New Mexico Museum of Art

Itís About Time: 14,000 Years of Art in New Mexico

March 12, 2013


It’s About Time: 14,000 Years of Art in New Mexico celebrates the centennial of statehood by presenting a social history of the art in the Southwest. This exhibition opens May 11, 2012 at the New Mexico Museum of Art and runs through January 5, 2014 and is an official New Mexico Centennial project.  High resolution images may be downloaded here from the Museum of New Mexico Media Center.

New Mexicans have always made art—we have always made aestheticized objects that reflect our world views. From beautifully made, 14,000-year-old Paleo-Indian tools to contemporary imagery, New Mexico art has reflected our changing technologies, embodied our ways of making a living, and personified our spirituality.

And where else but New Mexico has art reflected everything from the creators of stone tools to the invention of the atomic bomb?

Curated by Joseph Traugott, Ph.D., the museum’s curator of twentieth century art, the exhibition begins with the earliest yet-discovered art—Clovis points—and proceeds in an unbroken continuum to the present.

It’s About Time: 14,000 Years of Art in New Mexico displays 120 works of art that include Native American, Hispanic American, and European American works as a single, holistic tradition, not three separate traditions that never interact. Most of the objects in the exhibition were made to be art, others became art by metamorphosis when objects were understood in new cultural contexts. The works range from representational images to abstractions like Raymond Jonson’s paintings N and M, an obvious reference to New Mexico. The two paintings are part of his series of 26 works based on the letters of the alphabet.

As markers of the past and present, the works of art in It’s About Time spur aesthetic responses and a deeper understanding of the region’s diverse cultures—how the art of the early santeros evolved from the more baroque originally imported from Mexico to a more simplified expression to accommodate indigenous art-making materials and beliefs. Yet, innovation by Native artists was discouraged by early anthropologists who placed a premium on the artistic styles of the past which they considered to be more “authentic” and culturally pure; fortunately Maria and Julian Martinez did not hear this message influencing generations of artists who followed.

Other well-known artists in the exhibition include T.C. Cannon, Gerald Cassidy, Judy Chicago, E. Irving Couse, Robert Henri, Marsden Hartey, Luis Jimenez, Raymond Jonson, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, Florence Miller Pierce, Diego Romero, and Luis Tapia.

This centennial study encourages viewers to rethink the meaning of art and aesthetics in an intercultural manner. By doing so, we can transcend our personal perspectives and appreciate alternative aesthetic visions.

Museum of New Mexico Press is producing a related hard cover publication New Mexico Art Through Time: Prehistory to the Present. This social history of New Mexico art includes 240 full-color reproductions of Native American, Hispanic and European American art.

It’s About Time: 14,000 Years of Art in New Mexico is generously supported by the New Mexico Humanities Council, Newman’s Own Foundation, and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

Media Contacts:

Joe Traugott, Ph.D., Curator of Twentieth Century Art



Steve Cantrell, PR Manager



 The New Mexico Museum of Art was founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico. Housed in a spectacular Pueblo Revival building designed by I. H. and William M. Rapp, it was based on their New Mexico building at the Panama-California Exposition (1915). The museum's architecture inaugurated what has come to be known as "Santa Fe Style." For nearly 100 years, the Museum has celebrated the diversity of the visual arts and the legacy of New Mexico as a cultural crossroads by collecting and exhibiting work by leading artists from New Mexico and elsewhere. This tradition continues today with a wide-array of exhibitions with work from the world’s leading artists. The New Mexico Museum of Art brings the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Information for the Public 

Location: Santa Fe’s Plaza at 107 West Palace Avenue.

Information:  505-476-5072 or visit

Days/Times: Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.  Open Free on Fridays, 5:00-8:00 p.m. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day the Museum is open 7 days a week, including Mondays.

Admission: Adult single-museum admission is $6 for New Mexico residents, $9 for nonresidents; OR $15 for one-day pass to two museums of your choice (Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Museum of International Folk Art, New Mexico Museum of Art, and Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum) OR $20 four-day pass to the four museums listed above. Youth 16 and under, Foundation Members, and New Mexico Veterans with 50% or more disability always free.

Sundays: New Mexico residents with ID are admitted FREE, Students with ID receive a $1 discount. Wednesdays: New Mexico resident seniors (60+) with ID are free. Field Trips: There is no charge for educational groups attending the museum with their instructor and/or adult chaperones. Contact the Tours office by phone at (505) 476-1140 or (505) 476-1211 to arrange class/group visits to the Museum.




Related Photos

Clovis Point
Gallup Black-on-White Bowl from Chetro Ketl
First Atomic Expolosion at a Distance of About Five Miles, Trinity Site, New Mexico, July 16, 1945
Cui Bono?
Mons 2
Interior Courtyard of Pueblo, Santa Clara, New Mexico
Santa Coleta / St. Colette
Portrait of Dieguito Roybal, San Ildefonso Pueblo

Back to Press Release List »