San Antonio, TX
Known for innovative productions, often designed by visual artists, Houston Grand Opera invited Jim Dine to design Salome in 1987. A pioneer of happenings and installations in the 1960s, Dine created an unorthodox but effective staging of Richard Strauss’s opera. Images familiar from the artist’s non-theatrical work—Venus torso, heart, shell, fish, hand, lips, and skull—were projected onto scenery. Echoing the narrative, in which Salome requests the head of John the Baptist as a reward, Dine’s symbolic images were even painted on the costume for her infamous “Dance of the Seven Veils.” A generous gift from the artist himself,
Dine’s 30 pastel drawings of scenic elements and watercolor sketches for costumes represent a significant addition to a vital area of the McNay’s collection—theatre designs by visual artists. The exhibition includes not only Dine’s designs but also invaluable documents and photographs from the Houston Grand Opera Archives. Visitors can discover how the artist’s vision was translated to the stage and imagine the impact of what critics described as a “darkly erotic” and “mesmerizing” production.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website