Destination: Art

10 blockbuster Texas exhibitions worth traveling to see this summer

Motown exhibit LBJ Library 2019
LBJ Library Photo by Jay Godwin
Motown exhibit LBJ Library 2019
LBJ Library Photo by Jay Godwin
Andy Warhol: "Portraits"
2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Jacolby Satterwhite neon sign
Jacolby Satterwhite/McNay Art Museum
Holocaust Museum Houston outside
Photo by Gary Fountain
Icons of Style MFAH Houston James Harden
Photo courtesy of the MFAH
“William Forsythe's: Choreographic Objects”
Photo courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Monet, Flowering Arches Giverny
Photo courtesy of Kimbell Art Museum
DMA Dior exhibit
Photo by James Florio, Dallas Museum of Art
Perot Museum Art of the Brick, Starry Night
Photo courtesy of Perot Museum
Photo courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art

Texas is in the midst of a major cultural moment, with numerous blockbuster exhibitions on display across the state. Their themes range from the sheer opulence of high fashion to exploring the twilight years of one of the world's greatest artists. 

Some are making their world debut, while others are appearing in Texas for the first time. All are worthy of your attention, whether you seek them out on your next trip or plan a special pilgrimage for the experience itself. Here's a look at 10 can't-miss exhibitions on display in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, and Dallas right now.

"Motown: The Sound of Young America," LBJ Presidential Library, Austin
Visit Motown in one of the unlikeliest places: the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin. Curated by the Grammy Museum, "Motown: The Sound of Young America" explores the cultural and historical impact of the musical movement.

On display for the first time ever, the exhibition comes to life via an abundance of photographs, music, videos, and iconic costumes worn by such legendary acts as The Supremes and Jackson 5. But it doesn't stop there. This interactive show makes visitors part of the Motown experience, as guests can sing along to a Supremes hit with karaoke, learn a dance immortalized by The Temptations, and help a lyricist conquer writer's block.

Through January 26, 2020. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors (62 and older), $5 for former military, $3 for youth (13-18), and $3 for college students. Admission is free for children 12 and younger, active-duty military personnel, and members of select groups.


"Andy Warhol: Portraits," McNay Art Museum, San Antonio
This summer, the McNay offers two powerful exhibitions programmed in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, often referred to as the dawn of the gay rights movement.

The first is a journey through Pop Art icon Andy Warhol's vibrant works from the 1960s through the 1980s, featuring more than 120 paintings, photographs, films, and more. Among the portraits, you're bound to see some familiar faces, including Prince, Mick Jagger, and — of course — Warhol himself. 

Through September 15, 2019. $20 for adults; $15 for students with IDs and seniors; and free for McNay members, teens and children 19 and younger, and active military.


"Transamerica/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today," McNay Art Museum, San Antonio
Running in conjunction with the Andy Warhol retrospective, "TransAmerica/n" examines gender identities and the narratives and stereotypes that come with them.

"There are so many talented queer/trans artists involved in the show, and I hope that it gives the audience a chance to really witness a wide perspective of experience," Xavier Schipani, an Austin-based artist, tells CultureMap. "I think it is important to give insight to our lives in a time when our stories and bodies are constantly pushed aside and kept off of mainstream platforms."

Through September 15, 2019. $20 for adults; $15 for students with IDs and seniors; and free for McNay members, teens and children 19 and younger, and active military.

Holocaust Museum Houston
Following a five-year, $34 million renovation, the Holocaust Museum Houston opened the doors to its new campus in June. The 57,000-square-foot museum more than doubled the original footprint, and while the permanent exhibition, "Bearing Witness," remains, there are many new things to explore. 

On view this summer are "Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann," through September 15, and "Points of View," a photography exhibition from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, through October 6.

At the heart of the building is a poignant installation of 1,500 translucent butterflies representing the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust. "With the rise in anti-Semitism, hate crimes, and threats to human rights in our own country, our role in education and outreach is more important than ever before,” said Kelly J. Zúñiga, CEO of the Holocaust Museum Houston ahead of the reopening.

Hours are 9 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am to 5 pm Saturday, and noon to 5 pm Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for seniors/AARP member; and free for children 6 and younger, students up to 18 years old, and active-duty military.

"Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography," The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Houston Rockets MVP James Harden; late Tejano music superstar Selena; Houston's queen, Beyonce; and more share the stage at this fashion photography exhibition at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

But this exhibition isn't just a bunch of photos of beautiful people (though, there are many). It's an exploration of the history of fashion photography, with an assist from many well-known faces. Notably diverting from the previous iteration of "Icons" at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Houston exhibition takes a broader approach, a nod to the city's diversity.

Fans of fashion photography could easily spend hours exploring “Icons,” and we've offered up five Houston-related reasons to visit.

Through September 22, 2019. $23 for adults (19 and older); $18 for seniors, military, college students and youth (13-18); free for children 12 and younger and MFAH members.

"William Forsythe's: Choreographic Objects," The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
This is one exhibit that aims to get you moving through a series of interactive works.

In one, an interactive video wall takes the images of the guests in front of it, distending their limbs in a way that resembles dance movement. In the next, guests can buck that no-touching rule at the museum to simply hold an object still. Perhaps the most intriguing involves guests navigating swinging pendulums suspended from the ceiling.

Together, the works "reveal the ways in which people consciously and unconsciously move through space and time, interact with one another, and respond to both the potential and the limits of their own bodies," the museum says. It's the latest in the MFAH's annual immersive summer art installations. 

Through September 15, 2019. $19 for adults: $16 for seniors, college students ages 19 and older, with student ID, and youth ages 13 to 18; and free for MFAH members and children 12 and younger; $10 on Thursdays for all guests.

"Monet: The Late Years," Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
In his final years, artist and pioneer Claude Monet, already acclaimed, had one more thing to contribute to art: stellar paintings of his garden at Giverny. More than 50 of his final works are on display at the world-renowned Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

A follow-up to the Kimbell's 2016-17 exhibition, “Monet: The Early Years,” this exhibition charts Monet's works from 1913 to his death, 13 years later. At the beginning of the show, guests are lured in by some of Monet's pre-1907 depictions of water lilies, but from there, the show transforms in surprising ways, much like the transformation of Monet's art in summer 1914

Through September 15, 2019. $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students, $14 for ages 6-11, and free for children under age 6.

"Dior: From Paris to the World," Dallas Museum of Art
UPDATE: The blockbuster exhibition "Dior: From Paris to the World" has been extended through October 27, the Dallas Museum of Art announced on August 15. For tickets and other information, visit the museum's website.


Dallas is only the second U.S. location to host this blockbuster exhibit, which opened to much fanfare in May. Spanning more than 70 years of the House of Dior's legacy, the exhibition literally covers 12,000 square feet and displays almost 200 haute couture dresses, accessories, art, and more. 

The ingenuity starts at the entrance, where guests will note an installation of black dresses and coats elegantly flanking the walls. Later, an ethereal display of muslin mock-ups (called “Office of Dreams”) is elevated with a mirrored ceiling, giving founder Christian Dior's work a sense of limitlessness. Another display allows visitors to walk down a catwalk of sorts and take in Dior designs inspired by all corners of the world — all mounted in the museum’s 114-foot-long Barrel Vault, which boasts 44-foot ceilings.

There's much to take in here, including Dior's ties to Texas department store magnate Stanley Marcus. Luckily, we've crafted an expert guide for how to do the Dior exhibit like a true fashionista.

Through September 1, 2019. $20 for adults Tuesday-Thursday and $25 Friday-Sunday; free for children 11 and younger and DMA members; discounts available for seniors, students, and military. Visitors should buy tickets for the exhibition in advance of arrival.

"The Art of the Brick," Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas
UPDATE: Due to popular demand, "The Art of the Brick" exhibition has been extended until Labor Day, September 2, the Perot Museum announced on July 29. Hours and admission prices remain the same.


Imagine the world's most iconic pieces of art — Van Gogh's Starry Night, Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring, even Michaelangelo's David — rebuilt using only Legos. Those and many more reimagined works are on display at this creative exhibition currently making its Texas debut at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

"The Art of the Brick" also offers an interactive Lego brick gallery for your inner architect, along with a new work added just for Dallas: an interpretation of Pegasus, the city's signature winged horse. The exhibition, which is touring globally, has been quite the sensation in cities like Ottawa and Pittsburgh, causing CNN to hail it a top 10 "Global Must See Exhibition."

Through August 18, 2019. $7 for members and $21-$30 for non-members, free for children 2 and younger. Capacity is limited, so purchasing tickets online in advance is recommended.

"Caravaggio: Martha and Mary Magdalene," Dallas Museum of Art
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio's Martha and Mary Magdalene is making a special appearance at the DMA this summer, on loan from the Detroit Museum of Art.

The piece captures Mary Magdalene from the Bible in the midst of a spiritual awakening. In the work, Mary's sister, Martha, counts on her fingers the reasons that Mary should convert to Christianity. 

Fewer than 10 of Caravaggio's paintings are on view in the United States, and the late 16th century masterpiece is so important that it gets an exhibition all on its own. Visitors can learn more about Caravaggio through a series of public programs at the museum in conjunction with the exhibition.

Through September 22, 2019. $16 for general admission; $14 for seniors and military; $12 for students with an ID; and free for DMA members and children 11 and younger.