If you find yourself in Austin or Brownsville in the coming weeks, we encourage you to visit Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy at The University of Texas at Brownsville Library and Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin, two exhibitions made possible in part with Humanities Texas grants.

Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy

Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy, a traveling exhibition created by the Wittliff Collections at the Alkek Library, Texas State University, and presented in partnership with Humanities Texas, is on display at the UT Brownsville Library from March 1 to April 30, 2015. The exhibition, comprised of photographs taken by Bill Wittliff in the early 1970s, captures the daily life a cattle ranch in northern Mexico, where vaqueros still worked cattle in traditional ways. Wittliff photographed the vaqueros as they went about their daily routine, completing chores that had seen little change since the first Mexican cow herders learned to work cattle from a horse’s back.

Vaquero features photographs with bilingual narrative text that reveal the muscle, sweat, and drama that went into roping a calf in thick brush or breaking a wild horse in the saddle.

The program at UT Brownsville also features lectures by three humanities scholars, including Humanities Texas board member and professor of history Manuel F. Medrano, who will speak on “The Vaquero and the South Texas Rancho” on Wednesday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the exhibitions and related programs, visit the UT Brownsville Library website.

Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties

From February 15 to May 10, 2015, the Blanton Museum of Art at UT Austin will present Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, an exhibition organized by the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Featuring over one hundred works of art from artists such as Barkley Hendricks, Jack Whitten, Jae Jarrell, and Normal Rockwell, Witness examines how a diverse group of artists responded to, participated in, and affected social and political change in the 1960s through a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, and printmaking.

Witness is organized into eight different themes: Integrate/Educate, American Nightmare, Presenting Evidence, Politicizing Pop, Black is Beautiful, Sisterhood, Global Liberation, and Beloved Community. Focusing on the artists’ wide range of aesthetic choices, the exhibition offers an extraordinary view of the tumultuous 1960s through the lens of art history.

The Blanton’s display features a unique addition to the collection: a rarely-seen 1964 portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson by Norman Rockwell. The portrait is on loan from the LBJ Presidential Library.

The Blanton has planned a variety of public programs related to Witness, including documentary film screenings and curatorial and gallery talks. A list of upcoming activities can be found on the Blanton’s website.

Explore our website to learn more about the Humanities Texas grants and traveling exhibitions programs.

Diana V. Dominguez, associate professor of English at UT Brownsville presents "Women of the Vaquero Tradition." Photo by Miguel Roberts, The Brownsville Herald.
Photo by Bill Wittliff, 1971. From the traveling exhibition Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy.
Witness on diplay at the Blanton Museum of Art. Photo by Milli Apelgren.
Unite by Barbara Jones-Hogu, 1971. Silkscreen with ink on wove paper, 22 1⁄2 x 30 in. Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 2012.46. © Barbara Jones-Hogu.