FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2017
The New Mexico Museum of Art is seeking statewide input into which works from its vast collection will appear in part of the exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the museum’s opening through online voting taking place July 1 - Oct 31, 2017, at the museum’s website: nmartmuseum.org.
The “Community Choice” online poll will feature 40 popular works from the over 23,000 total in the museum’s collection. The most-chosen works will appear in the exhibition opening Nov. 25 at the Santa Fe-based museum.
After online voting closes on October 31, the results will not be made public until the exhibition opens on November 25.
“Engaging with our community and our visitors from around the world is engrained in this museum’s identity,” said Mary Kershaw, director of the museum. “We are striving every day to make a visit to New Mexico’s oldest art museum about conversations rather than telling our community and our visitors what experience have here.”
Indeed, seeking the public’s ideas to shape the centennial exhibition is very much in line with other instances in the museum’s nearly 100-year history where a democratized approach has been used to shape exhibitions. For example, between 1917 and 1951, the museum had an “open door” policy for local artists exhibit their work. Many of those early works are now part of the museum’s collection.
The museum’s collection contains works by some of the most beloved names in southwestern art. Georgia O’Keeffe, Gustave Baumann, Ray Martin Abeyta, Ansel Adams, Ernest L. Blumenschein, Judy Chicago, Andrew Dasburg, Betty Hahn, E. Martin Hennings, Agnes Pelton, Cady Wells, Robert Tenorio, Laura Gilpin, Raymond Jonson, Robert Henri, Peter Hurd, as well as many others are represented. The centennial exhibition will have portions dedicated to areas of interest including post-World War II art, photography and the museum’s role in advancing it as a medium of art, and early-20th century art.
The overall goal of the centennial exhibition – aside from commemorating the museum’s “birthday” – is to demonstrate the role New Mexican art and artists have played in re-shaping the art world over the last 100 years, said Merry Scully, the museum’s head of curatorial affairs.
“We are excited to see what the public selects as their favorite works,” Scully said. “Listening to the public voice to celebrate our centennial is in keeping with our history.”
Scully added that the museum is also a rare resource for fans of the visual arts in that it has always had a focus on contemporary art, though much of the museum’s older works are now considered “classic” due to time and heightened appreciation of southwestern art and artists.
“The New Mexico Museum of Art has given both voice and venue to artists since it was established nearly 100 years ago,” she said. “It has had a significant role in establishing that place by calling attention to the art and artists who were here 100 years ago and by luring many more here these last ten decades.”