Texas Biennial brings more than 50 artists to snappy Houston art fest

A collection of Texas art and artists are taking over five museums across the Lone Star State — including four just down the road in San Antonio — as part of a massive curated exhibition of contemporary art in Texas.

The 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape, A Possible Horizon, the seventh iteration of the geographically led statewide art survey, will feature 51 participating artists through exhibitions, programming, and works of public art in San Antonio and Houston from September 1 through January 31, 2022. This marks the first time the event, a project of Austin-based arts nonprofit Big Medium, includes the distribution of art across five Texas galleries.

Co-organized by curators and artistic directors Ryan N. Dennis and Evan Garza, the Texas Biennial will be exhibited at the following museums:

Artspace San Antonio, August 5-December 26

McNay Art Museum, September 1-January 9, 2022

Studio at Ruby City, August 1-January 30, 2022

San Antonio Museum of Art, August 19-December 5

Additionally, the exhibit will visit Houston’s FotoFest September 2-November 13.

While the Texas Biennial emphasizes artists living and working in Texas, this year, the curators will also include “Texpats,” artists who are Texas natives and those with deep Texas connections who may live elsewhere, as well as international artists who highlight Texas and its history in their work.

“Intentionally broad in its scope and organized throughout the pandemic, 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,” Garza says, noting he and Dennis selected from more than 850 artists over the course of the past 18 months in a Herculean effort made all the more challenging by the pandemic. “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.”

Featured artists range from emerging artists and collectives to established artists whose work covers an array of genres, from sculpture, film, and experimental video, to photo-based media, installations, sound, painting, printmaking, music and performance, social practice, and public art.

While the impressive list of participating artists is too lengthy to include here (there are 51 of them, after all), the full list can be found on the Big Medium website, and certainly includes some names art lovers will be familiar with. Additionally, more info about the artists and participating museum partners is available through the 2021 Texas Biennial app.

“We’re very excited to be participating in the 2021 Texas Biennial,” says Emily Sano, SAMA’s co-interim director. “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.”

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