50-year Retrospective Exhibition of Al Rendón’s Photography Opens September 2 at The Witte
The exhibition coincides with the release of a new commemorative book on Rendón’s 50-year career, published by the Witte Museum and distributed by Trinity University Press
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (July 18, 2023) – Photographer Al Rendón, internationally acclaimed and widely recognized as one of San Antonio’s finest visual artists, has documented Tejano life in South Texas for decades. Opening September 2 at the Witte Museum, Mi Cultura—Bringing Shadows Into the Light: The Photography of Al Rendón is a retrospective exhibition of Rendón’s 50-year career featuring many of his photographs and important artifacts from his life. The exhibition coincides with the release of a new commemorative book with the same name featuring many more of Rendón’s photos along with essays by renowned cultural leaders.
“We are honored to provide access to the photographic grace and grit of Al Rendón’s photographs to the thousands of schoolchildren and multi-generational families from throughout Texas who will experience them at the Witte,” shared Marise McDermott, Witte Museum president & CEO. “They will see themselves in his photographs—in the food, dress, work and culture. They will remember the scenes he’s captured and be entranced by those they see for the first time.”
Mi Cultura—Bringing Shadows Into the Light invites visitors to experience the unique culture and spirit of San Antonio through the lens of Rendón. The exhibition features more than forty of Rendón’s photographs and provides a comprehensive offering of his career, beginning with the touring Rock & Roll concerts he hustled to capture in the 1970s and evolving to the Conjunto and Tejano artists of the local culture, including his iconic photos of Selena. On view are the artistry of the “Fragile Romance” and “Angels” collections, the emotion captured in his “Faces of Resiliency” and “Uvalde” series, and the South Texas culture documented under the themes “Mi Cultura,” “La Virgen” and “Charreada.”
The exhibition also includes a re-creation of a darkroom with Rendón’s darkroom equipment, inviting museumgoers to explore the process used to develop photographs, and his personal collection of cameras and press passes used throughout his career.
The exhibition coincides with the release of a full-color commemorative book Mi Cultura—Bringing Shadows Into the Light: The Photography of Al Rendón with a foreword by Marise McDermott, introduction by Eduardo Díaz, and essays by Thomás Ybarra Frausto, Bruce Shackelford and Juan Tejeda. Frausto also provided artist insights for the book, which is published by the Witte Museum and distributed by Trinity University Press. The book, which celebrates Rendón’s 50-year career, is available for purchase at the Bolner Family Museum Store when the exhibition opens on September 2 and at bookstores nationally.
The exhibition and book are made possible through the generous support of Marsha Shields and the McCombs Foundation, the Sally and Charlie Cheever Foundation and the WellMed Charitable Foundation. It is organized by the Witte Museum, which worked closely with Al Rendón to develop the exhibition and publication.
Mi Cultura—Bringing Shadows Into the Light: The Photography of Al Rendón is included with museum admission and on view from September 2, 2023 through January 7, 2024 in the Robert J. & Helen C. Kleberg South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum.
Additional information and tickets can be found at WitteMuseum.org.
This exhibition is part of the 2023 FOTOSEPTIEMBRE photography festival, San Antonio’s annual unique, inclusive and eclectic forum for the exhibition and celebration of photography and photography-based art forms.
The exhibition Mi Cultura: Bringing Shadows Into the Light: The Photography of Al Rendón is presented by the Cheever Family Foundation and generously supported by WellMed Charitable Foundation. The book Mi Cultura: Bringing Shadows Into the Light: The Photography of Al Rendón is generously supported by the McCombs Foundation.
Al Rendón Biography
Al Rendón has been documenting his hometown, San Antonio, for nearly fifty years. He started as a teenager, taking photos of rock bands, but quickly transitioned to photos that represented San Antonio’s Mexican culture. He took photos of Conjunto and Tejano musicians, local artists, street food purveyors, charreada competitors and ordinary people.
Rendón’s work with Conjunto and Tejano musicians led him to working with Selena. His photos of Selena were used as cover art for her 1992 CD ‘Entre a Mi Mundo’; as covers for several magazines, including ‘Newsweek’ and ‘People’; and hung as portraits in the Smithsonian.
Rendón makes his living as a commercial photographer in San Antonio and South Texas, and his artwork has been exhibited at Smithsonian museums in Washington DC, the Chicago National Museum of Mexican Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and generally throughout the United States and the Americas.
About the Witte Museum
Founded in 1926, the Witte Museum is where Science, Nature and Culture Meet. Located on the banks of the San Antonio River in Brackenridge Park, the Witte Museum is San Antonio’s premier museum, inspiring people to shape the future of Texas through transformative and relevant experiences in nature, science and culture.