Painting For Performance Spotlights The Art Of Modern Dance With Rarely Seen Work From Fine Artists

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Exhibition on View at McNay Art Museum Through December 8, 2019

San Antonio, TX (September 16, 2019)
– This Fall, McNay Art Museum spotlights the art of dance with rarely seen artworks and designs from visual artists not traditionally associated with the stage in its latest exhibition, Painting for Performance. This exhibition offers a diverse selection of artworks and theatre designs spanning half a century, created by five European and American artists: Georges Rouault, Paul Jenkins, Terry Winters, David Salle, and Jeff Koons.

“We’re really interested in exploring how traditional visual artists translate their concepts into work for a performance, and in turn, we get to experience another dimension of artists we thought we know so well,” said René Paul Barilleaux, McNay Head of Curatorial Affairs. “Some of the artists in this exhibition have only done a single project for a performance, so the creations on view are quite rare to see.”

Organized as a companion exhibition to Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage (opening October 17, 2019), Painting for Performance envelops the senses. Artworks, set pieces, and hand-painted costumes―together with photographs, video, and a musical soundscape―activate the Tobin Theatre Arts galleries at every turn, demonstrating how each artist’s unique perspective effortlessly transitions from the world of fine art to the stage.

“We are fortunate to work collaboratively with the artists and their representatives in the exhibition to help hand-select their more traditional artworks to include alongside their designs for performance, creating dynamic relationships,” said Timothy James Retzloff, Tobin Theatre Arts Fund Assistant Curator, Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. “This presentation is also the first time we’ve ever used the full wall height in these galleries, so the installation scale and design really brings that larger-than-life element of the stage to the entire exhibition.”

A digital painting activity included in the exhibition invites visitors of all ages to create their own watercolor work of art, pulling inspiration from the massive floor-to-ceiling Paul Jenkins’ canvases located just steps away.

The innovative productions in Painting for Performance also illustrate a number of overarching themes throughout. Spirituality and forgiveness paint the stage in George Balanchine’s retelling of the biblical story The Prodigal Son (1929/2016). Light and color bring characters to life in Paul Jenkins’ original dance-drama, Shaman to the Prism Seen (1987). Humor and irony mask the pain of disintegrating relationships in Karole Armitage’s Contempt (1989). And order and chaos mimic the dancers onstage in Trisha Brown’s El Trilogy (2000) and Merce Cunningham’s Loose Time (2002).

Painting for Performance
is on view through December 8, 2019. The exhibition is organized for the McNay Art Museum by René Paul Barilleaux, Head of Curatorial Affairs, and Timothy James Retzloff, Tobin Theatre Arts Fund Assistant Curator, Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. This exhibition is a program of The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.


About the McNay Art Museum

The McNay Art Museum engages a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts. Built in the 1920s by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence became the site of Texas’s first museum of modern art when it opened in 1954. Today, 200,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The 23 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds include sculptures by Robert Indiana, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., George Rickey, Joel Shapiro, and Kiki Smith. The 45,000 square-foot Jane & Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions, designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier, features three significant exhibitions annually.

For almost 65 years, the McNay has enchanted visitors with its art, architecture, and ambiance. The museum offers rich and varied exhibitions as well as rotating displays in the Main Collection Galleries from the 20,000 works in the collection; more than 45,000 adults, teachers, students, and families take advantage of a variety of education programs and innovative educational resources.