Texas Arts Organizations Announce Recent Acquisitions

by Jessica Fuentes June 21, 2023

So far this year, a handful of museums and galleries across Texas have announced new acquisitions. From purchases to gifts, art collections in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and beyond are growing.

Earlier this year, Ruby City in San Antonio announced the acquisition of three new works to the Linda Pace Foundation Collection. The pieces, by internationally recognized female artists, were gifted by Alice Kosmin and deepen the collection’s holdings of multimedia and installation works. The gift includes works by Jenny Holzer and Liz Larner, artists already represented in the museum’s collection, and a piece by Jennifer Bolande, which marks the artist’s first piece acquired by the foundation. 

A sculptural work by Jennifer Bolande featuring three handmade vinyl and wood speaker cabinets and color photos.

Jennifer Bolande, “Marshall Stack,” 1993, three handmade vinyl and wood speaker cabinets and color photos.

In a press release, Elyse A. Gonzales, Director of Ruby City stated, “In this moment when women’s achievements and rights are at the fore of many conversations, I am proud to add works to the Linda Pace Foundation/Ruby City Collection by these accomplished artists who challenge our ideas about art and society. We are incredibly grateful to Alice Kosmin for gifting these terrific sculptures. Having broken barriers herself, as one of the first female financial executives in New York City, it is no wonder she and her husband assembled such a progressive (and visually rich) collection featuring many female artists. This progressive spirit matches that of our late founder Linda Pace and therefore these gifts resonate with our Collection and vision.”

An electronic LED sign with the word "Madness" written in all capital letters. Artwork by Jenny Holzer.

Jenny Holzer, “Survival Series,” c. 1985, electronic LED sign, green diodes, Ed. 3/4

More recently, Ruby City announced the acquisition of an 8-minute animated piece by Tala Madani, titled Shit Mom Animation 1. Created in 2021, the work combines painting and stop motion animation to explore gender stereotypes, power dynamics, political critique, and violence related to power imbalances. The film consists of thousands of hand-painted scenes that were photographed and digitally combined. 

Last month, Ruiz-Healy Art, a gallery focused on Latinx, Latin American, and Texas contemporary art with locations in New York and San Antonio, announced that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has acquired three works by San Antonio-based Chicano artist César A. Martínez. The three paintings, from Mr. Martinez’s Serape series were a part of an acquisition from The Edward John Noble Foundation. The series, which began in the late 1960s, presents traditional Mexican embroidery through the lens of modern art, specifically the Color Field movement that emerged during the 1940s and 1950s.

A photograph of a painting by César A. Martínez featuring a close-up view of a colorful serape.

César A. Martínez, “Serape: 16 Mar 1980,” 1980, acrylic and graphite on paper, 22 1/4 × 30 inches. Museum of Modern Art, Museum Acquisition, The Edward John Noble Foundation.

Also in May, the Meadows Museum in Dallas announced the acquisition of three paintings: a 19th century portrait of a young child titled Portrait of Vicenta Beltrán de Lis Espinosa de los Monteros by Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz; a social realist painting, Mozos de Escuadra (Catalan Police Arresting a Romani Couple) by Carlos Vázquez Úbeda; and an abstract work reminiscent of matches in a matchbook, Yellows Contained, by José Guerrero. These acquisitions introduce new artists into the museum’s collection. 

A photograph of a large painting by Carlos Vázquez Úbeda of police arresting a Romani couple set against a distant landscape.

Carlos Vázquez Úbeda, “Mozos de escuadra (Catalan Police Arresting a Romani Couple),” 1906, oil on canvas, 78 x 94 inches. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum purchase with funds from The Meadows Foundation, MM.2022.03. Photo by Kevin Todora.

In a press release, Amanda W. Dotseth, the museum’s Linda P. and William A. Custard Director, explained, “While these artists may not be household names in the U.S., their work engages with broader international trends in which, naturally, Spanish artists were participants. The three paintings not only attest to technical and stylistic shifts, but to the movement away from elite portraiture to that of social realism and, ultimately, to the international, and presumably democratic, language of abstraction.”

A large abstract painting by José Guerrero resembling a row of matches in a matchbook.

José Guerrero, “Yellows Contained,” 1970, oil on canvas, 59 7/8 x 50 1/8 inches. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum purchase, MM.2023.02. © 2023 Artists Rights
Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid. Photo courtesy of Alcalá Subastas, Madrid.

Additionally, two etchings by Pablo Picasso were donated to the Meadows.

Earlier this week, William Campbell Gallery (WCG) and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts (SAMFA) announced that the museum has acquired a work by Fort Worth-based artist Lee Albert Hill. The painting, The Wheel of Odysseus, was exhibited at WCG this spring as part of Mr. Hill’s solo exhibition, Semiosphere. SAMFA, which is the operational headquarters for the statewide organization CASETA, the Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas Art, focuses on acquiring contemporary art and ceramics by Texas artists. Inspired by ancient ceramics in the collection of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, the piece by Mr. Hill combines the SAMFA’s curatorial interests. 

A photograph of an abstract painting on a circle canvas featuring black organic shapes on an orange background.

Lee Albert Hill, “The Wheel of Odysseus,” 2022, acrylic and mixed media on canvas-wrapped board, 60-inch diameter.

Since the beginning of the year, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has added hundreds of new objects to its collection, including works by Rashid Johnson, Michael Armitage, Kathleen Ryan, Jess T. Dugan, Gordon Parks, and Earlie Hudnall, Jr. According to the credit line on the museum’s website, the ten photographs by Mx. Dugan were purchased in memory of local art patrons Clinton T. Willour and Alex Reid Mitchell by their friends. 

A photograph of two men laying in a field of grass and flowers and embracing. Photograph by Jess T. Dugan.

Jess T. Dugan, “Zach and Oskar at sunset,” 2020, printed 2022, inkjet print, 15 15/16 x 19 7/8 inches.

A black and white photograph by Earlie Hudnall, Jr. of people gathered in the front yard of a house for a celebration.

Earlie Hudnall, Jr. “Fourth of July, 4th Ward, Houston, TX,” 1980, gelatin silver print, 15 7/8 x 19 3/4 inches. Gift of the artist.

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