Art Events Tomorrow in San Antonio

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The State of Hand Stitch, New Embroidery by Texas Artists

Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Continues through Aug. 9
UTSA Art Gallery - Main Campus One UTSA Circle, San Antonio San Antonio


"The State of Hand Stitch" is a survey of eleven women artists in Texas working with thread and needle at a time when embroidery is increasingly recognized as a medium of choice by serious artists. This exhibit displays a range of subject matter, scale, approach, and materials, demonstrating the many possibilities of contemporary stitch. (210) 458-4391

"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

Men of Steel, Women of Wonder

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Wednesdays, Thursdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 1
San Antonio Museum of Art 200 W. Jones Ave., San Antonio San Antonio

Buy Tickets$12-$20


Evidenced by the global success of recent films such as Black Panther, Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel, among many others, the world is still captivated by the concept of superheroes. While less memorable examples might fall within that formulaic realm the New York Times summed up as “mental popcorn, meant to be rapidly consumed and forgotten,” the box office numbers prove we’re still collectively content to sit and watch statuesque freaks of nature fight off evil forces — even when the takeaway is minimal. Long before the schlock of what’s been dubbed “Hollywood’s Comic Book Age,” Superman and Wonder Woman captured imaginations as defenders of humanity fighting injustices amid the backdrops of the Great Depression and WWII. Introduced in 1938 and 1941, respectively, this iconic, spandex-clad pair inspire myriad incarnations in “Men of Steel, Women of Wonder,” an exhibition organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and landing at the San Antonio Museum of Art this summer. Although it might conjure visions of comic cons and nerdy fan art, the traveling show digs deep into the cultural significance of both figures — and it isn’t an entirely kid-friendly affair. Curated by Alejo Benedetti, the collection of 70-plus paintings, photographs, videos and installations goes beyond the expected depictions of costumed heroism to explore sexuality, immigration, race, idolatry, desire and the very building blocks that made these characters possible. Spanning from the 1930s to the present day, “Men of Steel, Women of Wonder” builds an interpretive timeline in four thematic sections. Encompassing both the reverent and irreverent, the introductory section The Heroes We Know comprises photographer Siri Kaur’s amusing portraits of celebrity impersonators captured in mundane, contemporary contexts, Peter Saul’s playfully surreal painting Superman Versus the Toilet Duck and a provocative yet nostalgic installation by Jim Shaw, The Issue of My Loins, that showcases — and supersizes — Superman’s crotch. Placing the mythical stars in historical context, Origin Stories is reportedly the germinating seed for the entire exhibition. Here, real-life men of steel and women of wonder are presented in etchings of 1930s-era steel workers building the metropolis, photographs of women welding in the Willow Run bomber plant in the 1940s and Norman Rockwell’s 1943 painting of brawny machinist and feminist icon Rosie the Riveter eating a sandwich as the American flag billows in the background. Contrasting God-like power with traces of vulnerability, Glimpsing Humanity places our heroes in unexpected contexts: an alienated Superman reads the paper amid a barren landscape in Llyn Foulkes’ 1991 painting Where Did I Go Wrong and gets lit in Mike Kelley’s 1999 video Superman Recites Selections from “The Bell Jar” and Other Works by Sylvia Plath. Wonder Woman becomes a religious icon in Valetin Popov’s 2009 painting St. Wonder Woman and gets placed In Exile alongside the Virgin Mary, Aphrodite and others in Mary Beth Edelson’s mixed-media painting from 1989. Timely and provocative, the closing section Defender of the Innocent challenges stereotypes of gender and race while importantly reminding that both beloved characters are immigrants (he’s from Krypton, she’s from Themyscira, aka Paradise Island). Sarah Hill addresses the plight of a trans Wonder Woman in the 2014 video They Wonder; late San Antonio artist Mel Casas calls out the lack of diversity in the superhero realm in his painting Humanscape 70 (Comic Whitewash); Superman locks lips with Batman in Rich Simmons’ 2014 mixed-media work Between the Capes; Dulce Pinzón celebrates Mexican immigrants as working-class superheroes in staged photographs; and an installation attributed to the U.S. Department of Illegal Superheroes (ICE DISH) comes complete with a hotline where concerned citizens can report suspicious activity. As host venue, SAMA rises to the heroic occasion with an abundance of complementary programs, including talks with featured artists, weekly gallery talks, workshops, a Superhero Pajama Party (July 26) and outdoor screenings of Black Panther (June 28), Superman: The Movie (July 12), Nacho Libre (July 19), The Incredibles 2 (August 2), Batman (August 6), Wonder Woman (August 9), Birdman (August 16), Lu Over the Wall (August 23) and Superman II (August 30). (210) 978-8100

Nate Cassie and Constance Lowe: Minding the Gaps

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through July 13
Ruiz-Healy Art 201-A E. Olmos Dr., San Antonio San Antonio


Although its title might conjure the sights and sounds of crowded London Underground stations, Ruiz-Healy Art’s new exhibition “Minding the Gaps” is not an artistic exploration of railway safety. Rather than addressing the potentially life-threatening distances between subway platforms and train cars, the gaps to be mindful of here are substantially more conceptual in nature. Blurring the boundaries between figuration and abstraction, form and function, the two-person show examines domesticity, permutation and perception while pairing sculptural works by mixed-media artists Nate Cassie and Constance Lowe. A New Jersey native who earned an MFA from UTSA and has exhibited at Artpace, the McNay and Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Cassie works between drawing, painting, sculpture, video and digital media. While his previous bodies of work have taken shape in abstract woodblock prints named after flowers, architectural birdhouses and etchings of spindly Texas trees, Cassie’s recent output falls within the realm of functional ceramics. While not immediately clear from their earthy finishes and organic imperfections, his almost ancient-looking jugs, cups and bottles reference hard-to-define “spaces in between” and the “gaps that distance surface from volume, skin and structure, formal and intuitive systems.” Missouri-born Lowe earned an MFA from Western Michigan University, has shown at the Southwest School of Art and the Phoenix Art Museum and, like Cassie, is an alum of Artpace’s International Artist-in-Residence program. Although perhaps better known for geometric abstractions that fuse elements of photography and fiber art, Lowe also pushes her work into a sculptural realm with curious objects that suggest interventions on furniture or household decor. Whether combining calfskin, vinyl, felt, wood, mirrors or hardware, her three-dimensional pieces often draw inspiration from her family’s history of Midwestern farming. As for the “gaps” in question, they reveal themselves in the context of Lowe’s interest in “the abstraction of farmland as seen from the air” — and specifically the painterly photographs of the Earth captured by NASA’s Landsat satellite. (210) 804-2219

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