McNay Art Museum

A Vist to the McNay Art Museum

The McNay Art Museum is a beautiful setting for an art museum. In 1950, Marion McNay left her art collection and her 24-room home to establish the first museum of modern art in Texas. When I first visited the museum years ago, I paid more attention to the house and grounds than the artwork. The house alone is a work of art. As a child, I loved going from room to room. It was endless. Since my youth, the McNay has added additional gallery space while maintaining the primary mission of the museum – to show modern art.

Permanent collection

While special exhibitions may be the main draw for some visitors, the permanent collection at the McNay Art Museum is not to be overlooked. Spanning over 20,000 works of art, the collection features a diverse range of styles and mediums from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The permanent collection includes works from renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Edward Hopper. Each piece is carefully curated and displayed in a way that highlights its unique beauty and significance.

One of the benefits of a permanent collection is that visitors can come back time and time again and always discover something new. This is especially true at McNay, where the collection is constantly growing and changing.

Top 5 must-see exhibits at the McNay Art Museum

The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, is home to a vast collection of contemporary and modern art. With so many breathtaking exhibits, it can be hard to choose which ones to see during your visit. Here are the top 5 must-see exhibits at the McNay Art Museum that you won’t want to miss:

Immersed: Local to Global Art Sensations

One of the must-see exhibits at the McNay Art Museum is “Immersed: Local to Global Art Sensations”. This exhibit showcases contemporary art from various artists from around the globe. The theme of the exhibit is to explore how art has the power to immerse viewers in different cultures and experiences.

Walking through this exhibit, visitors will be taken on a journey through different cultures and understandings, with thought-provoking art pieces that engage the viewer’s senses and spark their imagination. The exhibit features a diverse range of mediums, including sculptures, paintings, and installations.

One standout piece in the exhibit is a large-scale installation by Erika Harrsch, called “Under the Same Sky…We Dream”. This installation features a series of hot air balloons suspended from the ceiling, each with a different image of the earth projected onto them. Visitors can walk through the installation and feel as though they are floating in the air, surrounded by images of the world.
Another captivating piece is a sculpture by Cao Fei, called “Nova”. This sculpture is a life-size replica of a spaceship, complete with intricate details and flashing lights. Visitors can step inside the spaceship and feel as though they are traveling through space.

American Dreams: Classic Cars and Postwar Paintings

One of the most exciting exhibits to see at the McNay Art Museum is “American Dreams: Classic Cars and Postwar Paintings”. This exhibit is a unique combination of classic cars and paintings that showcase the American Dream during the postwar era.

The exhibit features 10 classic cars from the 1940s and 1950s, including a 1949 Buick Super Convertible and a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. The cars are displayed alongside paintings from the same era by artists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol.

The cars and paintings in the exhibit are presented in a way that highlights the influence of the automobile on American culture and art during the postwar era. Visitors can see how the cars were not only a mode of transportation but also a symbol of freedom, individuality, and success.

Andy Warhol: Portraits

The McNay Art Museum is known for its exceptional permanent collection, but it also hosts some of the most fascinating temporary exhibitions in the country. If you’re a fan of pop art, you simply cannot miss the “Andy Warhol: Portraits” exhibit at the McNay Art Museum.

This exhibit features more than 100 portraits by Warhol, including paintings, prints, and Polaroids. The portraits showcase Warhol’s iconic style and his ability to capture the essence of his subjects through his art.

One of the highlights of the exhibit is Warhol’s portrait of actor Dennis Hopper, which features a colorful, almost psychedelic backdrop. Another standout is his portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which features a playful, almost cartoonish depiction of the monarch.

Telling Tales: Contemporary Narrative Photography

One of the most exciting exhibits at the McNay Art Museum is “Telling Tales: Contemporary Narrative Photography.” This exhibit features a collection of contemporary photographs that tell stories through their imagery. The exhibit showcases the work of some of the most prominent photographers of our time, including Cindy Sherman, Gregory Crewdson, and Philip-Lorca diCorcia.

The photographs on display in “Telling Tales” range from whimsical to serious and explore themes such as identity, memory, and history. This exhibit is a must-see for anyone who is a fan of photography and storytelling.

One standout piece in the exhibit is Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills” series, which features the artist herself in various staged scenes that reference Hollywood’s portrayal of women. Another standout work is Gregory Crewdson’s “Untitled (Ophelia),” a large-scale photograph that references the tragic Shakespearean character.

Free Family Day

In April, my kids and I went to the McNay Art Museum for their Free Family Day event titled Go Far. I highly recommend that if you are taking young kids to an art museum, you go during a family event. First of all, most family days are free. This will allow you to see how your child behaves in that particular environment. If they don’t enjoy it, then you won’t be upset if you have to leave within thirty minutes of you getting there because hey, it was free. Plus, if there is a family event, I guarantee you that there will be activities to keep your child happy.

The Go Far event started at 1:00 p.m. and ended at 4:00 p.m. There were multiple activities scattered throughout the museum. Kids could use recyclables to create heroic costumes, they could make a plastic collage using old shopping bags, could make a biodegradable planter, pet some animals, and then get a healthy snack which was provided by Whole Foods Market. There were also games for kids to play on the lawn. The games included a potato sack race, a ball and spoon race, a water balloon toss, and a hula hoop marathon. Although there were a lot of kids, it wasn’t overwhelming.

Free Admission Days

Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders can enjoy free admission on the first full weekend of every month by presenting a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and a picture ID. Recipients of SNAP, WIC, and MAP receive free admission through Museums For All, a cooperative that encourages families of all backgrounds to visit museums.

The museum is closed on four separate holidays during the year: New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July.

The museum is open free of charge from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Thursday night, courtesy of H-E-B, and on the first Sunday of each month, courtesy of the Dickson-Allen Foundation.

Final Word

We hope you enjoyed our article on the 5 must-see exhibits at the McNay Art Museum. The McNay Art Museum is a treasure trove of beautiful art, and we hope our article has inspired you to take a visit soon. From stunning modern art to ancient masterpieces, the McNay Art Museum has something for everyone. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture all of the amazing artwork you’ll see. Thank you for reading, and happy exploring!

McNay Art Museum
6000 N New Braunfels Ave, San Antonio, TX 78209
(210) 824-5368


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