Whether your artistic palate rests in painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography or all of the above, San Antonio’s museums and art spaces are sure to showcase something up your alley this summer. From conceptual installations to broad exhibitions addressing social issues, to ancient Asian artifacts, subject matter is as diverse as the artists themselves. With several exhibitions opening during the hottest months of the year, head for one of the city’s (air-conditioned) art venues to get creatively cultivated while viewing dynamic works by local, national and international artists.
“6 Texas Artists | 8 Summer Days | 1 Cool Museum”
Since the summer of 2015, the McNay has been annually showcasing the artworks of South Texas artists in pop-up exhibitions to exemplify the museum’s mission — opening new doors through artist empowerment. Newly renovated, the Tobin Exhibition Galleries host this year’s presentation of a dynamic range of pieces provided by five San Antonio artists, and one Austin-based artist, all hand-selected by René Paul Barilleaux, Head of Curatorial Affairs at the McNay. Featured artists include Jane Dunnewold and her collection of antique quilts of salvaged clothing; Ana Fernandez with fantastic landscape paintings depicting San Antonio neighborhoods; Kelly O’Conner, who uses icons and popular imagery of the ’50s and ’60s to create wistful psychedelic collages; Curt Slangal, who incorporates old family photographs, nature and spirituality with modern elements of graphic and pop art; Andy Villarreal, whose Mesoamerican-inspired paintings erupt with effervescent energy and color; and Austin’s Sally Webber creates analytical artwork tracing light, space and the path of the human eye. $15-$20, June 17- 25, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 824-5368, mcnayart.org.
Local artist and UTSA grad-turned printmaking professor Juan Mora presents his most recent exhibition “Culture Clash” — displaying a series of etched linoleum prints narrating stories of the Texas-Mexico border. Having attended high school in Laredo, Mora’s adept social awareness of the blending of border cultures became inspiration for his print work. Similar to the process of linoleum printing, cultural variances are etched and instilled in the community surrounding the border. Incorporating cultural iconography specific to the area and a dash of dark humor, Mora’s etched scenes detail the lives, faith, and values of residents on both sides of the border. $15-$20, June 8-August 13, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 824-5368, mcnayart.org.
“Heaven and Hell: Salvation and Retribution in Pure Land Buddhism”
Pure Land Buddhism is an ancient spiritual practice based on the belief in the Buddha of Western Paradise, Amitabha, who grants entrance to heaven to those who call out to him. Offering simple salvation, Pure Land Buddhism appealed to the masses, spreading through Asia like wildfire — igniting spiritual awakening and resulting in stunning relics and artworks. The San Antonio Museum of Art’s “Heaven and Hell” exhibition is a collection of 75 sculptures, paintings and other works that epitomize the lasting beliefs of Pure Land Buddhism in countries like Japan, India, China, Korea and Tibet. The majority of displayed works are rooted in the Japanese culture of Pure Land Buddhism depicting salvation through Amitabha’s journey to Earth to claim dying souls, bringing them up to his heavenly paradise. The relics illustrate the many divine beings of Pure Land Buddhism who roam the earth helping the faithful and the fallen. $5-$10, June 16-September 10, San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W. Jones Ave., (210) 978-8100, samuseum.org.
Born in London, Marcus Haydock is an internationally exhibited British artist who approaches art and imagery from a psychological perspective, analyzing the human experience and interaction through photography. In 2016 Haydock published Insurrection, a photography book narrating lived experiences with no structured theme. The body of work, which comes to light at Blue Star Contemporary this summer, is full of portraits and landscapes, breathing life into inanimate objects seen and used every day. Void of color, the photos suggest an uncomplicated subject matter, with the major concept rooted in the psychological and sensory experiences of each viewer. Rather than pinpointing a meaning in the object, importance is focused on how that object can be translated by various different people, pulling from their own unconscious world experiences. $3-$5, June 1-September 9, Blue Star Contemporary, 116 Blue Star, (210) 227-6960, bluestarart.org.
“Echo and Narcissus”
Social media is one hyperactive outlet perpetuating the influx of rapidly changing information, a constant updating of alternative facts. San Antonio artist Chris Sauter’s exhibition “Echo and Narcissus” communicates diffusion and reception of alternative information and the role of language in three-dimensional sculpture and reliefs. Inspired by thick layers of poster sediment lining the streets of Berlin during his Blue Star Residency, Sauter created 3D loudspeakers, pulling previous posters outward, resurfacing recent history. Sauter’s collection also resonates relevance to recent political attacks on news outlets by certain world leaders, claiming circulation of “fake news” and consequently blurring the lines of truth. Sauter’s loudspeaker reliefs and conceptual sculptures speak to alternative, trending modes of communication and their opposition on a national and global scale. $3-$5, June 1- September 9, Blue Star Contemporary, 116 Blue Star, (210) 227-6960, bluestarart.org.
The spread of the screen society is a modern epidemic of global proportions. With much of our social lives available to cyber facilitation, the demarcation between online and human interaction becomes increasingly obscured. “Augmented Reality” is an artistic critique of society’s rapidly growing WiFi-dependent existence, consumer culture and social propaganda. Organized by Blue Star Contemporary, the exhibition showcases six artists whose works conceptualize the values of popular culture and the filters applied to “real” life, both consciously and unconsciously. The installations of Susi Brister and Randy Bolton transcend the borders of the digital and natural world, offering an experience similar to free-roam video games, a world void of consequence. Kris Pierce utilizes innovative technology, creating digital photos and videos mocking trends mediated through social media. The photographic and video collaborations of Frank Benson and Nancy de Holl offer a first-person narrative experience in which the viewer hears the inner thoughts of the subject. Yoonmi Nam’s prints and sculptures imitate society’s most popular and polluting consumer materials, such as plastic bags and containers. “Augmented Reality” promises a mind-opening translation of popular modern values. $3-$5, June 1- September 9, Blue Star Contemporary, 116 Blue Star, (210) 227-6960, bluestarart.org.
The Southwest School of Art showcases the work of Blue Star Contemporary’s Exhibitions and Programs Manager Jack McGilvray with “The Lakehouse.” Following three generations of one family, McGilvray’s solo show is an intimate discussion of family dynamics in times of high and low waters. The exhibition comprises photographs of (and domestic objects from) a 40-year-old lakehouse used for family gatherings. Suffering from lack of rainfall, the landscape begins to wither, gatherings become sparse, and soon the bonds of family are challenged. Documenting the changing landscape and the growing distance between family members, “The Lakehouse” is a bittersweet commemoration of a pivotal moment in one family’s history, and its long-lasting natural and personal consequences. Free, July 27-August 27, Southwest School of Art, 300 Augusta St., (210) 200-8200, swschool.org.
“The Giving Distance”
Informed by “the languages of theater and magical realism,” local artist Kristy Perez unveils a visual translation of her own poems with the summer exhibition “The Giving Distance.” Pairing large-scale drawings and mixed-media installation, the semi-biographical show plays with shifts in physical size and occupation of space. Denoting themes of love, desire, and volatility, the collected works follow a narrative of personal significance by exploring her poetry, lifestyle, desires and immunity to criticism of her values in a modern world. Free, July 27- August 27, Southwest School of Art, 300 Augusta St., (210) 200-8200, swschool.org.
“Through the Veil”
Also on view this summer at the Southwest School of Art, “Through the Veil” is a series of paintings by artist Kristy Deetz. Deetz’s paintings obscure dimension by imitating the texture of wrinkled fabric, creating the illusion of complex layers. The series follows the adventures and exploits of one centralized figure — a rabbit, which is rendered in several different forms in strategic areas of each painting, adding to the dimensional illusion. Combining an arsenal of pop imagery and a dark sense of humor, Deetz’s works serve as aesthetic metaphors and puns that satirize modern society and the human experience. Free, July 27-November 12, Southwest School of Art, 300 Augusta St., (210) 200-8200, swschool.org,