Art Events Today in San Antonio

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Alex de Leon and Elizabeth McGrath

Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 29
Artpace 445 N. Main Ave., San Antonio San Antonio


As it prepares for what promises to be a memorable 25th anniversary in 2020, Artpace is thoughtfully looking back at its infancy — a period guided by its founder, the late artist, collector and philanthropist Linda Pace. Following in the same reflective vein as the 2018 group show “Then and Now,” which brought together works by local Artpace residency alumni Ken Little, Kathy Vargas, Constance Lowe and Ángel Rodríguez Díaz, the influential institution’s latest offerings turn back the clock to celebrate the work of two somewhat unsung artists whose connections to the organization extend back to the start of its residency program. Installed in the street-level Main Space in an arrangement that’s sure to spark the curiosity of passersby, a capsule collection of pieces created by former San Antonio resident Elizabeth McGrath is anchored by Broken, a conceptual sculpture she created during her 1996 Artpace residency. Comprised of a weathered wooden chair enveloped in crocheted silk that stretches to the ceiling like a spider’s web, it’s flanked by unrelated but equally curious sculptures — an organic-looking object pieced together from found wood and Bondo putty, and a snakelike coil fashioned from what appears to be a stuffed floral bedsheet. Behaving almost as conversation prompts for anyone who happens upon them in Artpace’s Main Avenue windows, these odd experiments with materials hard and soft may suggest alternate streams of discourse when viewers learn that McGrath long ago shifted her professional focus from art to psychotherapy. Delivering a poppier, punchier counterpoint to this blast from the past, the work of late Alamo City legend Alex de León lines walls and cases upstairs in Artpace’s Hudson Showroom. Like McGrath, de León represented San Antonio as an International Artist-in-Residence in 1996 and both participated in Artpace’s London Studio Program in 1995, but the similarities seem to end there — and this pairing of exhibitions makes no pretense of connection outside of space and time. An Edinburg native who studied printmaking at Kansas City Art Institute, de León left bold marks on San Antonio from the 1980s until his passing in 2012. Although ceramics emerged as his strong suit and his signature style got pegged as folk art, he didn’t consider himself a ceramicist or a folk artist. In true pop fashion, his work often relied on the repetition of popular imagery and landed on local T-shirts and Hollywood film sets alike. Assembled from a number of local collections, his new self-titled exhibition looks and feels like a tight retrospective for a pioneer of the San Antonio aesthetic. Beyond a playful, even cheery color palette that adorns everything from expertly rendered enamel paintings on steel to functional clay vessels and covetable shot glasses, de León’s pieces are tied together with a visual vocabulary punctuated by police cars, hearses, skulls, beer cans, cigarette packs and steaks on the grill. Although the subject matter is often immediately funny, the pieces’ titles paint a clearer picture of his sharp sense of humor: the 1995 painting Surprized Anything Gets Done As Much As He Drinks depicts a mess of tools, car parts and empty beer bottles scattered around a garage; and a classic pink convertible is parked amid a storm of cigarette butts, booze bottles, martini glasses and musical instruments in the 1997 ceramic bowl She Shoulda Tooka Cab. While it may look like the odd man out, a small cardboard house perched in a corner is taken from the body of work that inspired Artpace Executive Director Riley Robinson to revisit de León’s work in a contemporary context. Taken from his 2004-era “Welcome Home Series,” the ramshackle sculpture was built from materials de León purchased from down-and-out individuals: signs emblazoned with pleas such as “Homeless and Hungry. Please Help If You Can,” “Mother of Three Struggling From Earlier Layoff. Need Help Please” and “Homeless Vet. Please Help. God Bless You. (210) 212-4900

Ethel Shipton: Listening to Berlin

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through Oct. 26
Ruiz-Healy Art 201-A E. Olmos Dr., San Antonio San Antonio


“Listening to Berlin,” Ethel Shipton’s latest show at Ruiz-Healy Art, captures the sights and sounds of Germany’s capital city. Shipton, who was selected for Blue Star Contemporary’s three month residency at Berlin’s Künstlerhaus Bethanien in 2018, draws from her trip in a series of prints, mixed-media works and interactive sculpture. A city rich in history and culture, Berlin has much to offer the traveling artist. While there, Shipton took interest in the vast graffiti culture and street art Berlin has become known for. “I started taking pictures of the graffiti, and the graffiti took me to look at other parts of the city that were interesting to me,” Shipton said in a statement. Among the highlights in this show is a sculptural piece where gallery visitors can sit and listen to the sounds of the city. Like much of Shipton’s work, “Listening to Berlin” focuses on bringing passing, everyday objects into sharp focus during moments of contemplation. In an era filled with constant distractions, Shipton’s work gives viewers permission to truly engage their surroundings. (210) 804-2219

David Rogers' Big Bugs

Through Dec. 8, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
San Antonio Botanical Garden 555 Funston, San Antonio San Antonio


They’re big, really big. David Rogers’ Big Bugs stand as tall as 25 feet and have wingspans up to 17 feet wide, and they are coming to the San Antonio Botanical Garden. This gigantic exhibit opens Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31 – Sept. 1) and will be on display through Dec. 8. David Rogers’ Big Bugs is a nationally prominent touring exhibit. Visitors will see 10 larger-than-life insect sculptures, all made from natural materials, positioned throughout the 38 acres of the Botanical Garden. San Antonio Botanical Garden is a Texan by Nature Conservation Partner. Regular admission rates apply. (210) 536-1411

Charles White: Celebrating the Gordon Gift

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 1
Blanton Museum of Art 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Austin Austin

Buy TicketsFree


Charles White: Celebrating the Gordon Gift features drawings, color lithographs, album covers and more. Born in 1918 in Chicago, White dedicated his life and artistic practice to creating a visual archive of the Black experience in the United States. Fighting against widely circulating racist and grotesque representations of Black people, White created images of African Americans endowed with “truth, dignity, and beauty.” The Blanton’s exhibition foregrounds White’s connection to his contemporaries and his participation in larger social and political movements in his life-long career as an artist, activist and educator. The exhibition is included in the price of admission. (512) 471-5482

Joiri Minaya: Labadee

Through Dec. 8, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Blanton Museum of Art 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Austin Austin

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Joiri Minaya’s video Labadee explores the social and economic dynamics at play in Labadee, Haiti, on a private beach leased to Royal Caribbean cruise lines until 2050. Connecting the Caribbean tourism industry with the legacy of invasion and colonization, the video begins with passages from Christopher Columbus’s diary recounting his arrival in the New World that transition seamlessly into a description of a contemporary visit to Labadee. There, a wall separates the tourists from the locals; the only Haitians allowed on the beach are those employed by the resort or who pay a fee to sell goods or perform. 5124717324

Salvador Dalí's Stairway to Heaven

Tuesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. Continues through Nov. 15
UTSA Art Gallery - Main Campus One UTSA Circle, San Antonio San Antonio


"Salvador Dalí’s Stairway to Heaven,” curated by David S. Rubin, features illustrations for a 1934 edition of "Les Chants de Maldoror" - a prose-poem by Comte de Lautréamont which was first published in 1868 and later became a surrealist favorite - as well as illustrations from a 1960 edition of Dante Alighieri’s "The Divine Comedy," which was originally commissioned by the Italian government to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the poet’s birth. Metered parking is available in the Ximenes Ave Garage. (210) 458-4391

"Bygone Texas"

Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3
Musical Bridges Around the World 23705 IH-10 West, San Antonio San Antonio


The Art Gallery at Musical Bridges Around the World is pleased to announce “Bygone Texas,” an exhibition by photographers John Mattson and Karen Zimmerly. Presented in conjunction with Fotoseptiembre USA, these sometimes humorous, sometimes wistful, yet always provocative images capture the quirky, poetic remains of abandoned spaces and towns in west Texas. Working together but photographing independently, the aesthetic visions and distinct personalities of this artist couple emerge in subtle shift of interpretation, composition and emphasis. The exhibition will open with a reception on Saturday, August 31 and will remain on view by appointment during business hours through November 3. (210) 464-1534

GAGA Presents: Placing Abstraction

Through Nov. 21, 12 p.m.


Calling attention to both site-specificity and abstract works, Placing Abstraction is a starting point for creative departure. Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association is a group of 100 female artists who produce thematic exhibitions at a variety of venues. Opening Saturday October 12 from 5-7pm, with ongoing viewing at Southwest School of Art Santikos Building. (210) 200-8200

The Color of Blind

Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through Nov. 8
Carver Community Cultural Center 226 N Hackberry, San Antonio San Antonio

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The Color of Blind is an interactive touch art show. It is curated not only for the visually impaired and special needs community but for all to experience. The Color of Blind is seven years old this year due to an overwhelming response of artists that have the same desire to contribute to this cause. This year roughly about forty artists will display “touchable” art, that range in different types of mediums to experience. (210) 207-7211

Donna Simon Art Exhibit Riverwalk Reflections at King William Association

Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Continues through Oct. 31
King William Association 122 Madison St., San Antonio San Antonio


Opening of Art Exhibit - paintings by local artist Donna Simon at King William Office. Artist presentation at 7 PM. Free and open to the public of all ages. Exhibit is on view 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays through October 31. (210) 227-8786

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