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The McNay Art Museum opens four groundbreaking African American art exhibitions
Stanley Whitney, Untitled, 2014. Gouache on paper. Collection of the McNay Art Museum. © Stanley Whitney; Courtesy of the artist and the McNay Art Museum.


SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The McNay Art Museum announces four groundbreaking African American art exhibitions opening in Spring 2018. Something to Say: The McNay Presents 100 Years of African American Art; 30 Americans: Rubell Family Collection; and Haiti’s Revolution in Art: Jacob Lawrence’s Toussaint L’Ouverture Series open on February 8 and continue through May 6. 4 Texans: The Next Chapter opens on March 1 and continues through May 6.

Something to Say is the first major survey of modern and contemporary African American art to be presented at the McNay. The exhibition juxtaposes works from the pioneering collection of Harmon and Harriet Kelley with loans from the collections of Guillermo Nicolas and Jim Foster, John and Freda Facey, and the McNay.

“We are honored to present this extraordinary range of community-building exhibitions concurrently,” said Rich Aste, Director of the McNay. “They exemplify the Museum’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and social consciousness as well as artistic excellence.”

Drawn primarily from the Kelleys' groundbreaking collection, Something to Say presents more than 50 artworks by a range of 20th- and 21st-century artists. Featuring masterpieces by such iconic figures as Charles Alston, Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, and Charles White, the exhibition and related programs allow visitors to reflect on a range of African American experiences, and examine how artists have expressed personal, political, and racial identity over approximately 100 years.

Also included in Something to Say is Benny Andrews’ Sexism, the seventh in the McNay’s series of AT&T Lobby installations. Between 1970 and 1975, Benny Andrews created six monumental paintings as part of his Bicentennial series, in response to official United States Bicentennial plans to be carried out in 1976. The McNay presents the fourth work in the series, Sexism, 1973, wherein Andrews, inspired by his involvement with feminist groups and activists, explores similar oppressions of women. The work is humorous, surreal, provocative, and complex in its contemplation of the distribution of power among genders.

Something to Say is organized by René Paul Barilleaux, the McNay’s Head of Curatorial Affairs. Serving as curatorial advisor is Lowery Stokes Sims, former director of the Studio Museum in Harlem. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue featuring two essays by Sims.

“We hope that this exhibition, along with 30 Americans, promotes reflection, dialogue and creativity within the larger community,” Barilleaux said. “The range of works is extraordinary and they compel us to think about history, culture, and identity in new ways.”

30 Americans presents selections from the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, showcasing works by some of the most important African American artists of the last three decades. This provocative exhibition focuses on issues of race, gender, identity, and community across generations. Iconic artists featured in this sweeping survey include Mark Bradford, Nick Cave, Robert Colescott, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.

Something to Say: The McNay Presents 100 Years of African American Art is organized by René Paul Barilleaux, Head of Curatorial Affairs, for the McNay Art Museum. 30 Americans is organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Lead funding for these exhibitions is provided by Jane Stieren Lacy; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; USAA; Guillermo Nicolas and Jim Foster; Metropolitan Methodist Hospital; Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation; and San Antonio (TX) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.

Haiti’s Revolution in Art: Jacob Lawrence’s Toussaint L’Ouverture Series is comprised of a portfolio of 15 screenprints by Jacob Lawrence on loan from Harriet and Harmon Kelley. As a young student of American history, Lawrence was frustrated by the lack of narratives addressing the African American experience and the absence of black heroes in history books. He discovered many black heroes, including abolitionist Harriet Tubman, and was most fascinated with Toussaint L’Ouverture, the leader of the 18th century Haitian Revolution. In 1938 he painted his first image of the narrative, but soon realized that this great and complex story needed to be a series. Eventually, Lawrence would create 41 panels about Toussaint L’Ouverture and the struggle for Haitian self-governance. A gifted printmaker, he created this portfolio of 15 screenprints based on the panels.

Haiti’s Revolution in Art: Jacob Lawrence’s Toussaint L’Ouverture Series is organized by Lyle Williams, Curator of Prints and Drawings, for the McNay. Lead funding is provided by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Exhibition Endowment and the Arthur and Jane Stieren Fund for Exhibitions.

4 Texans: The Next Chapter features work by Xavier Gilmore (San Antonio), Rafael Gutierrez (San Antonio), Calvin Pressley (Philadelphia/San Antonio), and Deborah Roberts (Austin), all artists who either live in or have connections to the South Texas region. They explore themes including identity, race, and appearance in varying mediums and subject matter. This exhibition engages in the broader conversation about artmaking in and around San Antonio, especially from the perspective of young artists of color.

4 Texans is organized by Jacqueline Edwards, Assistant Curator, for the McNay. Lead funding is provided by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Exhibition Endowment and the Arthur and Jane Stieren Fund for Exhibitions.





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