Art Events starting Apr. 10 in San Antonio

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"Transcendental Tricentennial: Love Letters to San Anto, the (he)Art of David Zamora Casas"

Mondays-Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through July 28
Institute of Texan Cultures 801 E César Chávez Blvd, San Antonio San Antonio

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Over the last four decades, self-described “artivist” David Zamora Casas has delighted, shocked and intrigued San Antonio audiences with paintings, installations, altars and performance works that essentially present the artist himself as a canvas. Fusing elements of folk and outsider art with nods to the aesthetics of Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dalí, the DIY spirit of rasquachismo, religious iconography and Latinx and LGBTQ* activism, Casas has established something many artists strive for fruitlessly: an instantly recognizable aesthetic that’s distinctly their own. Nicknamed Nuclear Meltdown and dubbed a “clown shaman” by esteemed author and MacArthur Genius Sandra Cisneros, Casas often makes cameos in his own paintings, his fire-engine red lips, devilish goatee and Dalí-esque mustache emerging from surreal tableaus populated by skulls, deities, monkeys and mermaids swimming amid swirling patterns, Mesoamerican symbols and hand-painted text reminiscent of retablos. In the words of Chicano art specialist Tomas Ybarra-Frausto, Casas’ canvases “mix word and image to visualize autobiographical and universal stories  of homoerotic love, loss and persistent social concerns including immigration, environmental plunder, gender disparity and the multiple issues facing marginalized individuals and communities.” Billed as an artistic explosion of “folk-baroque manifestations” exploring themes ranging from indigenous history to gender fluidity, Casas’ new solo show “Transcendental Tricentennial” comprises “miles of ribbon, yards of fabric, embellished prints, various on-site assemblages, oil and acrylic paintings on canvas, barbed-wire and bone sculptures, and a Día de los Muertos ofrenda which spills into our collective consciousness.” Made possible by a grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), the “mega-installation” also involves creative collaborations with the likes of accordion queen Eva Ybarra and video/film producers Laura Varela and Fadela Gacis Castro. As for its slightly unexpected landing at the Institute of Texan Cultures, Casas reminds that the exhibition evokes the ITC’s mission to be “a lesson in diversity [that] shows the uniqueness and beauty of the many cultures that came to Texas.” (210) 458-2300

Looking for Langston

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through Aug. 11

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Although his resume includes writing and directing credits for the award-winning coming-of-age drama Young Soul Rebels (1991) and the blaxploitation documentary BaadAsssss Cinema (2002), British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien is arguably better known for conceptual films presented on multiple screens simultaneously. Seemingly dissected and left for viewers to reassemble with their own eyes, these immersive projects have involved journeys to remote ice caves in Iceland, juxtapositions of Arctic and African landscapes, travels through China and curious collaborations with the likes of Tilda Swinton and James Franco. A co-founder of the Sankofa Film and Video Collective (an organization “dedicated to developing an independent black film culture in the areas of production, exhibition and audience”), Julien made one of his earliest waves with Looking for Langston — a 1989 film billed as “a lyrical exploration — and recreation — of the private world of poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and columnist Langston Hughes (1902-1967) and his fellow black artists and writers who formed the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s.” In essence a non-linear homage that presents Hughes as a metaphor for the black gay experience, the film has earned cult status and is taught extensively in universities as part of African-American and queer studies programs. Appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2017, Julien was a favorite of late local artist and philanthropist Linda Pace, who acquired more than 50 of his works during her lifetime. In celebration of Looking for Langston’s 30th anniversary, the Linda Pace Foundation’s gallery Studio at Ruby City showcases the 45-minute film as the anchor of a new exhibition of two recently acquired photographs Julien shot during production — Film-Noir Angels and Masquerade No. 3.

Kanpai Masters- Taste of Japan

Every other Wednesday, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Sushi Zushi (IH 10) 9867 Ih 10 W, San Antonio San Antonio

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All guests welcome, whether you are a native Japanese speaker or you want to learn the language for the first time or other things Japanese, this is the club for you. (210) 901-9322

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