With a number of new exhibits at Albuquerque and Santa Fe museums, the world seems to have come closer, within easy reach of residents and visitors.
Artist Judy Chicago, whose life’s work has been to change social views of women and art, will be celebrated for her contributions, on the occasion of her 75th birthday, at the New Mexico Museum of Art on the Santa Fe Plaza, in “Local Color: Judy Chicago in New Mexico 1984-2014.” The artist will showcase some of her recent work from the museum collection and her Belen studio.
Steve Cantrell, a spokesman for the state museums, says also some of the models and drawings from her internationally famous “The Dinner Party,” from 1979, on permanent exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, will be on display beginning June 6 to mid-October.
Nearby at the New Mexico History Museum through mid-October, the work of Chicago’s husband will be featured in “Donald Woodman: Transformed by New Mexico.” The exhibit shows the range of work of Woodman, an art photographer, beginning with his early years working as a research photographer at the Sacramento Peak Solar Observatory in southern New Mexico, through stars and clouds and sandy soil, mountain peaks and his own interior life.
Also at the History Museum, “Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography” explores alternate realities captured with those light-tight boxes and old-fashioned film. More than 225 images and 40 pinhole cameras are on display. According to the most recent issue of “El Palacio,” visitors are asked to explore: “Whose view of the world has the camera revealed?”
Up to Museum Hill off Old Santa Fe Trail, the Museum of International Folk Art will feature New Mexico animal wood carvings, “Wooden Menagerie: Made in New Mexico,” which opened in April and features the work of masters such as Felipe Benito Archuleta, Patrociñio Barela, and José Dolores López.
“I always think every day is a good day to visit a museum,” says Cantrell. “The animal show is going to be really fun,” he adds. State museums will have visitors’ favorite permanent exhibits as well.
Also on the hill, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s “Turquoise, Water, Sky: The Stone and Its Meaning,” opened in April and highlights the museum’s extensive collection of southwestern turquoise jewelry and presents all aspects of the stone, from geology, mining and history, to questions of authenticity and value. People have used turquoise for jewelry and ceremonial purposes and traded valuable stones both within and outside the Southwest for more than a thousand years, according to the museum’s website.
Down Interstate 25 to Albuquerque, museums will have plenty of new exhibits to engage most everyone.
Look for a range of size in art from giant to small at the Albuquerque Museum on Mountain Road NW.
In June an exhibit plans to focus on environmental artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, a married couple whose art has been to wrap, drape and draw attention to natural and architectural elements around the world. Although Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009, Christo has continued the work.
One early memorable project in 1976 was “The Fence,” 24.5 miles of fabric that stretched across roads and landscape in Sonoma and Marin counties in California. Another in 1983, “Surrounded Islands,” featured 6.5 million square feet of pink fabric that floated around 11 islands in Biscayne Bay in Florida.
“They have gone into places we think we know and allowed us to see them again with new eyes,” says the museum’s art curator Andrew Connors.
The exhibit is on loan from the Sonoma County Museum of Art in California.
Also, an exhibit of the small personal art of bolo ties, on loan from the Heard Museum in Phoenix, will find space at the museum. Vintage bolos, scarf slides and others, featuring the work of artists Charles Lolomaand Norbert Peshlakai, will be on display, says history curator Deb Slaney.
Another historical exhibit, “Everybody’s Neighbor: Vivian Vance,” will celebrate the life of the star, most famous from her work as Ethel Mertz in “I Love Lucy.” Vance lived in Albuquerque from 1929 to 1932, when she left to work on Broadway in New York. Vance, who passed away in 1979, helped found The Albuquerque Little Theatre, and often returned to Albuquerque for theater, social events and fundraisers, Slaney says. Events inspired by her work will be featured several times this summer.
Science and culture
Farther east on Mountain Road, Explora will have hands-on exhibits to explore a range of science through electricity, water, cameras, strobe lights and other phenomenon. “Exhibit All-Stars” displays proven outstanding exhibits from science and technology centers across the country. Another program, “Portal to the Public,” features local scientists, who about once a month share their work with the audience.
Across the street at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, robot dinosaurs will roam the museum in “Baby Robot Dinosaurs,” an exhibit of life-like baby dinosaurs. “They give visitors a glimpse of what these prehistoric creatures would have actually been like when they were alive. They move, they roar, and they amaze children and adults alike,” says spokesman Randall Gunn.
At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on 12th Street NW, artists Rose Pacheco of Santo Domingo and Billy Veale, a Navajo, will talk about Kewa pottery at 11 a.m. June 2.
Author anthropologist David E. Stuart will talk about “Archaeology, Efficiency and Survival: Northern New Mexico 1100-1500,” also at 11 a.m. July 7.
Traditional Native American dancers perform at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both Saturdays and Sundays. Events are free with admission.
Walk through history
Downtown Albuquerque is home to the Holocaust and Intolerance Museum, where a new interactive exhibit about propaganda can help visitors recognize it, says Lyn Berner of the museum.
Another exhibit features a video with Dr. Roy Shaffer of Albuquerque, who donated a flag from the Flossenbürg work camp in Germany. The surviving workers made the 48-star U.S. flag as well as a British and a Russian flag at the end of World War II, because they didn’t know which country would liberate them. Shaffer was one of the U.S. soldiers who helped free the camp. No one claimed the flag and Shaffer was allowed to bring it home.
Another tribute to the military will be the focus of a summer exhibit at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History on Eubank SE.
Director Jim Walther says the exhibit, “The American Military Family,” will honor American family contributions to military service through time: “It’s important to our entire community. We have so many families of active military with a history of service and so many veterans.”
The exhibit opens on Memorial Day and stretches through the summer with special lectures on topics like post traumatic stress disorder and reintegration, he says.
The outdoor display area, Heritage Park, will add a new bomber plane and the conning tower of a nuclear submarine, Walther says.
“We have a number of events all summer long,” Walther says. “We always have wonderful programming for families.”