art collection to create a Latin American Popular Art gallery, making its debut on September 12. The gallery's creation is notable for two reasons — it gives patrons a destination to find Latin American art within the city's namesake art museum, and it marks a shift away from using "folk" to describe art made outside of the United States, a term that can be interpreted as humble or unassuming.
"Popular Art refers to artwork that is made by and for the people. As such, any exhibition of this work must explore and reflect the complexity of experiences that yielded it, from the response to colonization, to the sacred and communal traditions passed through generations, and to creative engagement with contemporary social and political circumstances," explains Lucía Abramovich, associate curator of Latin American Art.
The new gallery will feature approximately 140 works of art, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, masks, and toys, among other objects.
The gallery is part of the museum's permanent collection.
Briscoe Western Art Museum — "VISUAL VOICES: Contemporary Chickasaw Art"
This traveling exhibition makes its SA debut when it bucks into the Briscoe on September 25. Peruse more than 50 pieces of art from 15 Native American painters, potters, sculptors, metalsmiths, and weavers. Together, the pieces create a compelling visual story of Native American life, one of the Briscoe's four "pillars" of Western art, which includes cowboys, Mexican and Spanish heritage, and wildlife.
“Having the opportunity to highlight the diversity of Western art and showcase the contemporary artists whose voices are so beautifully featured in VISUAL VOICES is an honor,” explains Michael Duchemin, Briscoe president and CEO. “Seeing the stories of the West told through the lenses of these talented artists adds depth and breadth to the stories we share at the Briscoe.”
"VISUAL VOICES: Contemporary Chickasaw Art" is on display September 25 through January 17, 2021.