BEEVILLE – San Antonio-based artist Joe Lopez, one of the leaders of the Chicano Art Movement, paints what he knows—the South Texas barrio. His vibrant pictures tell the story of life along the border between the U.S. and Mexico: children at play, street vendors, young and old, everyday people doing everyday things. His work has been described as “capturing a heartbeat.”
The exhibition Historias Sin Palabras/Stories Without Words will be on view at the Beeville Art Museum from May 6 through July 21, with a public opening celebration from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.
Lopez grew up in El Barrio Escondido (The Hidden Barrio), near the wealthy neighborhood of Alamo Heights in San Antonio. He has a strong identification with people who have struggled in life, having been born in modest circumstances and with only one hand. “I am an American of Mexican descent, and that is what I paint. Even though life was tough, we survived.” One of the continuing themes in Lopez’s work is El Gallo, the rooster, a symbol of strength, beauty and this fighting spirit.
For 17 years, Lopez owned Gallista Gallery, one of the top galleries in Texas featuring Hispanic art, while also using that time to mentor young, emerging artists. After selling the gallery, Lopez built a new home, connected to his childhood home, which now serves as his studio.
Joe Lopez’s work has been shown at numerous art galleries and museums across Texas, including: the McNay in San Antonio; Southwest Museum of Art and the Martinez Center in Corpus Christi; Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin; and the Texas A&M University Memorial Student Center. Lopez has been featured in several national anthologies of Chicano art and is being honored nationally by the Smithsonian Institute, which plans to archive his life and work for future generations.
The Beeville Art Museum, created and operated by the Joe Barnhart Foundation, is first and foremost a teaching museum, providing cultural and educational opportunities for the citizens of Bee County and surrounding areas.
The Beeville Art Museum, located at 401 E. Fannin St., is open to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. To contact the museum, call 361-358-8615 or visit their website at www.bamtexas.org.