Art Events Tomorrow in San Antonio

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‘Huddled Masses: Who We Are’

Mondays-Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 30
Institute of Texan Cultures 801 E César Chávez Blvd, San Antonio San Antonio


While it’s nothing new within the photographic realm, the use of handwritten signage as a conceptual prop has loaned itself to diverse projects that function as distinct signs of their own times. Shot in a London alleyway as an introduction to filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker’s 1967 Bob Dylan documentary Don’t Look Back, the pioneering music video “Subterranean Homesick Blues” shows the iconic singer slinging cue cards that mirror the song’s lyrics — until they fall slightly off-beat, complete with misspelled words such as “pawking metaws” and “sucksess.” The gimmick was later appropriated in videos for Belle and Sebastian, INXS, Steve Earle and “Weird Al” Yankovic, among others. Also created in London, Turner Prize-winning British artist Gillian Wearing’s oft-referenced series “Signs That Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say” entailed her photographing and interviewing more than 500 strangers she encountered on the street. As its title may suggest, her “Signs” project invited participants to be captured holding signs emblazoned with personal sentiments — which run the gamut from defiantly proud (“Queer + Happy”) to sobering (“I Have Been Certified as Mildly Insane!”) to dire (“I Hate This World!”). Other notable endeavors have paralleled Wearing’s format. The Portraits from Occupy Wall Street series Martin Schoeller shot for The New Yorker in 2011, for example, featured a young female protestor’s sign declaring, “Prostitution: the Only Viable Option Available After Graduation to Afford My Student Loan Debt.” Audra Miller’s touching portraits of formerly homeless individuals for the Bay Area exhibition “Everyone Deserves a Home” showed a one subject with a sign reading, “Home Is a Haven From the Insanity of the Rest of This Incomprehensible World.” Local photographer Sarah Brooke Lyons’ well-received series “1005 Faces” even utilized such recognizable personalities as Tim Duncan (“Good, Better, Best, Never Let It Rest Until Your Good Is Better And Your Better Is Your Best!”). Begun in 2016 and completed in late 2018, San Antonio photographer Ramin Samandari’s timely body of work “Huddled Masses: Who We Are” fits in this same vein but with a specific focus on ancestry and immigration. Born in Tehran, Iran, Samandari relocated to Texas at age 17 during the Iranian Revolution, settled in the Alamo City in 1988 and became a U.S. citizen in 1990. Hearkening to his complementary portrait projects “San Antonio Faces of Art” and “Faces of Artpace,” Samandari’s latest body of work took shape through open calls and First Friday photo sessions at his Magic Realism Studio in the Blue Star Arts Complex. While all 320 individuals Samandari photographed for the series were prompted to write a brief statement about their ancestry, some participants focused on broad, universal terms like “neighbor,” “human” and “earth walker.” “This project is about the very idea of America ... a nation made up of people from everywhere, coming to her shores, some escaping famine, war, oppression and some simply looking for better opportunities,” Samandari explained in his artist’s statement. Now part of the permanent collection of the Institute of Texan Cultures, “Huddled Masses: Who We Are” comes to light at a free public reception in conjunction with the monthlong celebration of Fotoseptiembre. (210) 458-2300

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

Organic Transformations

Mondays-Thursdays, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Fridays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays, 1-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 30
Moody Learning Center 1819 N. Main Ave., San Antonio Downtown


From chipping paint on an old door to the moldering remains of the Titanic on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, the planet consistently reminds us that our attempts to delineate humanity from the natural world are naïve at best. For Fotoseptiembre, San Antonio College faculty members are presenting a body of work themed on the mutability of the natural world — an examination of the way everything from tree bark to abandoned buildings morph over time via “Organic Transformations.” The exhibition features photos by Tricia Buchhorn, Rebecca Dietz, Joan Fabian, Russell Guerrero, Jo Hilton, Edmund Lo and Mark Magavern, collecting the artists’ varying perspectives on “evidence of the transformations found in nature, the human footprint and the striving of living organisms to co-exist on earth.” (210) 486-1346

‘What My Mother Told Me, What My Grandmother Refused to Say’

Through Sept. 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Semmes Gallery University of the Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway, San Antonio San Antonio


In “What My Mother Told Me, What My Grandmother Refused to Say,” University of the Incarnate Word alumna Theresa Newsome returns to her alma mater to present an “intimate, parallel conversation regarding the conception of tradition, family history and the methodical analysis of one’s genealogical identity.” The photo series includes intimate portraits, outdoor vistas, vignettes of lived-in interior spaces and old family photographs, both posed and candid. Newsome serves as “kinkeeper” for her family, both as the self-appointed family historian — “documenting oral narratives, partaking in biological research” — and as an individual seeking to attune her personal identity with the narrative of her lineage. By juxtaposing the physical archive of antiques and other objects collected over time with portraiture, she seeks to “define the complications, inconsistencies, confusion and truth regarding heritage and personal identity.” (210) 829-6000

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

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

"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

NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program Exhibition

Through Sept. 29, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Centro de Artes 101 S. Santa Rosa Ave., San Antonio San Antonio


An exhibition of visual art, film, and performance by the first round of participants in the New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program in San Antonio. Open daily 11am-6pm with an opening reception 6-9pm Thursday, June 27, Film & Performance night 6-9pm Thursday, July 11 and Artist Panel Discussion & Cataloque Release 6-9pm Wednesday, August 7. (210) 207-1435

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

XIX BIiennial Art Faculty Exhibition

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


Opening Reception: Wed, Sept 4, 5 - 7pm. Featuring: Ricky Armendariz, Ron Binks, Christie Blizard, Blair Bodden, James Broderick, Meredith Dean, Greg Elliott, Charles Field, Houston Fryer, Verena Gaudy, Ovidio Giberga, Buster Graybill, Sarah Lasley, Jayne Lawrence, Ken Little, Connie Lowe, Mark McCoin, Michele Monseau, Juan Mora, Andrei Renteria, Martín Rodriguez, Libby Rowe, Kent Rush, Humberto Saenz, Alan Serna, and Jason Willome. Gallery hours are Tues – Fri, 10am – 4pm, Sat 1- 4pm, and by appointment; Closed Sun/Mon. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. Metered parking is available in the Ximenes Ave Garage. (210) 458-4391

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