Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage

October 17, 2019 to December 29, 2019


Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage
features more than 120 objects from the renowned Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, an unparalleled treasure-trove of scenic and costume designs amassed by Robert L.B. Tobin, the late San Antonio visionary who recognized and championed theatre arts as fine art.


Performance design has increasingly become an essential part of contemporary artists’ creative practice. Modern artists like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Natalia Gontcharova, Joan Miró, Robert Indiana, Louise Nevelson, Robert Wilson, and David Hockney collaborated with the exciting and thought-provoking writers, musicians, and dancers of their day.


In the 1970s and 80s, American painters and sculptors influenced by 1960s performance art positioned the U.S. at the global forefront of innovative theatre design. Dynamic directors and cutting-edge opera companies defined this era by inviting contemporary artists to design new and classic works. Modern masters Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, and David Hockney created Pop-inspired stage productions. More recently, Robert Wilson and Lesley Dill each merge drawing, sculpture, music, language, and movement into live performances they designed, conceived, and directed.


As museums redefine their role in the world and develop new audiences, Picasso to Hockney engages the spectrum of music, dance, and theatre lovers by exploring how fine artists designing for performance challenged conventional theatre design, and often redefined their own work in the process.


In 2020, the exhibition will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL, and then to the Dayton Art Institute.


Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage is organized for the McNay Art Museum by R. Scott Blackshire, Curator, Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts; Timothy James Retzloff, Tobin Theatre Arts Fund Assistant Curator, Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts; and Jody Blake, Former Curator, Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.


Lead funding is most generously provided by the Brown Foundation, Inc. Major funding is provided by The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund. Additional support is provided by Frost Bank Charitable Foundation, the Nathalie and Gladys Dalkowitz Charitable Trust, and the Host Committee, chaired by Alice and Sergio Viroslav.


Image: Pablo PicassoScene design for Pulcinellaca. 1920Watercolor and gouache on paperCollection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of The Tobin Endowment© Estate of Pablo Picasso/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Members Preview Reception

Wednesday, October 16, 6:30-8:30 PM

Free and for McNay Members only. Join us for a celebratory preview of Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage. Lite bites and wine provided.


Members Last Look

Sunday, December 15, 6-8 PM

Join us for a final viewing of Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage before the exhibition closes on December 29. Light refreshments, wine, and cheese provided. Enjoy opening remarks by Director Richard Aste, followed by optional docent-led tours of the exhibition.