Seriously. We walked on the river yesterday morning into downtown, along the River Extension, into the Convention Center Lagoon with its stunning 1968 mosaic murals by Juan O’Gorman and Carlos Merida and then turned left into the actual Convention Center itself.
A convention center seems an unlikely destination for locals, but we wanted to explore the City of San Antonio’s exhibition combining some things old and many new works in celebration of our Tricentennial, “Confluence: Art in the Convention Center.”
We wandered around the myriad of halls and multiple levels of the expansive center on a scavenger hunt for art, a hunt enhanced by the fact we had no clues where we would find the pieces. This added an entertaining touch of serendipity to our quest, but the Department of Arts & Culture does have a cheat sheet online locating the artworks for those who prefer to spend less time lost in the amazing maze of meeting spaces.
“Season of Color,” Naomi Wanjiku, 2014, textured and dyed sheet metal
from exhibition commemorating 50th anniversary of HemisFair ’68
“Confluence of Civilizations,” Juan O’Gorman, 1968, detail of stone mosaic
“Confluence of Civilizations,” Juan O’Gorman, 1968, stone mosaic
“The Best of the Eastside,” Jacinto Guevara, 2001, acrylic on panel
“Si la Tierra Pudiera Hablar (If the Earth Could Speak),” Jenelle Esparza, 2017, archival print on wallpaper
While we went for the art, the architectural design of the center itself, reconfigured in 2017 to eliminate its dated frumpiness, is worth meandering through. MarmonMok has created an award-winning facility that gives San Antonians one more reason to be proud to call this home.
Let me know if you spot Ken Little’s cast-iron pair of shoes, “Victory and Defeat.” We missed them completely. We saw Little last night fronting Rodeo Ho Ho at the Liberty Bar, and he said he was not sure he could find his way back to them either. He did offer a clue; they are parked in front of a window.
He is present when our whole family sits down for Thanksgiving dinner.
He greets us “Devine”-ly every time we walk in the door.
We are not special; he lives with many people.
The store-window-size tribute by photographer Al Rendon conveys how much respect Rick commanded from his fellow artists.
The walk-by cellphone photo of Rick’s photo in Al’s window should be a throw-away. But the layers quickly enveloped us.
Some of Rick’s last Facebook posts were of Day of the Dead, and particularly poignant was one of an aged woman.
The woman you can barely make out in this photo, the one hovering above my head as though reflecting our inevitable future, is seated by a grave. The Mister noted the death date carved in stone. Our birth year.
And then there are the reflections of the buildings across the street.
No one wandered this neighborhood more than Rick. We rarely set foot in Southtown without bumping into him. He loved his hood.
The streets seemed particularly empty this afternoon.