New Mexico Museum of Art

Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist: Free lecture by Dr. Sharyn Udall and other activities

October 10, 2019

Daniel Zillmann

(Santa Fe, NM) – Dr. Sharyn Udall will give a free lecture entitled “Agnes Pelton and Georgia O’Keeffe: Natural and Mystical Impulses” on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 1 p.m. at the New Mexico Museum of Art. This lecture is collaborated with the traveling exhibition, Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist, currently on view at the Museum of Art. Dr. Sharyn Udall is an art historian, author, and independent curator who has written, taught and lectured widely on 19th and 20th century American and European art. The author of eight books, as well as many exhibition catalogs and scholarly articles, her special research interests include the art of the Southwest, American modernism, women in the visual arts, and the creative connections among visual artists, performing artists and writers. Her most recent book is Dance and American Art: A Long Embrace. 

New Mexico residents 60 and older are admitted free on Wednesdays with ID.


Activity Station at the Museum of Art

An activity station connected with the exhibition has three opportunities to engage - perfect for children, families, or anyone visiting Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist.

Explore Color and Shapes: Use a light box and shapes to make a composition which individuals can draw using colored pencils and paper.

Write a Poem: Agnes Pelton was a writer as well as a visual artist. Many of her paintings have an associated poem that Pelton wrote. Write a poem inspired by one of her paintings.

Sensory Drawing: Synesthesia is a condition which allows a person to process one sense in more than one way. For an example, what if you could both hear and see a sound? Agnes Pelton didn’t have synesthesia, but she did work with the idea of what different senses would look like. Put on the headphones, close your eyes, and listen to the sounds. Do the sounds help you “see” anything in your mind? Then try to draw what you hear.


More about the exhibition

The traveling exhibition, Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist, on view now until January 5, 2020, surveys the works of an artist who made significant contributions within twentieth-century abstraction. Pelton’s work has been associated with Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley, and yet remained unrepresented in critical artistic spaces until recently. The exhibition contextualizes Pelton with her peers in the American modernist abstraction movement.

More than forty works on view reflect Pelton’s interests in enigmatic practices such as numerology and Agnes Yogi. The subjects of her paintings balance conceptual forms with objects haloed and wreathed by unseen sources, distinguishing her body of work. Considered a pioneering force, Pelton’s paintings animate energy and vibrations that bloom around the astral and physical bodies of the desert. These crystalline studies did not gather audiences during Pelton’s life but set her work at the forefront of modern scholarship about American abstraction of the early 1900s.

Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist is organized by Phoenix Art Museum.


About the New Mexico Museum of Art

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Museum of New Mexico Board of. Programs and exhibits are supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its generous donors.

Founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Art has been presenting innovative arts programming in downtown Santa Fe for more than a century. At its founding, the museum collected and exhibited artworks by noted artists from New Mexico and elsewhere. This tradition continues today with a wide array of exhibitions and a significant collection featuring work from the world’s leading artists. Today, as at its founding, the Museum of Art strives to bring the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico. Museum exhibitions and programs are supported by donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its Director’s Leadership Fund and Exhibitions Development Fund.

107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, just off the downtown Plaza in Santa Fe, NM 87501.   24 Hr. Recorded Message: (505) 476-5072; Front desk: (505) 476-5041. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April, closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Events, news releases, and images about activities at the History Museum and Palace of the Governors and other in divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at

Related Photos

Mother of Silence
Fires in Space
The Ray Serene
The Blest

Back to Press Release List »