Arts » Arts Stories & Interviews

Winter Winners: Five Ongoing Exhibitions in San Antonio to Keep On the Radar This Season


  • Isabel Martinez, VG Got her Green Card
The tallest building in the United Kingdom, a highly controversial 1972 exposition, remixed election signs and the concept of “pictorial reproduction” are among the unrelated subjects up for consideration in four new shows on view at the Southwest School of Art.

Curated by David Platzker and circulated by the New York-based nonprofit Independent Curators International (ICI), “Harald Szeeman: Documenta 5” is something of a time capsule, as it brings together publications, critical reviews and other materials associated with the fifth edition of Documenta, a massive art exhibition organized every five years in the German city of Kassel.

Under the direction of curator Harald Szeemann and officially titled “Questioning Reality — Pictorial Worlds Today,” that 100-day-long happening of 1972 questioned the confines of contemporary art, jarring viewers with provocative displays in which “‘individual mythologies’ were juxtaposed with ‘parallel visual worlds’: worlds of piety, political propaganda, trivial realism (kitsch), advertising and product aesthetics, and the ‘art of the mentally ill.’” And that’s not to mention a particularly “nightmarish depiction of racist lynch-mob justice in the United States.” As ICI recounts, Documenta 5 “was criticized in 1972 as being ‘bizarre … vulgar … sadistic’ by art critic and essayist Hilton Kramer and ‘monstrous … overtly deranged’ by art historian and art critic Barbara Rose [but] resonates today as one of the most important exhibitions in history.”

An Austin-based photographer whose work deals with outmoded technology, abandoned spaces and cultural artifacts, Adam Schreiber is perhaps best recognized on a local level as the 2010 Artpace resident who parked a DeLorean DMC-12 in the middle of his gallery/studio space, using it as a centerpiece for his International Artist-in-Residence exhibition “Diminishing Return.” Schreiber’s latest local offering is “Copywork,” a solo show “inspired by the labor of careful looking, the labor of position, and the making of reproduction as an experience of unseeing.”

A fellow Austinite and Artpace alum, Jessica Mallios spent the spring of 2014 in San Antonio producing “Sight Lines,” an exhibition that employed glass and photographs — including some taken from the Tower of the Americas — to tinker with abstraction, representation and the entire experience of viewing images. For her new series “The Shard,” Mallios took her camera to the observation platform of the Renzo Piano-designed London skyscraper The Shard and zoomed in on the building’s architectural details as part of her ongoing exploration of “optics, panoptical architecture, camera vision and human perception.” Her exhibition also revisits Berliner Fernsehturm, a 55-minute video she filmed in 2017 from the rotating Berlin Television Tower.
  • Barbara Carrasco, Dolores

An official component of DreamWeek, the group show “Signs of Life” represents a collaboration between the Southwest School’s Teen Studio Intensive and esteemed local artist (and regular Current contributor) Gary Sweeney. The project entailed students deconstructing upcycled election signs to create “ransom-style notes” delivering decidedly mixed messages. Following the show’s run, “Signs of Life” will return to the original context in which they were found: “on fences and lawns throughout San Antonio.”

‘Harald Szeeman: Documenta 5,’ ‘Copywork’ and ‘The Shard’
Free, 9am-5pm Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm Sun through April 7, Southwest School of Art, Santikos Building, 1201 Navarro St., (210) 200-8200,

‘Signs of Life’
Free, 9am-5pm Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm Sun through February 24, Southwest School of Art, Santikos Building, 1201 Navarro St., (210) 200-8200,

As readers may recall from the McNay’s 2012 exhibition “Estampas De Le Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection,” Drs. Harriett and Ricardo Romo gifted the museum an incredible portfolio of more than 60 prints by significant Latino/a artists (including San Antonio’s own Joe Lopez, Michael Menchaca, John A. Hernandez, Leticia V. Huerta, Juan Miguel Ramos, Alex Rubio, Vincent Valdez, Rolando Briseño and Celina Hinojosa).

Now seven years later, McNay prints and drawings curator Lyle Williams has revisited the Romo Collection with a sharpened eye on women artists for the group show “Estampas Chicanas.” The exhibition statement reads, “One of the great myths about such important social developments as the Chicano labor movement is that they are progressive on all fronts. However, many Chicana women, especially Chicana artists, have been excluded. This exhibition focuses solely on Chicana artists, many of whom have had to fight to make their voices heard.”
  • Judy Baca, Absolutely Chicana
A compact exhibition of 19 prints by women artists including Judy Baca, Barbara Carrasco, Melanie Cervantes, Alma López, Isabel Martinez, Maria Natividad and Patssi Valdez, “Estampas Chicanas” employs poppy aesthetics to celebrate icons such as civil rights activist and National Farmworkers Association co-founder Dolores Huerta while offering amusing cultural commentary exemplified by Martinez’s depiction of the Virgen de Guadalupe holding a green card.

‘Estampas Chicanas’
$5-$10, noon-5pm Sun, 10am-6pm Wed, 10am-9pm Thu, 10am-6pm Fri, 10am-5pm Sat through May 5, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 824-5368,

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