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The McNay Art Museum unveils its fall exhibition

This exhibit reunites several objects for the first time in nearly a century

SATXtoday: Natalia Gontcharova, curtain design for the prologue in "Le Coq d'Or (The Golden Cockerel)," 1913.  McNay

Natalia Gontcharova, curtain design for the prologue in “Le Coq d’Or (The Golden Cockerel),” 1913. Watercolor and collage on paper. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, gift of The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund, TL2008.9. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris.

Photo by McNay Art Museum

The McNay Art Museum tapped into its Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts to reinterpret an early 20th-century ballet company. Let us introduce you to “Women Artists of the Ballets Russes: Designing the Legacy.”

Plan ahead to see this exhibit beginning Oct. 10 through Jan. 12, 2025. Note: Pliés are not required to see what this exhibit is all about.

Ballet Russes explained

So, why is the McNay curating this exhibit? The show focuses on the legacy the famed dance company, Ballets Russes, and the impact dancers of color had on ballet in the US.

“This exhibition aims to celebrate and give voice to these female artists including designers, dancers, costume makers, and financial patrons who worked with the Ballets Russes and contributed to its legacy,” said Caroline Hamilton, Ph.D., Ballets Russes costume + dance historian and exhibition co-curator.

Items picked for the exhibit come from these artists:

  • Natalia Gontcharova: Designed sets and costumes for the 1914 opera-ballet “Le Coq d’Or.”
  • Sonia Delaunay: Costume designer for Ballets Russes’ 1918 production of “Cléopâtre.”
  • Alexandra Exter: Created the designs for six new ballets for the U.K. tour of the Théâtre Chorégraphique Nijinska in 1925.
  • Bronislava Nijinska: Dancer and choreographer.

What’s in the exhibit?

SATXtoday: McNay

Alexandra Exter, scene design for “Holy Etudes,” 1925. Gouache and metallic paint on paper. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, gift of The Tobin Endowment, TL2001.64.

Photo by McNay Art Museum

For starters, objects in the exhibit include original costumes, set + costume designs, and archival photographs. The museum plans to pair its holdings (the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts) with loaned costumes, designs, and other items from various institutions.

“Preparing this exhibition has been a three-year process...,” said R. Scott Blackshire, Ph.D., curator of the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.

Fun fact: The exhibition will reunite several designs with their realized costume and set pieces for the first time in almost a century.

Want to learn more about the museum? Check out its current exhibits like, “de la Torre Brothers: Upward Mobility.”

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