A Preview of Museum Exhibitions Opening in Central Texas this Fall

by Jessica Fuentes September 12, 2023

Last month, Water Ways at Ruby City and The Long Lives of Very Old Books at the Harry Ransom Center made Glasstire’s top picks of exhibitions to see across the state this fall. Below, learn more about those exhibitions and others coming to the Central Texas region, including shows at The Blanton Museum of Art, the McNay Art Museum, and the Briscoe Western Art Museum.

A photograph of an old book.

Bound collection of nine sermon editions by Henry Smith. Harry Ransom Center Book Collection.

On August 15, The Long Lives of Very Old Books debuted at the Harry Ransom Center. The exhibition features over 150 European books published between the mid-15th and late-17th centuries. Some important books that are a part of the exhibition include an annotated copy of Don Quixote, all three of the Center’s copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio, a Bible that traveled to New England on the Mayflower, and a geographical encyclopedia in Greek that journeyed from the press of Aldus Manutius in Venice into the Islamic world.

The Long Lives of Very Old Books will be on view at the Harry Ransom Center through December 30, 2023.

A photograph of a ceramic Mayan sculpture.

Teotihuacan-Style Censer with Ancestor and Storm God, 300-600, Maya, ceramic with post-fire pigment, 11 × 9 × 9 3/8 inches. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Camilla Chandler Frost (M.2010.115.1019a-b) photo © Museum Associates / LACMA

At the end of August, The Blanton opened its fall exhibition Forces of Nature: Ancient Maya Art from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The show, which features more than 200 objects from LACMA’s collection, traveled to three venues in China in 2018 and 2019. The Blanton is the first and only museum in the U.S. to present the show.

In a press release, Blanton Director Simone Wicha noted, “Forces of Nature is the first major exhibition at the Blanton dedicated to art of the ancient Americas in more than a decade and an incredible opportunity for many in Central Texas to see ancient Maya artworks in person for the first time. This large selection of works shows the grandeur of an ancient and resilient culture that in many ways is still alive in a large region ranging from Mexico to Honduras.”

Forces of Nature: Ancient Maya Art from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is on view at the Blanton through Sunday, January 7, 2024

This past weekend, the Blanton debuted If the Sky Were Orange: Art in the Time of Climate Change, an exhibition guest curated by Jeff Goodell, an author who has published several books and articles on climate change. The exhibition features work by ten contemporary artists along with text by Mr. Goodell and nine other authors who are experts on the subject.

Ms. Wicha stated, “Having the Blanton — an art museum in the heart of Texas — lead a conversation about climate change may surprise some people. But as a cultural leader and as part of UT, the Blanton Museum of Art is deeply committed to expanding knowledge and human understanding, a core value of the University. And the climate crisis, without a doubt, is a topic we must pay attention to and learn more about. Through the power and beauty of art, this exhibition can help foster comprehension of how we got here, where we’re headed, and what can be done.”

If the Sky Were Orange: Art in the Time of Climate Change will be on view at the Blanton through Sunday, February 11, 2024.

Additionally, this coming weekend, Unbreakable: Feminist Visions from the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection will open at the Blanton. Curated by Claudia Zapata, the museum’s Associate Curator of Latino Art, the exhibition features works by Latina and Chicana artists that were recently acquired from the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection.

Unbreakable: Feminist Visions from the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection will be on view at the Blanton through Sunday, December 3, 2023.

An artwork by Minerva Cuevas, that features a landscape painting dipped in tar.

Minerva Cuevas, “Horizon II,” 2016, oil on canvas dipped in chapopote, 21.65 x 27.95 x 1.97 inches. Artwork © Minerva Cuevas. Image courtesy kurimanzutto, Mexico City.

Later this month, The Contemporary Austin will present This Land, a group exhibition exploring how landscape reflects the social and environmental effects of colonialism and capitalism. Artists included in the exhibition are Vivian Caccuri (São Paulo, Brazil), Raven Chacon (Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation), Minerva Cuevas (Mexico City), Danielle Dean (Huntsville, Alabama), and Jamilah Sabur (St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica).

Robin K. Williams, who is the Curator at The Contemporary and organized the exhibition, said, “The artists in this exhibition approach the broad topic of ‘land,’ or landscape, as a system, through their integrated inquiries into the political, economic, and social conditions shaping our world in this era of global capitalism and demonstrating how our past, present, and future are intertwined. My hope is that the exhibition and related programs will tell a larger story about this land we inhabit, to help us all consider how political and corporate policies as well as our everyday actions affect people and the planet.”

This Land will be on view at The Contemporary Austin from September 28, 2023 – January 28, 2024.

Click these links to learn about all current and upcoming Austin-area exhibitions.

An installation image that shows a maquette of Jack Skellington, a character from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.

“Dreamland | Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” on view at the McNay Art Museum, 2023.

In mid-August, the McNay Art Museum opened Dreamland, an exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s film The Nightmare Before Christmas. The exhibition features maquettes used to create the film, which are a part of the McNay’s Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. In addition to original models of characters such as Oogie Boogie Exposed, Bone Crusher, and Jack Skellington, the museum is presenting a “hall of peculiar portraits,” within the show, which includes works by José Clemente Orozco Farías, Pablo Picasso, Julie Heffernan, Eugene Berman, Marilyn Lanfear, Willem de Kooning, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Julie Speed.

Matthew McLendon, director of the McNay explained, “The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts makes the McNay unique among art museums across the country. This monumental anniversary of the treasured film The Nightmare Before Christmas is the perfect opportunity not only to share Burton’s fascinating set and character models but also illuminate equally fascinating McNay artworks available to San Antonians throughout the year.”

Dreamland: Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” will be on view at the McNay through January 14, 2024.

An artwork by Ricky Armendariz featuring an ocean scene with sea creatures in the water, including a large whale with a bear in its stomach.

Ricky Armendariz, “How Bear Escaped Whale (remix),” 2014. Linda Pace Foundation Collection, Ruby City, San Antonio, Texas, Gift of Hare & Hound Press, © Ricky Armendariz, courtesy Ruiz-Healy Art, San Antonio, Texas.

Earlier this month, Ruby City opened its newest exhibition Water Ways, a reinstallation of its permanent collection with a focus on bodies of water and works that evoke the sense of water through movement and reflection. The exhibition features approximately 50 works of art, including newly acquired works by Mona Hatoum and Jenny Holzer.

Elyse A. Gonzales, Director of Ruby City, curated the exhibition, taking inspiration from the opening of the newest phase of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park, a linear park managed by the San Antonio River Authority that integrates Ruby City as a key anchor in its conception.

Ms. Gonzales explained, “I wanted to honor this symbiotic relationship with the River Authority, which is built on a mutual appreciation of art, our natural setting, and the history of San Pedro Creek. This prompted me to begin thinking about other area waterways, like the San Antonio River, all of which have contributed to the life and continued vitality of this place for hundreds of years. As I thought more about it, I noted how ubiquitous water is in our lives, how it shapes so much of what we do on an individual and societal level and how ideas, metaphors associated with water can just as easily be found everywhere.” 

Water Ways will be on view at Ruby City through July 28, 2024.

A black and white photograph by Anouk Masson Krantz of three cowgirls, two sitting inside a car and the third standing outside of it.

“Anouk Masson Krantz: American Cowboys” on view at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.

Later this month, the Briscoe Western Art Museum will debut Anouk Masson Krantz: American Cowboys. The exhibition features 100 photographs of contemporary cowboy culture taken during Ms. Krantz’s solo journey across the U.S. Raised in France and now based in New York, Ms. Krantz has been traveling in the U.S. West since 2004. 

Liz Jackson, President and CEO of the Briscoe Western Art Museum, remarked, “The exhibition offers a fresh and contemporary perspective of the cowboy culture, the families, men, women, children, as well as rodeo and ranching communities in the heartland of the great American West and beyond. The images share today’s West from the vantage point of an outsider, yet the intimacy and perspective share how the spirit of the West, and how these cowboys – and cowgirls – and their families truly live and work.”

Anouk Masson Krantz: American Cowboys will be on view at the Briscoe from September 29, 2023 – January 22, 2024

A painting by Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson of a young girl holding a bowl and feeding butterflies.

Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson, “Honey of Hymettus,” 1891, oil on canvas. Courtesy of the Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen PhD Foundation.

In October, the San Antonio Museum of Art will present American Made: Paintings and Sculpture from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection. The exhibition spans over 250 years of American art and includes artists such as Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, Thomas Moran, Robert Henri, Loïs Mailou Jones, Allan Crite, Elizabeth Catlett, and Grant Wood. The exhibition was organized by the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee. Regina Palm, the Marie and Hugh Halff, Jr. Curatorial Fellow for American Art at SAMA, is curating the exhibition at the museum. 

Ms. Palm noted, “The breadth of the DeMell Jacobsen Collection is a testament to the ingenuity of American artists throughout the centuries and the scope of voices that can be found within this visual narrative. American Made demonstrates and, in some cases, indeed challenges our preconceptions of who and what make up American art. This exhibition allows SAMA and our visitors the opportunity to begin a dialogue about who we are as Americans and the ways in which American art does or does not reflect who we are as a nation.”     

American Made: Paintings and Sculpture from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection will be on view at SAMA from October 14, 2023 through January 7, 2024.

Click these links to learn about all current and upcoming San Antonio-area exhibitions.

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