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"Ancient Beacons Long for Notice" 

When: Thursdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 23
Price: $10-$20
www.mcnayart.org/exhibitions/current/dario-robleto-ancient-beacons-long-for-notice
Deeply inspired by DJ culture and the uncharted intersections between art and science, San Antonio-born, Houston-based artist Dario Robleto creates works that encompass a vast assortment of media. While certain projects, like 2014’s American Seabed, transport seashells, butterflies, “fossilized prehistoric whale ear bones” and other elements into complex assemblages that suggest preserved slices of otherworldly ecosystems, others sample imagery — such as his triptych Survival Does Not Lie in the Heavens, which presents “stage lights taken from the album covers of live performances of now-deceased gospel, blues and jazz musicians” in constellations reminiscent of distant galaxies captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Music and recorded sound are common threads, creeping into sculptural arrangements in the form of “butterfly antennae made from stretched and pulled audiotape recordings of Bob Dylan’s ‘Desolation Row’” or bones filled with “marrow” made from melted vinyl records. Poetry and language also play a key role, evidenced by such imaginative offerings as If We Do Ever Get Any Closer at Cloning Ourselves Please Tell My Scientist-Doctor to Use Motown Records as My Connecting Parts, a large-scale, laboratory-like installation he created in San Antonio as an Artpace resident in 2000. Arguably less obvious is Robleto’s life-long fascination with SETI and The Golden Record, a 12-inch, gold-plated time capsule NASA launched into space in 1977 in an attempt to “communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials.” As difficult as it might be to visualize, these various lines of creative inquiry crisscross cohesively in the McNay’s “Ancient Beacons Long for Notice,” a compact survey comprising mixed-media collages, prints, intricate assemblages and The First Time, the Heart — a series of 50 photolithographs based on early recordings of the human heart reacting to situations ranging from an “experiment with cannabis” in 1874 to a case of hiccups in 1886.

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