Blue Star Contemporary (BSC), San Antonio’s first and longest- running contemporary art nonprofit, welcomes the public on Saturday, June 25 for Free Family Saturday. From 1p.m. to 4p.m., families with children of all ages are invited to enjoy free hands-on art making activities, led by artists on view Jenn Hassin, Sarah Sudhoff, and Jill Ewing with Bihl Haus Arts. Also in attendance will be Vicki Johnson, who will be leading a letter writing activity with Operation Gratitude, a nation-wide nonprofit dedicated to providing people across our great country with opportunities for hands-on volunteerism to say ‘thank you’ to our Military, Veterans, and First Responders. (Blue Star Contemporary, 2022)
This free family event focuses on BSC’s current exhibitions and gives families an opportunity to interact with local artists and community organizations. The artworks on view inspire art making that encourages children to look deeply and understand contemporary art better through fun activities. Families are invited to enjoy BSC’s exhibitions as well as complimentary food and refreshments.
On View at Blue Star Contemporary
BSC’s main gallery features Travel Distance, curated by independent curator and interdisciplinary artist Amber Zora. The exhibition features the work of Miridith Campbell (Kiowa), Joe Devera, Claudia Hare, Jenn Hassin, Gina Herrera, Monte Little (Diné), Jessica Putnam–Phillips, Daniel Rios Rodriguez, Renee Romero, and Sarah Sudhoff. The artworks featured represent how veterans and their families have processed, moved through, purged, and reclaimed their experience around military service.
The Learning Lab at BSC presents The Veterans Book Project, a library of books authored collaboratively by artist Monica Haller and dozens of people who have been affected by, and have archives of, the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In their printed format, the books provide a place, or “container,” that slows down and materializes the great quantity of ephemeral image files that live on veterans’ hard drives and in their heads. Each book re-deploys volatile images with the aim of rearticulating and refashioning memories. It stands both independent of and in concert with the larger collection.
These exhibitions coincide with the Blue Star Museums program, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums. Running from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2022, museums across the United States offer free general admission to active-duty military personnel and their families. BSC participates in this program in an effort to say “thank you” to our military community.
Opening on July 1, Andreas Till: De Ami, focuses on the influence of the presence of American troops in artist Andreas Till’s hometown Heidelberg, Germany and the relationship between Germans and Americans between 1945 and 2013 born out of this presence. The Other Side, is a selection of films referencing ideas of transitions and events that foundationally change someone, i.e. “to be on the other side of something.” The video works also allude to ideas of mortality and the spiritual concept of metaphysical selves entering a new plane. The films were selected from Darmstadt Sezession’s 2021 prize shortlist for our collaborative Projection/Projektion grants and screenings program, and feature the work of Faezeh Nikoozad, Aki Pao-Chen Chiu, Breech Asher Harani, and Fumiko Kikuchi. Fake Plastic Forest features the work of France Dubois, Annette Isham, Işık Kaya, and Leigh Merrill, contemporary photographers and lens-based artists dealing with themes of artifice, truth and fiction, and the theatricality of our interactions with nature.
BSC presents exhibitions with artists from San Antonio and around the world sharing their global perspectives that encourage understanding, empathy, change, and action, fulfilling our mission to inspire, nurture, and innovate. Like most non-collecting contemporary art spaces, BSC contributes fresh insight and perspective on larger issues affecting society and culture by highlighting trends, movements, and conversations happening in art.
BSC was founded for artists by artists in 1986 in a grassroots movement sparked by the cancellation of the first major museum exhibition of contemporary art in San Antonio. Six arts supporters and artists founded Contemporary Art for San Antonio to provide an exhibition venue for artists and the public. With the support of a handful of donors and property developers, the founders, artists, and volunteers converted an abandoned warehouse into a gallery for the first annual Blue Star Exhibition. Over the years, BSC has grown to encompass a professional staff, a robust calendar of onsite and offsite exhibitions, community collaborations, creative youth development programs, international exchange opportunities for artists, and public art projects.