Big Medium announces the 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape, A Possible Horizon

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Coka Treviño

SAN ANTONIO, May 7, 2021 –– Big Medium is pleased to announce the 51 participating artists and five museum partners of the 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape, A Possible Horizon, co-organized by curators and artistic directors Ryan N. Dennis and Evan Garza. For the seventh iteration of the Biennial and for the first time in its history, the project will be distributed across five Texas museums, featuring exhibitions, programs, and works of public art in San Antonio and Houston from September 1, 2021, through January 31, 2022.

In addition to artists living and working in Texas, the Biennial curators have broadened the scope of the project to include “Texpats,” i.e. Texas natives and artists with deep connections   to the Lone Star State working in any part of the world. In another first, the 2021 Texas Biennial will also feature international artists for whom Texas and its history are subject matter.

“Intentionally broad in its scope and organized throughout the pandemic,” Garza explains, “the 2021 Texas Biennial is spread across San Antonio and Houston in order to realize a diversity of practices and explore a vast landscape of disciplines, themes, and historical events relevant to both Texas and contemporary global discourse. Principal themes of the project––the mutable histories contained within objects and people, activism and issues of racial and social justice, and narratives unique to the history and land of Texas––are examined in multiple creative disciplines and across multiple sites.”

Dennis adds, “I am thrilled to be in dialogue with our artists about what has been resonating with them. It is such an unprecedented time to be making work and having a specificity around Texas and the influence of this complex state. My hope is that people explore with us, with our artists, the expansiveness of the constellation we are creating with some beautiful, brilliant minds.”

Artists featured in the 2021 Texas Biennial range from emerging artists and collectives to well-established and internationally celebrated artists working in sculpture, film and experimental video, photo-based media, installation, sound, painting, printmaking, music and performance, social practice, and public art. The curators selected artists from more than 850 considerations over the last 18 months. Both Garza and Dennis performed hundreds of studio visits––in person before the pandemic and exclusively through virtual means since March 2020. Shortly after their appointment to curate the Texas Biennial, both Dennis and Garza moved with their respective partners and families out of Texas––Dennis to Jackson, Mississippi, and Garza to Washington, D.C.––immediately followed by the coronavirus pandemic and a year in lockdown. Separated from each other, their Big Medium team in Texas, and artists across the country by thousands of miles, Dennis and Garza organized the 2021 Texas Biennial via Zoom, FaceTime, email, phone, and text with the aid of curatorial and production assistant, Rigoberto Luna, in San Antonio and the support of Coka Treviño, Shea Little, and Big Medium in Austin.

Garza and Dennis added, “Although we were faced with several limitations in the last eighteen months, connecting with artists virtually during the pandemic gave us the opportunity to get to know some folks intimately and also consider how to expand the Biennial in several ways. Our desire to partner with incredible museums in San Antonio and Houston, and the need to make decisions based on public health guidelines, led us to organize a project that is iterative in form and expansive in scale.”

2021 Texas Biennial Artists

Regina Agu
Born 1981, Houston, TX
Lives in Chicago, IL

Adrian Armstrong
Born 1990, Omaha, NE
Lives in Austin, TX

Jarrod Beck
Born 1977, Albany, NY
Lives in Terlingua, TX and Los Angeles, CA

Travis Boyer
Born 1979, Fort Worth, TX
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Ari Brielle
Born 1993, Dallas, TX
Lives in Dallas, TX

Tay Butler
Born 1980, Milwaukee, WI
Lives in Houston, TX

Gregory Michael Carter
Born 1979, Houston, TX
Lives in Houston, TX

JooYoung Choi
Born 1982, Seoul, Korea
Lives in Houston, TX

Adriana Corral
Born 1983, El Paso, TX
Lives in Houston, TX

Jamal Cyrus
Born 1973, Houston, TX
Lives in Houston, TX

Colby Deal
Born 1988, Houston, TX
Lives in Houston, TX

Melvin Edwards
Born 1937, Houston, TX
Lives in Baltimore, MD; New York, NY;
Plainfield, NJ; Accord, NY; and Dakar,

Filipinx Artists of Houston
Founded 2019, Houston, TX

Ja’Tovia Gary
Born 1984, Dallas, TX
Lives in Dallas, TX

John Gerrard
Born 1974, North Tipperary, Ireland
Lives in Dublin, Ireland

Abhidnya Ghuge
Born 1967, Mumbai, India
Lives in Tyler, TX

In Plain Sight
(Cassils and Rafa Esparza)
Born 1975, Toronto, Canada
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
Born 1981, Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Ariel René Jackson
Born 1991, Monroe, LA
Lives in Austin, TX

Tomashi Jackson
Born 1980, Houston, TX
Lives in Cambridge, MA and New York, NY

Virginia Jaramillo
Born 1939, El Paso, TX
Lives in New York, NY

Ann Johnson
Born 1967, London, England
Lives in Houston, TX

Trenton Doyle Hancock
Born 1974, Oklahoma City, OK
Lives in Houston, TX
Ryan Hawk
Born 1992, Houston, TX
Lives in Houston, TX

House of Kenzo
Founded 2015, San Antonio TX

Baseera Khan
Born 1983, Denton, TX
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Autumn Knight
Born 1980, Houston, TX
Lives in New York, NY

Annette Lawrence
Born 1965, Rockville Center, NY
Lives in Denton, TX and Bennington, VT

Rick Lowe
Born 1961, Eufaula, AL
Lives in Houston, TX

Matt Manalo
Born 1984, Manila, Philippines
Lives in Houston, TX

Lynne McCabe
Born 1975, Glasgow, Scotland
Lives in Houston, TX

Xavier McFarlin
Born 1994, Landstuhl, Germany
Lives in Marfa, TX

Donald Moffett
Born 1955, San Antonio, TX
Lives in Staten Island, NY and Barksdale, TX

Steve Parker
Born 1979, Downers Grove, IL
Lives in Austin, TX

Sondra Perry
Born 1986, Perth Amboy, NJ
Lives in Newark, NJ

Phillip Pyle II
Born 1980, Houston, TX
Lives in Houston, TX

Stephanie Concepcion Ramirez
Born 1984, Glenarden, MD
Lives in Pearland, TX

PJ Raval
Born 1974, Princeton, NJ
Lives in Austin, TX

Irene Antonia Diane Reece
Born 1993, Houston, TX
Lives in Houston, TX

Graham Reynolds
Born 1971, Frankfurt, Germany
Lives in Austin, TX

Adam Marnie & Aura Rosenberg
Born 1977, Minneapolis, MN
Lives in Houston, TX
Born 1949, New York, NY
Lives in New York, NY

Mich Stevenson
Born 1987, Houston, TX
Lives in Houston, TX

Ronald Rael & Virginia San Fratello
Born 1971, La Florida, CO
Lives in Oakland, CA
Born 1971, Savannah, GA
Lives in Oakland, CA

Xavier Schipani
Born 1984, Washington, DC
Lives in Austin, TX

Kaneem Smith
Born 1976, Buffalo, NY
Lives in Houston, TX

Paul Soileau (CHRISTEENE)
Born 1976, Lake Charles, LA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Kara Springer
Born 1980, Bridgetown, Barbados
Lives in Houston, TX and Toronto Canada

Lanecia Rouse Tinsley
Born 1978, Atlanta, GA
Lives in Houston, TX

Vincent Valdez
Born 1977, San Antonio, TX
Lives in Houston, TX and Los Angeles, CA

José Villalobos
Born 1988, El Paso, TX
Lives in San Antonio, TX

Alisha Wormsley
Born 1978, Sewickley, PA
Lives in Pittsburgh, PA

Jasmine Zelaya
Born 1983, Pasadena, TX
Lives in Houston, TX

Exhibition Partners

San Antonio:   Artpace (August 5–December 26, 2021)

McNay Art Museum (September 1, 2021–January 9, 2022)
Studio at Ruby City (August 1, 2021–January 30, 2022),
San Antonio Museum of Art (August 19–December 5, 2021)

Houston:          FotoFest (September 2–November 13, 2021)

Artpace is honored to serve as one of the venues hosting the 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape, A possible Horizon. It’s impressive to see the amazing work done by Ryan Dennis and Evan Garza and the selection of artists for this series of exhibitions that mark such an important time in Texas and beyond. We are proud to see so many old friends of Artpace on the list of selected artists and are excited to become acquainted with the work of many more.”

Riley Robinson

FotoFest is thrilled to be partnering with the Texas Biennial and its team. FotoFest’s recurring curatorial focus on Texas photographic artists dovetails perfectly with the themes and timing of the 2021 Texas Biennial. Collaboration is at the core of both organizations and generates energy that fuels artistic creation and expression. Our joint exhibition, In Place of an Index, will establish fertile ground upon which the artists and our audiences will explore the relationships between history, memory, and image.”

Steven Evans
Executive Director

“I’m delighted to have Ruby City serve as a venue for this year’s TX Biennial which promises to be a unique and innovative look at the extraordinary, smart work being made here, as well as an investigation into how the state influences artists farther afield. Indeed, this year’s TX Biennial represents how interconnected we’ve all become through online means as a result of COVID-19 but also how important Texas is in terms of being a hotbed of creativity as well as a political, social force that is increasingly shaping our larger country. I look forward to welcoming everyone to what will be a terrific and thought-provoking exhibition.”

Elyse A. Gonzales
Ruby City

“We’re very excited to be participating in the 2021 Texas Biennial. At SAMA, we believe it’s important to highlight the incredible work and diverse perspectives of artists in our region. Texas is a large state with a rich culture, and we can’t wait to show this through our presentation of the biennial.”

Emily Sano
Co-Interim Director
San Antonio Museum of Art

“The McNay is proud to champion the voices of the gifted Texas artists participating in the 2021 Texas Biennial. As the first modern art museum in Texas, we are committed to engaging our state’s diverse community through the joy and discovery of modern and contemporary art. The artists in this year’s Biennial will help us do that better.”

Richard Aste
Director and CEO
McNay Art Museum

Curatorial Collaborations

The Texas Biennial curators are pleased to partner on a curatorial collaboration at FotoFest with Max Fields, Associate Curator & Director of Publishing. Their joint exhibition, In Place of an Index, will focus on image-based artists whose works unpack memory and suggest that historical narratives are fluid and can be revisited, rewritten, and reimagined. Dennis and Garza have also invited the Fillipinx Artists of Houston collective to guest curate a project with one of our exhibition partners in San Antonio.

2021 Texas Biennial App

As a means of responding to the physical limitations of the pandemic, and as a way to connect Biennial artists with audiences anywhere, the 2021 Texas Biennial app will be an interpretive guide and include images and information for participating artists, exhibitions, programs, and exhibition partners of the 2021 Texas Biennial. The app will also include a schedule of in-person and virtual programs, interpretive materials, a Biennial venue map for visitors to San Antonio, and provide an opportunity for digital commissions.

Curators & Artistic Directors

Ryan N. Dennis is the chief curator and artistic director of the Center for Art & Public Exchange (CAPE) at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Evan Garza is a Washington, DC-based curator, writer, and a 2021–2022 Fulbright U.S. Scholar at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Ireland. The curators are each natives of Houston, Texas.

About the Texas Biennial

The Texas Biennial is a geographically-led, independent survey of contemporary art in Texas. The 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape, A Possible Horizon is the seventh iteration of the program, making the Texas Biennial the longest-running state biennial in the country. The program was founded in 2005 by Austin nonprofit Big Medium to provide an exhibition opportunity open to all artists living and working in the state. Since its inception, the Texas Biennial has brought the work of over 300 artists to new audiences, springboarding many artists’ careers and underscoring the diversity of contemporary practice in Texas.

About Big Medium

Big Medium is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting artists and building community through the arts in Austin and across Texas. We provide opportunities for artists to create, exhibit, and discuss their work and connect to an engaged and diverse audience. We strive to make art a part of everyday life.