Last week the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio announced the addition of three new outdoor sculptures to its permanent collections. As part of Phase I of its Landscape Master Plan, slated for a September completion, The Sole Sitter by Willie Cole, Hashtag-Orange by Alejandro Martín, and Standing Tulip by Tom Wesselmann will all be on view on the McNay’s 25-acre grounds beginning next month.
“When our community is ready to reconnect with the beauty, hope, and inspiration that has defined us for decades, the McNay will be waiting with an experience that is more open, welcoming, and inclusive than ever before,” says Richard Aste, McNay Director and CEO. “Our new outdoor sculptures and our expanded, more accessible campus reflect our commitment to a mission of engaging and uplifting everyone.”
The McNay closed in early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and began a phased reopening on June 24, with the sculpture grounds open from 7 AM-7 PM daily.
The Sole Sitter by Willie Cole, the McNay’s first acquisition of an outdoor sculpture by an African American artist, is inspired by the traditional masks of the Central Africa Luba people. The sculpture “combines the forms of several large high-heeled shoes to create a sitting figure reminiscent of a traditional Luba mask.” The acquisition of The Sole Sitter is made possible by a gift from the Russell Hill Rogers Funds for the Arts. For more on Cole, please go here.
Hashtag-Orange by Alejandro Martín, whose acquisition is made possible by a gift from Carolyn and Allan Paterson, is a brightly-colored orange painted metal sculpture of the pound symbol, used as a hashtag in online and social media communication. The sculpture will be placed at the North New Braunfels Avenue entrance to the McNay’s grounds.
Born in 2000, Martín is an emerging artist based in Mexico City. He began sculpting in 2017 after being exposed to the art form in high school, and his sculptures are informed by digital symbols of his generation. For more on Martín, please go here.
Standing Tulip is the first work of art in any medium by Pop artist Tom Wesselmann to be included in the McNay’s collection; the 13-feet tall aluminum sculpture has been posthumously acquired (Wesselmann died in 2004). Standing Tulip will be installed at the museum’s main entrance. Via the McNay: “Wesselmann made only one other outdoor sculpture, the 3-ton Seattle Tulip, now standing outside the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Seattle. The acquisition of Standing Tulip is made possible by a gift from Marie Halff and the G.A.C. Halff Foundation.” For more on Wesselmann, please go here.
Says René Paul Barilleaux, Head of the McNay’s Curatorial Affairs: “The acquisition of these artworks is a reflection of the McNay’s ongoing commitment to ensuring our Collection continues to champion diverse artists of all ages, races, identities, and backgrounds. Focusing on enhancing our outdoor sculpture holdings is particularly important at this time as our community yearns for safe open spaces to experience moments of beauty, healing, and reflection.”
For more on the McNay Art Museum, please visit its website here.