United States

14 Exhibitions to Visit in Texas this Spring & Summer

by Paul Joseph  |  Published March 25, 2024

Diverse landscapes and a rich cultural heritage make Texas one of America’s most fascinating states to explore – as well as inspiring a large number of exhibitions that take place throughout the year.

Colonial Atmosphere, 2002, mixed media sculpture installation, 140” x 360” x 450” de la Torre Brothers: Post-Columbian Futurism installation image (March 19 – April 20, 2023) (Photo: Philip Ritterman)

Texas celebrates its culture with a busy calendar of live events, including a packed programme of exhibitions hosted at museums across the state. Local artists and craftspeople feature routinely in them, giving visitors a fascinating insight into how Texas serves as inspiration for its creatives. If you’re visiting the region this spring or summer, take a look at our pick below of 12 great exhibitions due to run over the coming months.

De la Torre Brothers: Upward Mobility

Brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre live and work in the Guadalupe Valley in Baja California, México, and San Diego, California. They began collaborating in the 1990s after discovering a shared passion for blown glass, using motifs from Aztec mythology, Catholic iconography, popular culture, and art history to build symbolically loaded imagery. This exhibition highlights their distinct aesthetic through four galleries of glass sculpture, lenticular prints, video, and installations, all playfully incorporating humour and satire into critiques of consumption and indulgence.

McNay Art Museum, San Antonio  / Through 15 September 2024

Janet Sobel: All-Over

Janet Sobel, Untitled, ca. 1946 – 48. Enamel and sand on board, 17 5/16 × 14 in. (43.9 × 35.6 cm). The Menil Collection, Houston, Gift of Leonard Sobel and Family. © Janet Sobel. (Photo: James Craven)

This exhibition focuses on the abstract paintings made by Ukrainian-born American Abstract Expressionist artist Janet Sobel during the 1940s. Short-lived but meteoric, her career began in 1943, when leading New York dealers, collectors, and other artists took up her work, culminating in a solo show at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery in 1946. Acclaimed for her skilful use of colour and densely layered compositions, Sobel pioneered what became known as “all over” abstraction. Long underappreciated yet remarkably influential, Sobel’s work challenges existing narratives around mid century modernism and the emergence of Abstract Expressionism.

The Menil Collection, Houston / Through 11 August 2024

Creating Encuentros: Changarrito 2012-2024

Among the innovative ways that Mexic-Arte Museum supports emerging Latino artists is through the Changarrito residency program. In 2005, artist Maximo Gonzalez upended traditional practices by conceptualising a cart that artists could sell from. Six years later, the museum brought the Changarrito cart to Austin, where it has been a key part of programming ever since. These encuentros, or moments of connection, are the foundation of this exhibition, which celebrates the approximately 70 artists that have taken residence as part of the programme. For this exhibition, accompanying the display of artworks, the museum will host a variety of encuentros, including panel discussions, art activities for the community, interactive newly-commissioned Changarrito carts and performances by Changarrito artists.

Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin / 12 April – 25 August 2024

The Age of Armor

Augsburg, South Germany, Close Helmet for the Foot Tourney, about 1590, steel (formerly blued) with etching and gilding, and brass, 31.8 × 22.9 × 34.3 cm (12 1/2 × 9 × 13 1/2 in.), 11 lb., 15 oz (weight), The John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection, 2014.1113. (Photo: © 2021 Worcester Art Museum, all rights reserved)

From the warriors of ancient Greek legends, to the knights of the Middle Ages, to the superheroes of today’s popular culture, the idea of personal body armor has an enduring hold on the human imagination. Armor is as old as human civilisation and has been used in various forms in societies around the globe, but full suits of articulated steel plates were made only in Europe and only for a brief time in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. This exhibition explores the story of armor in its golden age and reveals the remarkable design, engineering, and innovation in over 80 objects, including swords, breastplates, helmets, muskets, and several full suits.

San Antonio Museum of Art / Through 12 May 2024

Kenedy Gallery

Perched on Corpus Christi’s scenic harbor waterfront, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History opened in 1957 to present the story of the cultural crossroads of the New World. Among the museum’s biggest patrons in those early days was the Kenedy Ranching family, who had a lasting impact on the region and were strong early supporters of the museum. Among the museum’s permanent displays is this gallery exhibition honouring thee family’s contributions and featuring objects from the historic Kenedy family home

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, Corpus Christi / Permanent

The Impressionist Revolution from Monet to Matisse

Marking the 150-year anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, this exhibition shines a light on the often rebellious origins and legacy of the Impressionist collective within the European modernist movement. Featuring nearly 90 works, the exhibition explores the experimental techniques and subjects that set a new course for modern art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The innovations of its core members, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Berthe Morisot, are showcased alongside the responses of successive generations of avant-garde artists, from Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh to Piet Mondrian and Henri Matisse.

Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas / Through 3 November 2024

Roving With Perseverance: NASA Mars Rover

(Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

As part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, the Perseverance rover is seeking signs of possible ancient microbial life and collecting samples of rock. And while the Perseverance is hard at work exploring Mars hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, its “twin” model will be on display at the Perot Museum through to the end of summer. Visitors can enjoy a close-up look at a detailed model of the Perseverance and its ground-breaking companion, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, alongside the innovative Mars Ascent Vehicle, designed to collect and store samples for potential return to Earth. The exhibit will also feature digital displays showcasing the latest videos and images from this extraordinary ongoing mission.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas / 8 March – 2 September 2024 

James Surls: Now of Now 14 Thought 14

Over the years, artist James Surls has developed an iconography rife with natural and domestic motifs: eyes, blades, houses, vessels, thorns, knives, diamonds, atoms, hands – and flowers. In celebration of his eightieth year and his long dedication to the arts, this exhibition features his monumental 2002 sculpture, Fourteen Flowers. One of the most preeminent living artists in the United States, Surls helped to redefine Texas art in the 1970s. With his long hair and deer-antler earrings, for decades the burly East Texas native transformed massive logs of wood into a wide range of atavistic sculptures. By emphasizing the physicality of natural materials through cutting, chopping, and incising, he offers multiple ways for viewers to access the metaphysical.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, Austin / Through 7 April 2024

Particles of Color: Where Science Meets Fashion

(Photo: Nolan Zunk / Courtesy Texas Science & Natural History Museum)

This innovative exhibition explores newly developed sustainable sequins and their use across a range of artistic creations, from garments to textiles, art and jewellery. Visitors are invited to step into the world of creation and engage with these mesmerising displays, learn about the science behind their development, and experience the captivating interplay of colour, light and artistry in a unique maker’s space.

Texas Science & Natural History Museum, The University of Texas, Austin / 6 April – December 2024

Art and War in the Renaissance: The Battle of Pavia Tapestries 

In the Renaissance era, monarchs and religious leaders glorified their power and wealth through the art of tapestry, commissioning some of Europe’s greatest artists to commemorate significant events through the lavish artistic medium. Momentous tapestries, often much more costly than paintings, could serve as immersive and elaborate tools for dynamic storytelling and political propaganda, depicting histories in fine wool, silk, and metal-wrapped thread at monumental scale. This exhibition marks the first time that this entire cycle of seven large-scale tapestries has been on view in the United States.

Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth / 16 June – 15 September 2024

Survival of the Fittest

Richard Friese, Deer in a Forest Glade, 1912, oil on canvas, 49.75 x 77.25 in. (Photo: On Loan JKM Collection, National Museum of Wildlife Art)

Representations of wildlife in natural habitats, though common today, were not always the norm. The popularisation of Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution in the middle to late 1800s began a shift (especially among European-Americans) toward understanding wildlife and nature together. This exhibition features works created by an influential group of painters known today as the Big Four – Carl Rungius, Germans Richard Friese, Wilhelm Kuhnert and Bruno Liljefors – who together broke new ground by picturing wild animals in ways that had not been widely seen before by Europeans or Americans. Working during the late 1800s and early 1900s, they established a vision of wildlife and wilderness that remains with us to this day.

Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio / 14 June – 8 September 2024

Soldaderas to Amazonas: Escaramuzas Charras

This exhibition focusses on the deep roots that exist between the equestrian sport of charreria and the soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution – the brave women who assisted in the revolt against oppressive Mexican government forces. It consists of two connecting galleries: the first featuring textiles, the adelita-inspired dresses for which they are known, the sombreros charro, rebozos, boots and matching tack of the female charreria competitors known as escaramuza charra. The second gallery comprises a series of portraits and other artworks that explore themes of identity, family and gender within Mexico’s escaramuza community.

National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame, Fort Worth / 22 March – December 2024

The People Who Made Dr Pepper

(Photo: Courtesy of the Dr Pepper Museum)

When the Dr Pepper Museum opened in 1991, the Bottling Room was the first major exhibition open to the public. The permanent exhibit offers a fresh look at the former Dr Pepper production plant’s historic bottling room, focussing on the stories of the people who worked in the building in the context of the space as it was used for bottling its iconic drinks. Highlights include an accessible well experience (no railings!), first-person interpretations from key employees, bottling equipment, different examples of soft drink packaging, a re-creation of the second-floor syrup manufacturing area, and a variety of interactive activities

Dr Pepper Museum, Waco / Permanent

Who’s afraid of cartoony figuration

Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, a distinct lineage of figurative painters emerged that appropriated the visual styles of cartoons, comics, and commercial illustration. This stylistic choice was made at great risk, with the gravitas of the socio-political content at hand often being obscured or downplayed by the so-called ‘unserious’ cultural associations around their chosen formal language. Presenting works by artists karolina jabłońska, sally saul, tabboo! and umar rashid, this exhibition dares to mix the levity of cartoons, comics, and commercial illustration with some of the most pressing socio-political subjects of our day.

Dallas Contemporary / 3 April – 22 September 2024