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San Antonio's McNay Art Museum Celebrates 100 Years Of African American Culture

Updated Feb. 8

A look back at African American art of the last 100 years will soon open at the McNay Art Museum’s Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions. Curator Rene Barilleaux says the reason the exhibit is so big is that it's not just one collection.

"We're opening two shows this Thursday here at the McNay, both celebrating African American artists,” he said. “One focuses on work drawn from San Antonio area collections. And the second show is drawn from the collection of the Rubell family of Miami, Florida."

IF YOU GO What: McNay Art Museum Where: 6000 N. New Braunfels Avenue When: exhibit opens 10 a.m. Thursday through May 6 Cost:  $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and military, teens are free

The exhibits feature a variety of styles, media and subject matter, from paintings to sculpture to photographs, he said.

"We're really interested in showing the breadth and depth of imagery and concept and approach and subjects that have been taken by African American artists throughout the 20th century and into this century," he said.

Most of these artists aren't household names, something Barilleaux would like to see change.

"A lot of these artists are not that well known — even today. So it's really one of the goals of this exhibition to bring the work of these individuals to the forefront," Barilleaux said.

Credit Jack Morgan
Glenn Ligon's "America" in the Rubell Family Collection.

The exhibits will focus on showcasing more artists, rather than more pieces.

“We made a conscious decision not to show a number of works by any one artist, but rather show as many artists as possible. We really wanted to show the range,” he said.

Barilleaux said there will be lectures and activities, workshops throughout the exhibit,"Something To Say: The McNay Presents 100 Years of African American Art," which opens to the public Thursday and runs through May 6.  

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org

Updated 11 a.m. with ending date of the exhibition

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii