The best plays, musical performances, and exhibits in Texas are enjoyed by record number crowds, according to our cultural adventurer Leanne Raesener, who shares our favorite recommendations for what to enjoy this summer across the state.
UNDER A SUMMER MOON
The Austin Symphony Orchestra presents Moonlight Moods, a live outdoor concert at the stunning new Moody Amphitheater. Beethoven’s euphoric and exquisite Symphony No. 7, often referred to as the “Apotheosis of the Dance,” is sure to move you. May 13―15. At AustinSymphony.org.
ON IMAGE: Ludwig van Beethoven, portrait by Josef Karl Stieler. Courtesy of ASO.
GONNA WEAR MY GOLDEN CROWN…
Zach Scott’s Theatre’s Songs Under The Stars: Spring Series presents Gospel Down by the Riverside. The stellar cast of Zach’s hit Crowns once again raises the rafters in celebration of gospel music made famous by Shirley Caesar, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, and others. April 1―11. At ZachTheatre.org.
ON IMAGE: Courtesy of Zachery Scott Theatre.
STRUMMIN’ FROM THE SPHYNX TO TEXAS
From its origins in the Nile Valley to today, the guitar has rocked the world for more than 5,000 years. GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World takes visitors on a fascinating exploration of the science, sound, history, and pop culture behind the world’s favorite instrument. Through August 15. At TheStoryOfTexas.com.
ON IMAGE: Gibson Harp Guitar, ca. 1912. Courtesy of the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
DALLAS / FORT WORTH
MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL
Chris Schanck’s premier DMA exhibition, Curbed Vanity: A Contemporary Foil by Chris Schanck, pairs the late-19th century Martelé dressing table in the DMA’s collection with Schanck’s contemporary interpretation of the piece. One is a grand example of the Gilded Age’s craftsmanship, and Schanck’s is a tribute to the urban landscape. Through August 29. At DMA.org.
ON IMAGE: Curbed Vanity: A Contemporary Foil by Chris Schanck, Courtesy of the Dallas Museum of Art.
ARTIFACTS GONE, BUT HISTORY REMAINS
The Nasher Sculpture Center presents two works by the 2020 Nasher Prize Laureate Michael Rakowitz, part of his series of sculptures, The invisible enemy should not exist, and his film, The Ballad of Special Ops Cody. Each examines the connection between present-day conflicts in the Middle East and the region’s ancient history. Through April 18. At NasherSculptureCenter.org.
ON IMAGE: 2020 Nasher Prize Laureate Michael Rakowitz, The invisible enemy should not exist (Room F, section 1, panel 10, Northwest Palace of Nimrud), 2019, Courtesy of Jane Lombard Gallery, photo by Arturo Sanchez
CELEBRATING HOME SWEET HOME
The Meadow’s twentieth anniversary will be marked with a commemorative exhibition: Building on the Boulevard: Celebrating 20 Years of the Meadows New Home, which in 2001 was a defining moment in the museum’s over 50-year history. Through June 20. At MeadowsMuseumDallas.org.
ON IMAGE: Exterior of the Meadows Museum and its sculpture plaza with Santiago Calatrava’s Wave (2002) in foreground. Photo by Hillsman Jackson.
NATURE TIMES TWO
Two visionary artists, separated in time and space, are united by a shared fascination with nature. View David Hockney and Vincent van Gogh’s work side-by-side in the MFAH’s exhibition Hockney–Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature. It premiered at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and the MFAH will be the only U.S. venue. Through June 21. At MFAH.org.
ON IMAGE: David Hockney’s The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011. Credit. Collection Société des Amis du Musée national d’Art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Richard Schmidt.
THEN AND NOW
Pompeii: The Exhibition tells the tale of the city buried in ash and volcanic debris after Mount Vesuvius suddenly erupted some 2,000 years ago. Visitors discover how people lived, loved, worked, worshiped, and found entertainment through the over 150 artifacts preserved in the ruins. Through September 6. At HMNS.org
ON IMAGE: A pristine Pompeii sculpture showcases the intricacy of artifacts. Photo courtesy of Houston Museum of Natural Science.
A GRAND OVERTURE OF GREATS
Houston Symphony’s Iconic Overtures: Andrés Conducts Mozart, Beethoven & More breaths life into some of music’s all-time great overtures—dramatic and evocative curtain-raisers that capture us from the first note. May 14―16. At HoustonSymphony.org.
OASIS IN THE GARDENS
San Antonio Botanical Garden’s newest exhibition, Frida Kahlo Oasis, brings a captivating rendition of the artist’s iconic blue home, Casa Azul, and lush green sanctuary that profoundly influenced her timeless art. This exhibition uncovers Kahlo’s deep connection with Mexican native vegetation and the natural world. Through Nov. 2. At SABOT.org.
ON IMAGE: Frida’s Oasis Entrance. Courtesy of the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
IS IT LIVE, OR IS IT MAGICAL?
The new Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts exhibition, Is It Real? Staging Nature explores the technical side of recreating nature in performance. The show presents artwork that highlights nature as depicted in stories from opera, ballet, and musical theatre to illustrate examples of these designs. April 22―September 30, 2021. At McNayArt.org.
ON IMAGE: Tony Straiges, Maquette. for Into the Woods, painted board and paper, with found objects. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Robert L.B. Tobin.
As American artists—often having trained in France—returned home in the late nineteenth century, they put a distinctly American twist on Impressionism. America’s Impressionism: Echoes of a Revolution explores this history with European origins. June 11―September 5, 2021. At SAMuseum.org.
ON IMAGE: Willard Metcalf (American, 1858–1925)
Poppy Field (Landscape at Giverny), 1886, Oil on canvas, Collection of J. Jeffrey and Ann Marie Fox.