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The Art Part: How SAMA is Supporting the Public Art Efforts of the Museum Reach

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The San Antonio River Foundation has commissioned eight local, national, and international artists to create 12 permanent public art installations for the Urban Segment of the Museum Reach River Walk extension.

David S. Rubin, who joined the San Antonio Museum of Art in 2006 as The Brown Foundation Curator of Contemporary Art, currently serves on the San Antonio River Foundation’s Artist Selection Committee for these art projects. “We are extremely excited about having public art projects of international significance so close to the Museum. These public works will provide many new opportunities for extending our contemporary art programming into our surrounding community,” said Rubin.

Three artists with work in the SAMA collection have been chosen by the committee to create site-specific artworks. Rolando Briseño will design three bridge railings and canopies in pedestrian areas and will relate the iconography to the history and culture of San Antonio. Stuart Allen, the artist who created the sail cloth installation on long-term loan in the Museum’s Great Hall, will create new sculptural works for two of the underpasses, and Donald Lipski, whose sculpture also now hangs in the Great Hall, will create an installation for the I-10 Underpass.

The installation that will be most directly linked with the SAMA River Landing is the Jones Street underpass, which will be designed by San Francisco artist Bill Fontana. Bill Fontana is a pioneer in using the urban environment as a living source of music, creating sound sculptures to transform awareness of architectural spaces and visual stimulation. The composer and artist has created sound sculptures in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo, as well as in New York, Seattle and San Francisco, where he resides. Fontana graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1970 from the New School for Social Research in New York City and, over the last 30 years, his work has enlivened indoor and outdoor spaces and transformed countless museums, bridges and parks.

For the installation, sequenced speakers under the bridge will emit a blend of recorded and live broadcasts gathered from multiple locations along the river, washing pedestrians and boat passengers in the subtle sounds of birds, water and urban spaces. This will be Fontana’s first permanent public work.

The Museum Reach is set to open on May 30, 2009, with a city-wide celebration.

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