McNay Art Museum Presents Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine

  • SAN ANTONIO, Texas
  • /
  • June 06, 2012

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Radcliffe Bailey, Windward Coast (detail), 2009-2011. Piano keys, plaster bust, glitter, and shell with sound. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

San Antonio, TX- On June 6, 2012, the McNay Art Museum presents Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine, the most comprehensive survey of works by the Atlanta-based artist. Organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the exhibition highlights Bailey's experimentation with diverse media, showcasing sculptures, paintings, installations, works on paper, glass, modified found objects. In addition, the artist has created new art for Memory as Medicine.


"We are excited to present Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine in the ideal setting of the Stieren Center for Exhibitions," said William J. Chiego, Director of the McNay. "Demonstrating a rich layering of imagery, color, and texture, whether on a grand or intimate scale, his art takes the tradition of collage and assemblage into new territory."


Comprised of nearly 40 of Bailey's works, the exhibition explores three main themes: water, blues, and blood. Water evokes the trauma of the journey by European slave trading ships from the west coast of Africa to the New World, called the Middle Passage. Blues reflects Bailey's belief in music as a transcendent art form. Piano keys, sheet music, and actual sound are among the elements that he integrates into his work, creating a multisensory experience. Blood focuses on the ideas of ancestry, race, memory, struggle and sacrifice. In 2006, the artist traced his maternal DNA to specific regions of Africa's western coast, including the Mende region of Sierra Leone.


"The presentation of Memory as Medicine strengthens the McNay's commitment to Radcliffe Bailey's art," stated René Paul Barilleaux, the McNay's Chief Curator/Curator of Art after 1945. "In 2008 curator of prints and drawings Lyle Williams presented a survey of Bailey's prints, and last year the McNay Contemporary Collectors Forum purchased his monumental Procession (2005) for the museum's collection. Procession will premiere at the McNay in this survey exhibition, placing it within the larger context of the artist's work."


Radcliffe Bailey was born in 1968, in Bridgeton, New Jersey. He grew up in Atlanta, earning a bachelor of fine arts from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991. From 2001 to 2006 Bailey taught at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. He received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2004) and was a visiting faculty member at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2006) in Maine. In 2008 he created large glass works as a participant in the Toledo Museum of Art's Guest Artist Pavilion Project (GAPP). In 1994 Bailey's work was included in The Hale Woodruff Memorial Exhibition at the Studio Museum of Harlem. In 1996 Bailey received acclaim for his large mural Saints, a commission for Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. His work is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and the McNay. In addition to Procession, the McNay owns eight prints by Bailey.


A full-color, 160-page book accompanies Memory as Medicine, with essays by Carol Thompson, Michael Rooks, René Paul Barilleaux, Manthia Diawara and Ed Spriggs.


Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine was organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. The exhibition has been made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius. At the McNay, as of June 15, 2012, support is provided by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Exhibition Endowment, the Arthur and Jane Stieren Fund for Exhibitions, the Flora Crichton Visiting Artist Fund, the Ewing Halsell Foundation Endowment for Visiting Artists, the William Randolph Hearst Fund for Education Programs, the Director's Circle, and the Host Committee.  Additional support is provided by Pat and Tom Frost, Betty Halff, Sarah E. Harte and John Gutzler, Jane and Bill Lacy, Marge and Al Miller, Carolyn and Allan Paterson, Dr. Charles and Dr. Marie Thurston, Dr. and Mrs. Harmon Kelley, the Parman Family, and Caroline and William Carrington. Media sponsorship is provided by the San Antonio Express-News.


Images available upon request.



Daniela Oliver
McNay Art Museum

McNay Art Museum
6000 North New Braunfels
San Antonio, Texas
About McNay Art Museum

The McNay Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence opened as Texas's first museum of modern art in 1954. Today more than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, & Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In June 2008, the museum opened the 45,000-square-foot Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier. Nearly doubling the McNay's exhibition space, the Stieren Center includes three separate outdoor sculpture galleries. Hours Tuesday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm; Thursday, 10 am-9 pm*; Saturday, 10 am-5 pm; Sunday, noon-5 pm. The McNay is closed on Mondays, New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. *Free general admission from 4 to 9 pm. Admission Admission to the McNay ranges from $8 to $15 (for adults) and $5 to $12 for (students, seniors and active military) depending on the exhibitions and galleries on view. Please visit for current admission prices. Entrance to Main Collection Galleries is FREE on H-E-B Thursday Nights(4-9pm) and on AT&T First Sundays of the Month. During FREE times there Is an optional admission charge that applies only for entrance to special exhibitions.

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