Art Events starting Jun. 8 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

Daniel Rios Rodriguez & Raul Gonzalez

Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through Aug. 18
Artpace 445 N. Main Ave., San Antonio San Antonio


With a powerful trio of exhibitions already on view, Artpace gives us two more reasons to visit this spring with the unveiling of new projects by San Antonio-based artists Daniel Rios Rodriguez and Raul Gonzalez. Although Rodriguez and Gonzalez explore wildly different topics and themes, their bright and bold bodies of work find common ground in playful energy, DIY aesthetics and transformations of commonplace materials. A Houston transplant who earned an MFA from UTSA along with grants from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Surdna Foundation and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), Gonzalez has long been fixated on the concept of work in many forms — construction, manual labor and his dual roles as a “werking artist” and undeniably cool stay-at-home dad. He’s captured the everyday joys of fatherhood in figurative drawings, celebrated his love for Whataburger and the Houston Astros in paintings and installations, enhanced his exhibitions with energetic, movement-based performances and even danced for 4.3 miles — continuously from downtown to the McNay. With a title lifted from a song by bygone Texas hip-hop duo UGK, his “Front and Back, and Side to Side” promises to transform Artpace’s Main Space windows with a “multi-dimensional mural” rendered in cardboard and colored duct tape. (Cue the selfies). A native of Killeen who earned his MFA from Yale and has exhibited in New York, Chicago, Marfa, Ireland and beyond, Rodriguez takes a tactile approach to small-scale “semi-figurative” paintings inspired by personal experiences and the natural world. Frequently using oddly shaped, homemade panels, he paints scenes and patterns in thick, textural layers, adding organic-looking embellishments such as stones, shells and feathers, and finishing the pieces with earthy frames rendered in found bits of wood, rope, wire and hardware accents. Bringing to mind everything from cave drawings and tribal symbology to folk and outsider art, Rodriguez’s work comes to light in “Bruisers,” his first ever solo show in Texas. Nodding to the battle scars we collect while navigating life on Earth, Rodriguez says the exhibition title also speaks to the surfaces of his paintings, many of which “undergo a lot of heavy hitting and burning and throwing across the floor.” During the opening reception, both artists will give short talks about their work and Artpace will also be rolling out a new Third Thursdays series that kicks off with a rooftop screening of shorts curated by the San Antonio Film Festival ($5-$10, 8pm Thu, May 16). (210) 212-4900

"Bruce Lee Shoes"

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Continues through July 20
Cinnabar Art Gallery 1420 South Alamo, #147, San Antonio San Antonio


Cinnabar’s latest exhibition showcases the work of Emanuel De Sousa, a Portugese-born, London-based artist who puts a poppy spin on portraiture. In addition to nods to iconic martial artist Bruce Lee and his yellow jumpsuits, De Sousa’s latest series of paintings features porcelain dogs, mylar balloons and other objects plucked from “tiny closed universes where absurd, nonsensical realities make sense.” (210) 557-6073 (FAX); (210)

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.

Blue Star Contemporary presents work by Berlin Residency Artists in Exhibition Titled Fünf

Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Thursdays, Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 8
Blue Star Contemporary 116 Blue Star, San Antonio San Antonio


San Antonio’s first and longest running contemporary art non-profit, Blue Star Contemporary (located in the heart of the Blue Star Arts Complex), presents Fünf, on view June 7–September 8, 2019. This exhibition highlights the fifth year of Blue Star Contemporary’s Berlin Residency program and will feature artworks from 2017-2018 artists Amada Miller, Andrei Renteria, Ethel Shipton, and Jared Theis. The artists featured in Fünf present works they developed while in residence at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien and upon their return to San Antonio. Fünf brings together these artists to highlight the diversity of practices in the San Antonio art community and the impact of this life changing residency. The exhibition opens with a free reception on Friday, June 7. (210) 227-6960

Second Saturday Art and Wine

Second Saturday of every month, 4-8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 14
Texas Treasures Fine Art 605 S. Main St., Boerne San Antonio


Join us for free wine, food and art walk every second Saturday. See the new Texas Treasures Art and Artisans Gallery for works by up-and-coming artists as well as pottery, jewelry, furniture, etc. Most artists take commissions for that unique piece of artwork that only you could imagine... (830) 816-5331

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