Media and Development
The Texas Biennial is an independent survey of contemporary art in Texas. The fifth edition of the exhibition will take place in the fall of 2013, making the Texas Biennial the longest-running state biennial in the U.S.
The Biennial was founded in 2005 by a group of artists in Austin who wanted to provide an exhibition opportunity open to all artists living and working in the state. While the survey exhibition curated from an open call for art remains the central feature of the project, since its inaugural exhibition the Biennial has grown to include a range of other exhibitions and programming, all in celebration of contemporary art in Texas.
From its founding, the Biennial has explored a variety of exhibition formats and curatorial models. The first three survey exhibitions were presented at multiple venues in Austin. In 2011, the project expanded to include venues in Houston and San Antonio. The survey exhibition has also been curated using different approaches — by a panel of jurors in 2005 and 2007, and by solo curators in 2009 and 2011. For 2013, the Biennial has assembled a stellar group of curators who will work independently, coordinated by a Curator-at-Large.
A special part of programming for 2009 was a tribute to the pioneering Texas modernist painter Kelly Fearing (1918-2011). In 2011, the Biennial explored notions of site-specificity by inviting six artists to designate works located around the state for the exhibition.
The Biennial has also embraced collaborations with many partners including other arts organizations, arts foundations, art schools and art publications, as well as numerous artists, art critics and historians, arts administrators and educators throughout the state. Previous collaborations include a partnership with Austin's Art in Public Places to produce public sculpture as part of the 2009 Biennial exhibition; a conference on contemporary art in 2011 supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Linda Pace Foundation; and, also in 2011, the promotion of independent programming focused on contemporary art by over 60 arts organizations across the state.
Many people and organizations have contributed to the growth of the project, including a roster of distinguished jurors, curators and advisory committee members. The Texas Biennial is now a program of Big Medium, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting contemporary art throughout Texas, funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division. The Biennial is also supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts, private foundations and other nonprofits (including our wonderful venue partners), in-kind sponsorships, generous contributions from private donors (we gratefully recognize our sponsors here), and the talent and hard work of dedicated staff and many volunteers.
Further information on previous biennials is available here.
Further information on the 2013 Texas Biennial is available here.