Local Exhibits - June/July 2016


New Mexico Museum of Art
"Alcoves 16/17"
Changing exhibits through March 26, 2017

In celebration of the upcoming centennial of the museum's inaugural exhibit in the fall of 1917, the New Mexico Museum of Art is going back to its roots, so to speak. Throughout 2016-2017, the museum is presenting contemporary artists currently working in New Mexico in the manner of the original plan--in revolving shows held in the distinctive alcoves. The museum building was designed in a style that reflects the historical architecture of New Mexico. When it opened, the intention was to exhibit the work being created in New Mexico at that time. Indeed, many of the artists, both settled and transient, took advantage of this unique opportunity to exhibit at the museum. Works from that early era form the historic core of the permanent collection.

The current show featuring the works of Philip Augustin, Stephen Davis, Katherine Lee, Walter Robinson, and Jack Slentz runs through June 19. The next one opens June 24 and runs through August 14, 2016.

Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
"Chimayó: A Pilgrimage through Two Centuries"

Through April 9, 2017

This exhibit was developed in honor of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Santuario de Chimayó. It explores the legacy and mystique of the Santuario as a pilgrimage site for Christian believers, as well as for generations of artists and weavers who have been inspired by it. Photographs, paintings, bultos, retablos, and textiles are on display to illustrate Chimayó's rich spiritual and artistic legacy.

Special event presented by Spanish Colonial Arts Society
Lecture by David Setford:
"The Santuario and Other Northern New Mexican Churches: The Lure for Modernists"

July 23, 2016, 11 a.m.

David F. Setford is Executive Director of Santa Fe's Spanish Colonial Arts Society, the parent organization of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. In his talk, Mr. Setford will focus on how Northern New Mexico churches--such as the Santuario at Chimayó, Ranchos de Taos, and Las Trampas--have served as subjects for artistic exploration. Over the years, a large number of artists and photographers, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, George Bellows, and Gustave Baumann, have famously painted these churches and Mr. Setford will explore how those church forms provided particular enticements for modernists working in the region. Reservations are recommended.

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
"Landscape of an Artist: Living Treasure Dan Namingha"
Through September 11, 2016


Artist Dan Namingha is this year's Museum of Indian Arts and Culture's Living Treasure and the 2016 Native Treasures Artist. To highlight these honors, the museum is featuring a wide variety of Namingha's work, representative of five decades of his career. Born and raised on the Hopi reservation, of Hopi and Tewa descent, Namingha has worked in diverse media and styles, showing a continual evolution while drawing on motifs from his personal roots. Namingha is an artist of both national and international renown.


"The Life and Art of Innovative Native American Artist and Designer Lloyd Kiva New"
Through December 30, 2016

As the centennial of the birth of Native American artist Lloyd Kiva New, three Santa Fe arts institutions are celebrating the career of this influential and visionary man. New, a Cherokee born and raised on his family's farm in Oklahoma, went on to become the first artistic director of Santa Fe's Institute of American Indian Art. Native people refer to him as the "Godfather of Native Fashion." New was a pioneer in the worlds of fashion, entrepreneurship, and Native art instruction. This exhibit of personal recollections, photos, archival documents, and objects pour la couture, is called a "career retrospective."

Other museums participating in the New centennial exhibits of 2016 are the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and the New Mexico Museum of Art, each of which will be focusing on important aspects of Lloyd Kiva New’s contributions to contemporary Native culture.


Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
"Common Ground: Art in New Mexico"

The Albuquerque Art Museum holds an extensive collection of almost 10,000 works of art. Pulling from this treasure trove, curator Andrew Connors has installed a new exhibit intended to showcase the artwork in an updated manner, one that celebrates the depth and diversity of creativity of artists working in the region. Calling it "Common Ground," Connors has arranged the show in unusual groupings to allow for unexpected links among diverse artists, including Georgia O'Keeffe, Ernest Blumenschein, Raymond Jonson, Fritz Scholder, Luis Jimenez, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Diego Romero.


Taos Art Museum at Fechin House
"Charles Berninghaus: Artist, Son, Visionary"
Through October 9, 2016

On display is an exhibition featuring some twenty paintings by Charles Berninghaus and ten by Oscar Berninghaus, son and father artists. This is an exhibit that brings the son's work to the fore, encouraging comparison with the work of his father, one of the founders of the Taos Society of Artists.

Charles was encouraged by his father and received substantial training in art at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Art Students League in New York. Like his father, he opted to pursue his painting career in Taos, becoming a permanent resident there in 1927. He enjoyed painting outdoors and focused his attention on the surrounding landscape for his primary subject matter which he portrayed in an impressionistic style.


"Nicolai Fechin: A Vision of Home"

This special exhibition has been arranged upstairs at the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House. It explores the Russian influences that imbue the home he constructed according to his personal aesthetic, alongside the display of a select number of his works of art.

Exhibits Nationwide - June/July 2016

Art Institute of Chicago
"America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s"
Through September 18, 2016

This is an exhibit featuring art created in the tumultuous period following the economic crash of 1929 through the beginning of World War II. On display are approximately fifty works by some of the foremost American artists of the era, including Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. The exhibit seeks to show how American artists creatively responded to this period of time. The museum states: "Collectively, the aesthetically and politically varied works produced in the 1930s paint a revealing portrait of the nation’s evolving psyche," and the examples selected highlight the threads of modernism and regionalism in American art of the era. After it closes in Chicago, the exhibit will travel to the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and London’s Royal Academy, marking the first time many of these iconic American works—including Grant Wood’s American Gothic—have journeyed outside of North America.

Smithsonian American Indian Museum, Washington, D.C.
"Unbound: Narrative Art of the Plains"
Through December 4, 2016

Tracing the evolution of the creative expressions of Native peoples of the Plains, the exhibit features historical works produced on hides, muslins, and ledger books, alongside more than 50 contemporary works. As a narrative art, the display reflects the on-going relevance and dynamic qualities of this traditional art form.

American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
"American Art Through 1940"

The museum has created an installation of works from its permanent collection that connects the individual works to major themes in American history. Beginning in Colonial America, the exhibit traces the nation's development from East to West and moves forward into the Civil War and the Gilded Age. The galleries present 18th- and 19th-century paintings, sculpture, furniture, and folk art, along with examples of impressionism, early modernism and realist art. Some of their highlights include George Catlin's Native American portraits; Albert Bierstadt's "Among the Sierra Nevada, California," 1868; Winslow Homer's "A Visit from the Old Mistress," 1876; E. Martin Hennings' "Riders at Sunset," 1935-45; and Thomas Hart Benton's "Achelous and Hercules," 1947.

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
"William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master"
Through September 11, 2016

William Merritt Chase (1849–1916) was a major figure in American art as an artist and teacher during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This retrospective exhibit marks the

CONTINUED: centennial of the  artist's death and features over seventy works. Covering a span of over forty years, the curators sought to highlight Chase’s aesthetic philosophy, artistic practice, and his working methods in context with the cultural events of the time.

Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa
"A Place in the Sun: The Southwest Paintings of Walter Ufer and E. Martin Hennings"
Through August 28, 2016

This comprehensive exhibit examining the work of Walter Ufer and E. Martin Hennings opened earlier in the year at the Denver Art Museum. We covered that exhibit and its wonderful accompanying book in a previous issue of the ZLG e-News. But, we wanted to be sure our readers knew about this exhibit traveling to the Philbrook Museum of Art, in case Tulsa is on your agenda this summer.


Philbrook Downtown, Tulsa
"Cady Wells: Ruminations"
Through Oct. 2, 2016

Philbrook Museum of Art opened a downtown museum space in an area of the city that has undergone recent revitalization. These galleries are used for the display of a variety of contemporary and cutting-edge art. Showing currently at the Philbrook Downtown is an exciting exhibit of the watercolor paintings by the well-known early Santa Fe artist, Cady Wells (1904-1954). With over twenty-five works on display, the majority on loan from the New Mexico Museum of Art collection, the exhibit is a showcase for Wells' intensely personal modernist vision.

Coming Soon:

Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa
"Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray"
 Opening July 10 through September 11, 2016

This is an exhibit presenting photographs of the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, dating from 1937 to 1946. Photographer Nickolas Muray (1892-1965) first met Kahlo in Mexico while vacationing there in 1931. That meeting marked the beginning of a life-long friendship between the artist and photographer and led to a ten-year romance. Nickolas Muray had become a successful New York commercial photographer known for his portraits of celebrities, politicians, socialites and artists. Though he was a prolific photographer (his archives contain over 25,000 images), Muray photographed Kahlo more than any of his other subjects. Muray's portraits of Kahlo form a unique documentary of the colorful artist, and they remain a vital resource today.

Legion of Honor, San Francisco
"Wild West: Picturing America's Frontier"
Opening June 18 through September 11, 2016

Featuring paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, historical artifacts, and ephemera from the collections of the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, "Wild West" is presented in a thematic format inspired by various historical and cultural subjects of the American West. Marking the period from the frontier days to the present, the exhibit presents a great diversity of work from outstanding artists, including Albert Bierstadt, Edward Curtis, Maynard Dixon, Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, Fritz Scholder, Wayne Thiebaud, and many others. The show highlights the continued fascination people have for the multifaceted history and images of the American West.


by Stacia Lewandowski

By the early 1920s, Santa Fe and Taos were already home to a wide variety of well-established and respected artists. The Taos Society of Artists, founded in 1915, was actively exhibiting their new works in Santa Fe's art museum in addition to galleries and museums in other cities around the country. The Santa Fe Art Colony, a more loosely formed group of resident artists, regularly shared museum exhibits with their Taos counterparts. At the same time they also sought opportunities to expand their reach to the wider American public.

When these artists exhibited outside of New Mexico, they drew the attention of audiences for their distinctive artwork. Showing scenes of domestic Pueblo life, rural Hispanic villages, and the rugged New Mexico landscape, the works were representative of a burgeoning new genre, unique to American art. It was unmistakably Southwestern. Undoubtedly, these exhibits helped build interest in the art of the Southwest. They became a catalyst, drawing other artists to explore the region and challenge their own artistic aspirations. But, considering the unusually large number of artists who visited and worked in New Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century, it is important to remember another component to this story, vital to the creation of Southwestern art at this time.

The Museum of New Mexico's Art Gallery--today's New Mexico Museum of Art--was inaugurated in November of 1917. From the beginning, the museum promised to operate with an "open door" policy toward artists. The mission statement that the museum published made a very unusual pledge that acted as an enticement, offering any serious artist working in New Mexico the right to exhibit their work in this state-run museum. As a result, this policy became a highly motivating factor in encouraging artists to work in the Southwest.

In recognition of this unique circumstance, we have assembled a broad range of outstanding artworks created in New Mexico to display in our online exhibition, "Under the Radar."

As time went on, Santa Feans couldn't help but notice the influx of artists. It became a common topic of discussion. In 1934, Santa Fe author, Ruth Laughlin, posed some questions to artists and revealed their answers in "The Santa Fe New Mexican":

CONTINUED:  "Why do we come to Santa Fe? What is the fascination?" An unnamed eastern artist was quoted as saying: "'I am hypnotized with what I've heard of Santa Fe, of its charm, picturesqueness, atmosphere. What's it all about? . . . I decide that it isn't what I've heard of Santa Fe. It's something in the place itself. I don't know what it is, but it's here.'" And in September, 1935, the museum's "El Palacio" magazine included an article about the Fiesta exhibit, calling it: "Southwestern Artists Annual Show." In this exhibit, it is remarkable to see the great number of names--well over one hundred artists--on the roster. Peppered throughout are all the majors, including Blumenschein, Sharp, Dunton, Cassidy, and Sloan. Yet the list, as a whole, is a dramatic snapshot of the great number of artists working to produce art in the Southwest at that time.

As a result of such flowering efforts, comprising both established and aspiring artists, New Mexico became well known as an art center. The state's fame rested not only on its many art colonies, but also on its itinerant artists in search of inspiring subjects. Today we think of ourselves as a mobile population, but traveling has been a common thread in the careers of numerous artists throughout history. From 1920 onward, Santa Fe and Taos have witnessed the regularly revolving movement of artists working, visiting, sharing ideas, and exhibiting in the museum.

The remarkable breadth of works in our "Under the Radar" online exhibit is a testament to this fertile period of time in New Mexico.


Catlin & Bodmer: Into the West

by Stacia Lewandowski

It's difficult to imagine anyone who had a greater influence on the image making of the early American West than artists George Catlin and Karl Bodmer. And because they were among the first artists to journey into the West, the accounts of their experiences are the stuff of true adventure. Interestingly, in a remarkable coincidence of history, the two artists found themselves working in the same region, on many of the same subjects, at almost the same time.

By the early 1830s, the West was still a new vast territory for the United States, the majority of it still unexplored. What was known was detailed in descriptive language, primarily as notes from government explorations or kept in the keen memories of the fur traders who stored huge amounts of information in their heads. Up to that point, only one government-sponsored expedition had included artists. In 1820, an expedition led by Major Stephen H. Long brought along Titian Peale and Samuel Seymour, who mainly focused on depictions of the plants, animals, and landscapes they encountered.

Therefore, when two artists arrived in Saint Louis only one year apart--between 1832 and 1833--it made for a striking confluence of events. Each held the surprising expectation to follow the perilous journey of the fur trappers, going by boat up the Missouri River in order to stop at various points along the way to paint the Native American people, the villages, village life and customs, as well as the surrounding landscapes in which they thrived.

George Catlin was the first to arrive. A young artist working in Philadelphia, Catlin aspired to become the artist of the Native American people living west of the Mississippi River. Catlin wrote: "The history and customs of such a people, preserved by pictorial illustrations are themes worthy the lifetime of one man, and nothing short of the loss of my life, shall prevent me from visiting their country, and of becoming their historian." By the 1830s, it was obvious to him that the Native cultures living east of the river had already lost much of their original pre-contact identity.

CONTINUED: Over the course of several years Catlin made many trips into the West, after which he developed his "Indian Gallery" that was exhibited with much fanfare in the U.S. and Europe. In his book, "North American Indians: Being Letters and Notes on Their Manners, Customs, and Conditions, Written During Eight Years' Travel Amongst the Wildest Tribes of Indians in North America 1832-1839" Catlin documented the work he accomplished, writing that he visited forty-eight tribes, most of which spoke different languages, and brought home over three hundred portraits in oil and two hundred other oil paintings depicting views of the villages, ceremonies, dances, games, buffalo hunting, and landscapes. Catlin is credited with being among the first artists to ever depict the all-important buffalo hunt, and is surely among the first artists to witness such a scene on horseback with pencil and sketchbook in hand.

At the age of twenty-three, in 1833, the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer accompanied Alexander Phillip Maximilian, the Prince of Wied-Neuwied, Germany, on a journey into the pristine wilds of the American West. Maximilian was a respected naturalist who wanted to study the native peoples of North America. Bodmer was hired to create the images to illustrate the Prince's research. Bodmer proved to be a marvelous watercolorist, capable of rendering not only a scene or a physical likeness accurately, but also of conveying tremendous aesthetic sensitivity.

During their thirteen-month journey along the Missouri River, Bodmer and Maximilian visited many Native American villages and trappers' forts, experiencing encounters with some of the same people who had met with Catlin the year before. Fortunately, the two artists did not duplicate much of the same subject matter. Catlin never went into the Blackfoot country and only visited the Mandan in their summer villages (they moved seasonally); Bodmer visited during the winter months. At Fort McKenzie in Blackfoot country near the Marias River, Bodmer and the Prince witnessed a fierce battle between members of the Piegan tribe, who were encamped outside the fort, and about 600 Assiniboine and Cree, who suddenly swarmed on horseback. Maximilian reported that when they looked out from their perch on a platform, the entire vista of prairie was filled with the chaos and calamity of fighting on horseback and on foot. The battle lasted all day. Bodmer had plenty of time to make depictions of the scene.

Following the expedition, Maximilian's journal, "Travels in the Interior of North America," was published in German, French and English editions. Bodmer's watercolor paintings that illustrate the text were made into reproducible images as aquatint engravings. Today much of the Maximilian-Bodmer materials survive and are held in the collection of the Joslyn Art Museum, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Local Exhibits - March 2016


New Mexico Museum of Art
"Stage, Setting, Mood: Theatricality in the Visual Arts"
Through May 1, 2016

This exhibit looks at the idea of how the art of setting a theatrical stage might have influenced artists in the Southwest, showing examples of dramatic "settings" in visual compositions. The imagery includes landscapes and town scenes, local interactions, and performers where the artist has demonstrated a kind of staged approach to the subject. The exhibit shows how an artist's use of shallow arrangements and dramatic lighting help to convey a mood and tell a story.


"Southwestern Sampler"
Revolving exhibit - ongoing

A regular feature at the museum is a dedicated gallery space to showcase works by the cherished artists of early New Mexico, including those by Taos Society Artists, Santa Fe Art Colony members and assorted others. This is a changing exhibit, pulled from the museum's vast collection, so it's worthwhile to stop in and see the exhibit whenever you have the opportunity.

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
"A Great American Artist. A Great American Story"
Through December 31, 2017

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum announced that it has reorganized its gallery spaces along a thematic format reflecting the varied work of Georgia O'Keeffe. Presented "to offer a deeper understanding of O’Keeffe’s art, life, and times," the museum will display, on a revolving basis, the artist's paintings, art materials, as well as photographs and documents from her life. The themes for the gallery installations are: Abstract Nature; Becoming a Modern Artist; Georgia O'Keeffe's New Mexico; My New Yorks; American Icon(s); Preserving A Legacy; and The Wideness and Wonder of the World.


"Susan York: Carbon"
Through April 17, 2016

The museum is presenting graphite drawings and cast-graphite sculpture by contemporary Santa Fe-based artist Susan York. Installed in a dynamic manner throughout the museum, York's works are intended to be seen as a counterpoint to, or "in dialogue" with, O’Keeffe’s paintings and drawings.

Susan York is best known for her cast-graphite sculpture and large-scale graphite drawings of asymmetrical forms on paper. As a high school student in New Mexico, York was inspired by O'Keeffe's presence and work in New Mexico: “There were very few women artists at that time,” says York, “and in New Mexico we were lucky to have Georgia O’Keeffe as a living artist and example.”

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
“Landscape of an Artist: Living Treasure Dan Namingha”
Opens March 20, 2016

CONTINUED: Every year, Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival designates one artist as the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s Living Treasure. To coincide with this year's designation of Dan Namingha as the "Living Treasure," the museum will be presenting an exhibition of his work from the MIAC collection as well as loans from other institutions.

Dan Namingha hails from a noted family of artists: he is the great-great grandson of famed Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo (1856-1942), considered one of the finest Hopi potters. She inspired many family members over several generations to make pottery and art, including daughters Fannie Nampeyo and Annie Healing. A 2014 exhibit at the Museum of Northern Arizona, “Nampeyo, Namingha —Tradition & Transition,” presented the works of four generations of artists descended from Nampeyo, including Dan Namingha and his sons Arlo and Michael.


Taos Art Museum
"Nicolai Fechin: A Vision of Home"

This exhibit explores Fechin's personal concept of “home,” as it relates to the importance, for him, of being separated from his homeland and having to make his home in a new location. “Nicolai Fechin: A Vision of Home” is displayed upstairs at the Taos Art Museum's Fechin House. It "explores both the physical home the artist fashioned for his family after fleeing the devastation of the Russian Revolution and civil wars, and the home he found in his art—the only home he could take with him."


"Visions of the West"

Downstairs at the Fechin House, “Visions of the West” explores how the Western environment, its dramatic landscapes, its ever-changing atmosphere, and its people, have long served as inspiration for artists in the Southwest.

Harwood Museum
"John De Puy: Painter of the Apocalyptic Volcano of the World"
Through May 1, 2016

The Southwest landforms and its native people are the immediate source of my work. This land speaks of another time sense than our Western European lineal time. It is the land, its myths and dreams of wholeness, that nourish me. —John De Puy

Years ago, John De Puy made a promise to himself and others that his mission as a painter was to chronicle the American Southwest. Known as an expressionist who exhibited with many of the Taos Moderns, he continues his work today striving to capture the spiritual in art.

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