Springtime is the best time to visit the Art Museum of South Texas. The flowers are beginning to bloom, the cold weather is mostly a distant memory, and the Corpus Christi Bay is full of life. Visitors will enjoy fine art at every angle as well as the best bay views in town. Celebrating 50 years on the bay, the Art Museum of South Texas takes pride in being the only major fine arts museum within a 150-mile radius of Corpus Christi. Since the Museum’s original inception in 1936 passionate professionals have stood behind a mission to operate educational facilities and an art museum which advances the awareness, knowledge, appreciation, and enjoyment of the visual arts for residents and visitors of South Texas.
AMST offers a variety of exhibitions, educational programs, classes, public events, and more which inspire community interest in the visual arts. Museum goers can enjoy free monthly community nights such as First Friday and Third Thursday, quarterly events such as Family Day, and several exhibition openings a year that allow guests to listen and interact with artists and art professionals relative to the exhibitions.
Kicking off 2023, the Art Museum took visitors on a whimsical experience with Blow Up II: Inflatable Contemporary Art. Opposite Blow Up II visitors were asked to look closely at Karin Broker’s my small circus exhibition. The carefully crafted mayhem of Broker’s ceramic and iron pieces juxtaposed with the enormous fanciful inflatables allows visitors the experience of a thought provoking and eye-gasmic adventure.
AMST will look to provide another well-rounded experience with two exhibition openings in April. Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective and In Our Own Words: Native Impressions. Both exhibitions explore the idea of identity.
Collidoscope travels to AMST from the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture Riverside Art Museum in California. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, and now living both in San Diego and Baja California, the de la Torre brothers have navigated life on both sides of the border since they were young and have inherited their own unique vision of the Latinx experience and American culture. Their work is visually complex and infused with humorous elements exploring art, history, and material culture. Working with glass, resin, lenticular prints, and found objects, the brothers create work inspired by Mexican folk art, popular culture, religious imagery, consumer culture, and mythology. Many elements of the exhibition, including the title and curatorial framework, try to echo the creative process of the artists, serving as an allegory of their intellectual pursuits, their technical use of materials and media, and their use of wordplay and poetic riddles.
In Our Own Words features a portfolio of 26 vibrantly colored, printed portraits by living artists Daniel Heyman (b. 1963) and Lucy Ganje (b. 1949). The two collaborated to portray present-day members of several North Dakota Indian nations, including those around Standing Rock, in the news due to disputes over land rights. The entire portfolio was printed on paper made by hand from the pulp of trees grown on reservations.
Heyman and Ganje’s approach provides an important counterpoint to the work of 19th- and early 20th-century artists such as George Catlin, Frederic Remington, and Charles M. Russell, whose depictions of the lives of Native Americans are generalized and limited.
Here, the sitters’ personal oral histories, as told to the artists while posing for their portraits, bring to life the individual experiences of those who have been historically denied a voice. A former marine, two university presidents, and a grieving mother, among others, speak about recurring topics, including climate change, energy and natural resources, and the legacy of boarding schools to which elder relatives were sent as part of forced assimilation. The painful history of conflict and repression is one that these sitters, through these artists’ prints, bring to public attention, illuminating the past in a way that many historical paintings and sculptures obscure. The works are living testimonies that native culture has not vanished, but is rich, varied, personal, and very much alive.
Pack your swimsuit and your walking shoes and venture to Corpus Christi for an unforgettable time of adventure and self-discovery. The Art Museum of South Texas invites everyone to experience, explore, and enjoy an afternoon of fine art, fine food, and fine fun.