An Exceptional Year: Exhibitions, Donations and More
For New Mexico Museum of Art Executive Director Mark White, Poetic Justice: Judith F. Baca, Mildred Howard and Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith (October 2021 through June 2022) was the museum’s “major exhibition” for fiscal year 2021-2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022).
It was also just one of many exciting shows that benefited from $565,661 in museum support through the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Exhibitions Development Fund during FY22.
Using pop culture imagery, Poetic Justice drew attention to such timely issues as the environment, housing, civil rights, police brutality and immigration through painting, installation and film. Baca, Howard and Quick-to-See- Smith, artists now in their 70s and 80s, “are having career moments,” says White, “and are finally being recognized.”
Itself long recognized for a premier photography collection, the museum also exhibited the early work of Ansel Adams in FY22. Sixteen of Adams’ prints from the museum’s collection, including two promised gifts, were on view in Ansel Adams: Pure Photography from January through May of 2022. Two of Adams’ most iconic later prints, Aspens, New Mexico and Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, were also displayed.
As Curator of Photography Katherine Ware noted, “This was a year of exceptional donations. I was especially delighted to have the opportunity to select a group of photographs from the private collection of W.M. Hunt in New York.”
Another exhibition, Southwest Rising: Contemporary Art and the Legacy of Elaine Horwitch (April 2021 through January 2022), showcased some of the greatest hits in Southwest art. Through her eponymous galleries, Horwitch advanced hundreds of Southwestern artists’ careers, fostering what has been called “Southwest pop.” Drawn from the museum’s collection, the show’s featured artists included Billy Schenck, John Fincher, Fritz Scholder, Georgia O’Keeffe and more.
Go West Said a Small Voice: Gustave Baumann and Dreams of New Mexico (August 2021 to February 2022) highlighted another perennially favorite Southwestern artist. Baumann was known for his depictions of New Mexico genre scenes of local landscapes and cultures. Works by 20th-century Baumann contemporaries, such as Cady Wells and Gene Kloss, as well as modern-day santeros Gustavo Victor Goler and Arthur López, provided additional interpretations of New Mexican life and culture.
Exhibitions were accompanied by education programs in FY22, made possible by $36,411 in private contributions to the museum’s Education Fund through the Foundation. Grant funding for the fiscal year reached $436,044, bringing total support for the museum in FY22 to $1,237,426.
Private giving from philanthropist Fred R. Haas through the Wyncote Foundation turned attention to the museum’s Saint Francis Auditorium, a centerpiece of Santa Fe’s cultural and social life. The Wyncote Foundation made possible the successful repair of the auditorium organ, unused for years. The auditorium also features a cycle of murals representing the Franciscans in the New World. These were designed in 1917 by Donald Beauregard, one of the first artists whose work Museum of New Mexico founder Edgar Lee Hewett purchased for the museum’s collection. The murals were ultimately painted by Kenneth Chapman and Carlos Vierra after Beauregard’s premature death. A retrospective on Beauregard, curated by Dr. White, is in the works.
FY22 was also steeped in planning for the soon-to-open Vladem Contemporary. The occasion has galvanized the Friends of Contemporary Art and Photography, noted Shaun Gilmore, chair of the group’s Steering Committee. The Friends intend to increase their activities to encompass the new venue with a year-round lecture series, increased support of educational programming and an annual contribution to the museum’s acquisition fund.
A recent $10,000 gift will be used to purchase a work by Nancy Holt, an American contemporary artist. The group also plans to support site-specific installations by emerging New Mexico artists in the Vladem Contemporary’s Window Box, a storefront-like window display.
This article and image are from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Member News Winter 2022.