The museum is home to pieces of the state’s artistic history, here are a few you may have missed ”Albuquerque Journal
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – More than a century old, the New Mexico Museum of Art is home to pieces of the state’s artistic history.
Located next to Santa Fe Square, the structure is a work of art on its own – blending traditional Hispanic and Pueblo architecture.
With an abundance of art in sight, it’s easy to be overwhelmed while visiting the museum.
Still, Christian Waguespack, has a few must-see pieces.
Waguespack is the curator of 20th century art and often conducts research of the museum’s collection with a focus on modern art and the art of the American Southwest.
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He says that while the New Mexico Museum of Art does not have gallery space for the permanently exhibited works, there are plans to create one in the near future.
During each visit to the museum, visitors will be able to see several pieces on display.
“Since the museum opened over 100 years ago, we have had several paintings designed as site-specific pieces for the St. Francis Auditorium and for the museum courtyard,” he says. “Art is everywhere at the New Mexico Art Museum, not just on the walls but the building itself and the furnishings and care
worked wood and tinwork which fills it. Outdoor spaces are no exception. The museum features large-scale sculptures in our two sculpture gardens, the John J. and Eileen A. O’Shaughnessy Memorial Sculpture Garden, located just outside this space, and the West Sculptor Garden, located in the exterior of St. Francis Auditorium.
Waguespack points out some must-see museum gems:
Waguespack says the Sculpture Gardens feature monumental works that span 20th century artistic styles and media.
“One of the most impressive is Luis A. Jiménez’s ‘border crossing’, located in our sculpture garden to the west,” he says. “Since he’s so tall, he peeks over the wall so you can see him go by. He shows us a family’s migration to the United States from Mexico, an illustration of the story true of the artist, the journey (or migration) of Luis Jiménez’s parents to the United States from Mexico.
Jiménez is known for his expressive fiberglass figures.
“The museum also has the mock-up of this sculpture on the ramp to the new wing, and a 10-foot drawing that Jiménez made in preparation for this sculpture which will be part of one of our upcoming exhibitions,” says -he. “See all three tour offerings in one and take an intriguing look at the artist’s process and how his design developed on the road to the final piece.
Waguespack says that from the very beginning of the museum’s history, it was designed to incorporate view-specific pieces into architecture. The Saint-François auditorium is one of the oldest parts of the building.
“Many visitors think it was a church or a chapel, but it is not, it was designed and built as one of the very first secular gathering places in Santa Fe. (although the design obviously echoes the missionary churches of New Mexico). It was never a religious building, ”he says. “While the new museum was under construction over 100 years ago, artists involved in Santa Fe’s very first art scene were commissioned with a series of paintings specifically for this space that tell the story of life. of Saint Francis. ”
Utah-born painter Donald Beauregard made the original drawings and began the painting cycle, but sadly died of cancer before he could finish. The paintings were done by Kenneth Chapman and Carlos Vierra.
“St. Francis Auditorium is one of the most beautiful places in Santa Fe and hosts all kinds of events, and no visit to the museum would be complete without spending time there and looking closely at these magnificent paintings,” he says.
During the New Deal era, artists were commissioned by the government to create works of art for the public.
The New Mexico Art Museum houses a series of paintings in the courtyard of Will Shuster, better known as the creator of Zozobra.
Four frescoes – “The Voice of the Earth”, “The Voice of Heaven”, “The Voice of Sipapu” and “The Voice of Water” were painted by Shuster as part of the Public Works Art Project with assistance by Indigenous artist Velino Shije Herrera (aka Ma Pe Wi).
“What’s exciting about these latter is that they are done as a real fresco, or ‘buon fresco’, says Waguespack.” This is the technique you imagine when you think of the paintings of the Renaissance, where the pigment is mixed with wet plaster and becomes part of the wall as it dries. It is a demanding and difficult process and we are fortunate to have such examples of this historic method right in downtown Santa Fe. “
The painting, located in the courtyard of the museum, was commissioned by the New Mexico Museum of Art in commemoration of the Cuartocentenario of the city of Santa Fe.
Waguespack says the central figures, a group of women, are part of a procession with the Virgin of Guadalupe in the background. And the painting is filled with moments rich in agricultural history, ranching, and allusions to New Mexico’s spiritual and cultural background.
“Like Shuster’s painting 64 years earlier, this is an example of a true fresco,” says Waguespack. “This robust painting technique in which the pigment becomes part of the wall itself achieves vivid, vibrant colors that are always crisp, even when located on the outside. While you’re at it, compare the colors in this paint with those of Shuster to get an idea of how durable this painting technique is.
Waguespack says that in addition to the West Sculpture Garden, where you can see “Border Crossing”, St. Francis Auditorium and the courtyard, a selection of sculptures can still be seen in the O’Shaughnessy Memorial Sculpture Garden.
“This often overlooked, but incredibly picturesque space includes a study of sculpture spanning the past century,” he says. “Perhaps one of the most recognizable artists to people familiar with Southwestern art is RC Gorman’s ‘Seated Navajo Woman’,” he says. “Navajo artist born near Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, Gorman has lived and worked in Taos. Hailed as “the Picasso of American Indian artists” by the New York Times, (the play) is an iconic example of how his work is a celebration of his cultural heritage. “