There is something about inflatable objects that just make us humans feel a certain type of way. Think about it – from a unicorn-shaped pool floatie to a castle-like bouncy house, inflatable objects bring us a certain sense of joy.
Now, picture this: You enter the doors of your local art museum and find yourself surrounded by nine massive inflatable characters ranging from a giant baby to a pair of flamingos. This might sound like a dream you’ve just awakened from, but actually, it’s the reality waiting for you inside the Art Museum of South Texas (AMST) thanks to its newest exhibition, Blow Up II: Inflatable Contemporary Art.
The exciting exhibition, organized by and originally presented at Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts, opens to the public this week on Jan. 20.
According to the exhibition’s official press release provided by AMST, Blow Up II: Inflatable Contemporary Art “explores the medium of inflatable art with imagery that is figurative, conceptual and abstract. These large-scale inflatable sculptures, conceived by nine artists and art collectives from around the world, connote fun and whimsy, are familiar yet strange and challenge the definition of art.”
The exhibition includes a star-studded lineup of artists, including Nicole Banowetz, Sharon Engelstein, FriendsWithYou, Josh Harker, Susan Lee-Chun, Matt Ritchie, Lizbeth Rossof, Jen Stark and Max Streicher. The pieces in this show serve as the first encounter with the inflatable medium for most of the featured artists.
“Many of the works convey a surreal sensibility through oversized scale or an uncanny human connection, like Max Striecher’s sculptures that appear to be living, breathing beings– they are just as dependent on air as we are,” the exhibition’s official press release stated. “From the outset, the artworks in Blow Up II appear fun and playful; however, there is a touch of melancholy throughout the show as we are reminded that once the gallery lights dim, the artworks deflate and await their resurrection the following day.”
This immersive exhibition is unlike anything else you’ve experienced at AMST. The museum invites the public to explore the joyful, inflatable sculptures that remind us of an important sentiment: there are no boundaries to which one can create and experience art.
This exhibition is supported in part by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Corpus Christi. Blow Up II: Inflatable Contemporary Art is on display at AMST from Jan. 20 through Apr. 9, 2023.
Art Museum of South Texas | 1902 North Shoreline Boulevard Corpus Christi, TX 78401 | 361-825-3500
Header Image Credit:
BLOW UP II: Inflatable Contemporary Art organized by Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA image created by Alexis De Leon Art Museum of South Texas Inflatables credit left to right: Lizabeth Rossof, “Bart Simpson” from the “5 XI’AN AMERICAN WARRIORS” series, 2019, nylon fabric, electric fan 96 x 39 x 39” Sharon Engelstein, “Seeker”, 2012, nylon fabric, electric fan, 156 x 129 x 188” Max Streicher, “Giant Baby”, 2005, nylon spinnaker and electric blower, variable dimensions Matt Richie, “rat136”, 2019, nylon fabric, electric fan, 112 x 77 x 116” Nicole Banowetz, “Kleptoplast”, 2021, Oxford fabric, electric fan, 85 x 200 x 24” Josh Harker, “Crania Geodesica: Palloncino Anatomica”, 2019, painted vinyl fabric, electric fan, 111 x 96 x 153” Friendswithyou, “Never Ending Story, Spider Man’s Eye”, 2019, ripstop nylon fabric, electric fan, 150 x 108 x 168” Jen Stark, “Cones”, 2019, nylon fabric, electric fans, variable dimensions Susan Lee-Chun, “Untitled (Flamingos Only Hang by the Pool)”, 2019, vinyl fabric, electric fans variable dimensions