What You See is What You See: McNay Art Museum Focuses on Minimalism with Debut of Newly Acquired Prints

  • SAN ANTONIO, Texas
  • /
  • December 02, 2019

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Donald Judd, American, 1928 - 1994. Untitled, 1991 Woodcut. Museum purchase with funds from the Friends of the McNay, Raye and Ben Foster, Janet and Joe Westheimer, Ann Tobin, and JoAnn and Herman Wigodsky 1999.2.1
Sol LeWitt, American, 1928 - 2007. Bands of Lines in Four Directions, Square, 1993. Woodcut. Gift of Janet and Joe Westheimer 1994.197
Jo Baer, American, born 1929. Untitled (Triptych). Gouache on paper. Gift of John M. Parker J

The McNay Art Museum’s latest exhibition What You See is What You See celebrates the museum’s important collection of Minimalist and Conceptual prints, some of which are on view for the first time in McNay history. 

“This exhibition spotlights the simple and formal beauty of art in its barest essentials,” said Lyle Williams, Curator of Prints and Drawings. “The artworks on view don’t try to tell a story or convince us of anything other than simply what we see, which is the inspiration for the exhibition title.” 

The McNay has collected Minimalist and Conceptual prints for more than 25 years, starting with the purchase of a suite of four woodcuts by Donald Judd, whose artistic vision made Marfa, Texas an international art mecca. In 2017, Austin collector John M. Parker, Jr. gifted his entire collection of Minimalist and Conceptual graphics to the McNay, positioning it as one of the largest and most important collections of its kind in the state and region.  

In a nod to Conceptualism and the role of music in the development of modern art, a piano occupies the middle of the gallery for McNay staff to perform John Cage’s landmark 4′33″ at various times during the run of the exhibition. Known primarily for his cutting edge and highly conceptual music compositions, Cage was also a prolific visual artist interested in the role of chance in the creative process.   

As the closest print collecting institution to Marfa, the McNay has solidified its strong representation of one of America’s greatest contributions to world art through works by Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Frank Stella, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Robert Ryman, Brice Marden, Jo Baer, and Robert Tiemann.  

What You See is What You See is on view in the McNay’s Jerry Lawson Print Gallery through May 17, 2020. 

This exhibition is organized for the McNay Art Museum by Lyle W. Williams, Curator of Prints and Drawings

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