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Pastel drawings by Jim Dine and Orientalist designs and illustrations on view at the McNay Art Museum
Jim Dine, Projection design for Salome (detail), 1986. Acrylic and charcoal on paper. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of the artist. © Jim Dine/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The McNay Art Museum recently opened two new art exhibitions featuring work from the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.

Jim Dine: Salome Reimagined draws from a generous gift from the artist himself, consisting of 30 pastel drawings of scenic elements and watercolor sketches for costumes design. Known for innovative productions, often designed by visual artists, the Houston Grand Opera invited Jim Dine to design Salome in 1987. A pioneer of happenings and installations in the 1960s, Dine created an unorthodox but effective staging of Richard Strauss’s opera with familiar images from the artist’s non-theatrical work.

The exhibition includes not only Dine’s designs but also invaluable documents and photographs from the Houston Grand Opera Archives. Visitors can discover how the artist’s vision was translated to the stage and imagine the impact of what critics described as a “darkly erotic” and “mesmerizing” production.

Orientalism: The Middle East Onstage includes designs and illustrations from the McNay’s theatre collection that show the appeal of Orientalism as well as rare books, some from as early as the 1500s, and lavish illustrations, which underscore Europe’s and America’s debts to the Middle East and North Africa. From the 1600s to the early 1900s “the Orient” was a phrase used in European dialogue, conjuring up a world of intoxicating perfumes and saturated colors, sensuous women and violent men. Today, there’s a more sophisticated understanding of the people and cultures of North Africa and the Middle East. However, Orientalist stereotypes from the height of European Colonialism persist on stage.

Bringing the two exhibitions together and giving historical context for Jim Dine’s designs are the editions of Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé, illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley and André Derain.

Both exhibitions are on view now through December 24, 2016.

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