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McNay Art Museum presents Immersed: Local to Global Art Sensations
Chris Sauter working on his installation for Immersed, titled Pleasure Principle, 2018.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- Immersed: Local to Global Art Sensations, opening at the McNay Art Museum on June 7 and continuing through September 2, transforms the Tobin Exhibition Galleries into a unique interactive environment — one that invites visitors to immerse themselves in the distinct visions of four highly original artists.

Organized in conjunction with the San Antonio Tricentennial celebrations and the 50th anniversary of HemisFair ’68, the exhibition features installations by Yayoi Kusama and Philip Worthington, a film by Andy Warhol, and a new commission by San Antonio-based artist Chris Sauter.

“Our founder, Marion Koogler McNay, was devoted to showcasing the art of her time right here in her home in San Antonio," says Richard Aste, Director of the McNay. “This summer, the McNay Art Museum very proudly upholds her commitment to both local and global contemporary art through Immersed, a special presentation of four mesmerizing art experiences designed to help us reflect upon our own increasingly accelerated and interconnected time.”

“Immersed offers a very different museum experience, one that is at the same time activated, participatory, experiential and meditative,” adds René Paul Barilleaux, the McNay’s Head of Curatorial Affairs and organizer of the exhibition. “It engages visitors not through unfolding a linear chronology or employing traditional presentation techniques, but rather by fully immersing viewers within each artist’s imagination as revealed in their artwork.”

Internationally celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009) immerses the viewer in an enclosed, mirrored, and seemingly infinite space. A constellation of lights brightens, then slowly fades in a continuous cycle. The work asks viewers to think about their place not just in local or global settings, but in the universe. The installation is, in a sense, a mirror to San Antonio as the city reflects on its 300-year history. Immersed marks the first time an installation by Kusama is presented in San Antonio and the surrounding region. Her hugely popular infinity rooms draw huge crowds of art lovers to galleries and museums around the world and inspire countless selfies.

British artist Philip Worthington’s Shadow Monsters (2004) uses technological wizardry to transform visitors into fantastical beasts. Through the use of custom computer code, digital computer augmentation, and light projection, the installation morphs shadows into lively, projected monsters with fangs, fins, and fuzzy ears. As San Antonio looks back on the past 300 years, its own myths and legends are highlighted.

Andy Warhol’s Sunset, an unfinished short film from 1967, honors the significance of HemisFair ‘68. After John and Dominique de Menil were invited to coordinate the Vatican’s pavilion for the World’s Fair, they approached Warhol, a fellow Roman Catholic, to create a new work for the space that would combine spiritual transcendence and art. However, the plans for the pavilion were never carried out, and Warhol abandoned his part of the project— a film featuring a static shot of the sun setting, with a voice reciting lines of poetry on the soundtrack. With the screening of the film at the McNay, Warhol and the de Menils’ vision is, for the first time, on view in the city of its intended premiere.

Finally, in Pleasure Principle, an installation created exclusively for Immersed, Chris Sauter explores links between biology and culture, the present and the primordial, the personal and the universal. As visitors enter the installation, they find themselves inside a furnished living room, complete with an entertainment center, a sofa, and a pair of recliners. Models of dopamine — a neurotransmitter associated with the development of belief — assembled from disks cut out of the walls and ceiling of the room are piled where people would typically sit in an actual living room. Video projections filter through the holes, creating a disorienting, almost hallucinogenic space.

Following on the heels of Chuck Ramirez: All This and Heaven Too, the first comprehensive survey of the late San Antonio-based artist’s work, the Sauter commission reinforces the Museum’s commitment to engaging with San Antonio’s arts community.

Due to the nature of the installations, reservations for the exhibition are required to allow for the best possible experience. Both Museum members and non-members must make reservations for a timed entry. A limited number of reservations are available each day. Information on ticket sales and reservations is available at

This exhibition is organized by René Paul Barilleaux, Head of Curatorial Affairs, for the McNay Art Museum. Funding to date for Immersed: Local to Global Art Sensations is most generously provided by Frost Bank Charitable Foundation and Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Director’s Circle and the Exhibition Host Committee, chaired by Anna and Todd Wulfe.

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June 7, 2018

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