Tuesday, September 17, 2013

McNay Art Museum - San Antonio, TX

Frankie and I have seen some amazing museums in our travels but much to our shame, we haven't really explored the ones in our own backyard.  (Ok, not literally our backyard.  There is nothing back there but two dogs and some overgrown weeds. It is more of an embarrassment than art but then again compared to some of the "art" we have seen...)  Anyhow, we are working on seeing what there is nearby.  The first one we decided on was the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio.

I was pleasantly surprised by the mixture they had and the fact that they had some pieces by some very famous artist,  in other words, even I had heard of them.  There are over 20,000 works in the museum including Medieval, Renaissance, European, American, Latin American, and New Mexican art.  Let's visit together, shall we?

Even if you don't go in the grounds are worth seeing (as long as it is not 100+ degrees outside).  They are well maintained and the grass is green.  There are several pieces of large art outside and the grass is green.  There is even a water fountain and the grass is green.  (Sorry, we are in a drought, it is hard to not get excited about green grass!)

The very first thing we saw as we drove up was this piece.

Outdoor Head Sculpture McNay Museum San Antonio

I don't know what it was called or who it was by but who doesn't like a giant silver shiny face??  

I didn't get a good shot of the original house but it was beautiful!  I love that Spanish style adobe and just wait until you see the courtyard! Here is just a small section of the outside of the house and then a glimpse of the fountain with another photo of one of the outdoor sculptures.

Outside of McNay Museum San Antonio

Fountain McNay Museum San Antonio

Red Scultpure McNay Museum San Antonio

Should I wait and show you the courtyard later??  No. I don't think I can wait.  It was too beautiful! If I could just live in the courtyard, I think I would.  (But not in the summer!)  Without further ado, I present the courtyard of my dreams.

Stucco and Tile Roof McNay Museum San Antonio

Tile Roof of McNay Museum San Antonio

Tiled Staircase and Jesus on Cross at McNay Museum San Antonio

Fountain in Courtyard McNay Museum San Antonio

Arched Doorway in Courtyard McNay Museum San Antonio

Casa No 9 on Arched Doorway McNay Museum San Antonio

Patio at McNay Museum San Antonio

Seriously, can I please just go live in the courtyard?

I promise we did go in and viewed the art, but I was really impressed by the building!

Once in we got to walk through an exhibit on how Norman Rockwell made his paintings.  He started out with models, but since he was using neighbors and such he wanted to branch out so that all his paintings didn't have the same people in them.  In order to do this he started taking photos of his subjects and painting from that.  I wasn't able to take photos of anything in the exhibit, but man I wanted to!  It was amazing how much the paintings looked like the actual photos.  Norman Rockwell had talent!

After seeing the Norman Rockwell exhibit we explored the rest of the museum where I was free to take pictures once again!  Thank goodness, I was having withdrawals!

There were some instructional signs in different places that showed a sense of humor.  Take this one for instance.

Check Your Impulse sign McNay Museum San Antonio

So what were we checking our impulses for?

Orange Around by George Sugarman McNay Museum San Antonio

When you can get right up to the art, it is hard to not touch! I kept my hands to myself and we moved on to see this funny instructional sign.

Please do not touch (or blow) sign McNay Museum San Antonio

Ok, I understand the no touching part, but no blowing??

Standing Mobile Alexander Calder McNay Museum San Antonio

Well, now that makes sense if it is a mobile. The best instructional sign by far was this next one.

Please do not pet thesculpture McNay Museum San Antonio


Happy Snake Tom Otterness McNay Museum San Antonio

Hmmm...not something I would really want to pet, or is it??

Head of Happy Snake Tom Otterness McNay Museum San Antonio

Squeal! Yes! Yes! I want to pet it!!

Close up Happy Snake Tom Otterness McNay Museum San Antonio

How could I resist petting "Happy Snake"??? Oh, I had to work hard to follow that silly sign! If there had not been a museum person in the room, I might not have been able to control myself. I would have petted that precious happy snake!

Ok, so I can't go from silly signs and just jump into the serious art, so let's take a trip to the art that I found weird. I like weird art. It gives me something to make fun of instead of people because making fun of people isn't nice unless they deserve it...

Now then, let's start with this one.

Self-Potrait as Ornament by Julie Heffernan McNay Museum San Antonio

On its own, it is strange, but then when you learn the title is "Self-Portrait as Ornament", it just gets even stranger.

Next up.

Help from on High James Smolleck McNay Museum San Antonio

I really don't know what to tell you on this one. A bird with a human face is always to my liking. Or should it be a human face with a bird body...nope, bird with human face feels better to my brain.  Be sure to take a gander at the details.

How about this one?

Medusa by Gabrielle Dumontet McNay Museum San Antonio

Sorry for the blur. It was high on the wall and I wasn't as steady as I could have been. I tried more than once to get a picture too, but there were other people around and I felt pressure to hurry. The people were ones who worked at the museum but I get self-conscious at times. It was cool though. It lit up even!!

I said this museum had a good mix of art, including some modern art.

Position Preferred Chakaia Booker McNay Museum San Antonio

Porcupine tire? That is all I can see, but the artist called it "Position Preferred". I understand my interpretation better, so that is what I am going with.

Two more strange ones to go.

Elle Mono Series #23 Ed Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz McNay Museum San Antonio

This one caught my eye but it wasn't outstanding. Frankie looked at it and said, "That would be funny if those were real chocolate coins." I looked at the description and you know what? It was real chocolate coins! Well, that just made the piece perfect in my eyes.

Last of the weird and weirdest of the weird.

Gathering Paradise Sandy Skoglund McNay Museum San Antonio

It was behind glass which caused a glare, but you get the idea. It is called "Gathering Paradise" and if I had nightmares, this would be one of them. It is like Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds", but with squirrels!

After that, it was a good that we saw a rendition of Jesus and other saints in the Latin American section. Here are some of the highlights.

Jesus of Nazareth Jose Benito Ortega McNay Museum San Antonio

Our Lady of Guadalupe Rafael Aragon

St Anthony Abbot and the Hogg late 1400s McNay Museum San Antonio

This one gets some words. It is called "St. Anthony Abbot and the Hogg". And the hogg??

St Anthony Abbot and the Hog Close McNay Museum San Antonio

There it is! Awh!

Mary Magdalene by Master of the Parrot McNay Museum San Antonio

I really like the red velvet around this one. The painting was hundreds of years old and I am not sure if the velvet was as well, but if it was, that really caught my attention.

St Bonaventure by Alvise Vivarini McNay Museum San Antonio

This painting wasn't really special to me except for the subject. This is Saint Bonaventure. Which had no meaning to me until we went to Savannah, Georgia. In Savannah there is a cemetery with the name Bonaventure and I wondered where that came from. I didn't realize it was a person's name. I really did wonder why the cemetery was called "Good Aventure"! If you are interested in reading my post on Savannah, that can be found here.

On to the last round of paintings I would like to share and that is the famous painters. (Again, I call them famous only because I have heard of them before! There are probably many famous artist with pieces in the McNay, I am just art illiterate.) Bear in mind these may not be the artist's most famous paintings, those are reserved for the likes of museums like The Louvre, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or some other high muckety-muck museum that I can't think of right now, but they are from famous artists.

Let's start with Diego Rivera.

Delfina Flores by Diego Rivera McNay Museum San Antonio

The girl in the picture is a cutie for sure! Diego Rivera was married, divorced and remarried to Frida Kahlo, you know, the lady with the unibrow...check out this link for some of her paintings. You have to know who she is!

We saw the classic style of Pablo Picasso.

Potrait of Sylvette Pablo Picasso McNay Museum San Antonio

We saw a painting by Henri Matisse.

The Red Blouse Henri Matisse McNay Museum San Antonio

We saw a large painting by Claude Monet.

Waterlilies Claude Monet McNay Museum San Antonio

We saw a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. I literally cannot say Renoir properly. It just comes out as a mumble of r's. It hurts my throat even!

Head of a Woman Pierre-Auguste Renoir McNay Museum San Antonio

We saw a painting by Vincent Van Gogh.

Women Crossing the Fields Vincent van Gogh McNay Museum San Antonio

Hang with me here, there are only two more left. Next up, we saw a Georgia O'Keeffe painting.

Goats Head Georgia O'Keeffe McNay Museum San Antonio

That was a big jump from all the foreign painters to O'Keeffe, but I had no segway into her painting, so jump it is.

One last painting to share. I really have no idea who Georges Rouault is. I just threw him in here because if I can't pronounce Renoir then there is no way I can pronounce and Rouault and that is the only reason he makes the list. If you would like to see more of his work just click this link. I do like his style, however, and will be on the lookout for more of the man-whose-name-I-can't-even-begin-to-pronounce's paintings.

Christ and Disciple Georges Rouault McNay Museum San Antonio

Finally, I want to share the two pieces that were my absolute favorites.

String Composition # T-220 Sue Fuller McNay Museum San Antonio

This one just spoke to my math mind. I loved it!

The last one spoke to the other side of my mind (that non-math side) that does get its fair share of a workout from time to time.

Misguided Isomer Cathy Cunningham-Little McNay Museum San Antonio

I L.O.V.E.D the colors in this. It was lights and colored glass (or some type of reflector) and it was the prettiest by far to me.

Let me end this with a two close-ups of the colors.

Close up of Misguided Isomer Cathy Cunningham-Little McNay Museum San Antonio

Closer of Misguided Isomer Cathy Cunningham-Little McNay Museum San Antonio

It is the rainbow in the sky that I never get to see because it hardly rains here. I heard it use to do such things as rain, but it stopped. Maybe one day it will really start up good again. Until then, I will have to just enjoy the man-made rainbows.

My next post will be about a nice restaurant that we went to after visiting the McNay Art Museum.

I hope you enjoyed our trip through the museum and one day get the chance to go yourself.

Until then!