Big Little Stage

Exhibition Website

May 25 2023 - Feb 25 2024

McNay Art Museum

San Antonio, TX

Big Little Stage shows how designers present creative visions for stage productions through small-scale and large-scale models called maquettes. Papier-mâché, fabric, and wood are used, as well as sleeker materials like stainless steel and plexiglass. Designers also add additional appeal and dimension to their maquettes with watercolors, graphite, and cardboard.​​

Big Little Stage features a miniature Hanging Gardens of Babylon (1860) by Victor St. Leon and a substantial ship’s prow by William Dudley for Billy Bud (1976). Pablo Picasso’s pastel maquette for Le Tricorne (1919) and Natalia Gontcharova’s petite model for Chota Roustaveli (1946) are as striking as larger designs like the Trojan Horse by Helen Pond and Herbert Senn for Les Troyens (1972), and a futuristic set by Ralph Koltai for Shakespeare’s Othello (1985).

Additional works on paper, sculptures, and paintings by Robert Motherwell, Lynn Chadwick, Jasper Johns, and more, from the McNay’s permanent collection enhance the exhibition experience. This includes Philip Grausman’s maquette for Victoria (1992)—a 16-inch model of the now 14-foot-high sculpture on the McNay’s grounds. Big Little Stage visitors might even find themselves standing “center stage” in the Tobin Theatre Arts Gallery on a full-scale set inspired by Joel Steinberg’s whimsical La Périchole (2013) maquette.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

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