‘Siempre Selena’ Takes A Final Bow At The McNay On Aug. 1

The San Antonio exhibit features photographs of a young Selena.

By Brian KirkpatrickJuly 7, 2021 7:58 am, , , ,

From Texas Public Radio:

There’s a little less than a month left to see the McNay Art Museum exhibit featuring photos of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez from a 1993 session.

The exhibit is titled Selena Forever/Siempre Selena, and the photos have graced the McNay for about a year and a half. It was originally scheduled to close in July 2020. But the pandemic interrupted museum attendance, so officials decided to extend it to Aug. 1.

Visitors to the McNay Art Museum gaze at photos in the Selena exhibit
Brian Kirkpatrick

San Antonio photographer John Dyer said the managers of New York-based “Mas” magazine asked him to photograph an up-and-coming South Texas singer named Selena.

He said she drove up to his Blue Star Arts Complex studio in a red sports car by herself with her trunk packed full of stage costumes for the shoot. Her mom came in later.

She had a quirky sense of humor, and she seemed completely open and honest and unaffected by fame.

“Whatever sort of trappings that well-known people get over the years, the kind of protective cocoon they start putting around themselves because they are hit on so much — ‘Can you do this for me? Will you smile for that? — that was not in evidence at all while we where shooting,” Dyer said.

He said there were three settings used for the session, which took place inside and outside. He also shone a spotlight on Selena as she pretended to perform on stage in front of a red curtain and on a black and white checkered floor.

He said the session was relaxed, and they chatted as he worked. Selena was having fun with the experience, and it’s reflected in the photos.

Kate Carey is the head of education for the museum.

“The fact that John Dyer was able to photograph her really in her prime. We’re getting to see images of Selena we fell in love with in the ’90s and getting to see her just the way we remembered her,” said Carey.

In 1995, two years after the photos were taken, Selena’s former fan club manager fatally shot her in Corpus Christi. Selena was only 23 years old.

Dyer feels Selena loved her fans very much, and that too came through in the photos.

“I think she was very much a person of the people and very much in tune with her fans and grateful for the fans that she had and never wanted to forget that.”

In early August, the Selena exhibit will move on to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The McNay provides underwriting for Texas Public Radio.

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