New Mexico Museum of Art

Taming the Wild West: The Arts in New Mexico’s Journey to Statehood

February 17, 2012


On Friday, February 17, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. the New Mexico Museum of Art will present the second in a series of monthly presentations on the New Mexico Centennial.

In the 19th century New Mexico was famous for its colorful and often violent frontier life. Last month three evocative storytellers, MARK LEE GARDNER, PAUL HUTTON, and HAMPTON SIDES, discussed some of the legends who defined it, among them Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, and Pat Garrett.

We now focus on the period from the 1880s to the 1920s, when civic leaders sought to prove that territorial New Mexico was ready for statehood. One strategy was to adopt building styles and other fashions that were popular in the rest of the nation. Another, which soon became dominant in Santa Fe, was to draw upon Native and Hispanic traditions and emphasize features that made our region unique.

To explore the role that architecture, painting, pottery, weaving, and other arts played in this key ransition, we’ll call on anthropologist NANCY OWEN LEWIS, a Research Associate and former Director of Scholar Programs at the School for Advanced Research, an institution that is pivotal to this arrative. Lewis co-authored A PECULIAR ALCHEMY, a history of SAR that traces Edgar Lee Hewett’s impact on Southwest culture. Joining her will be New Mexico Museum of Art curator JOSEPH TRAUGOTT, who has given us HOW THE WEST IS ONE, SOLE MATES, and other delightful exhibitions. Presiding over the gathering will be JOHN F. ANDREWS of the Shakespeare Guild, who serves on the New Mexico Humanities Council and hosts a popular Speaking of Shakespeare series in Manhattan.

ADMISSION $15 Reserve online at, call (505) 988-1234, or pay at the door.

SPONSORED BY THE NEW MEXICO MUSEUM OF ART 107 West Palace Avenue (505) 476-5071

Back to Press Release List »