New Mexico Museum of Art

Assumed Identities: Photographs by Anne Noggle

March 07, 2016


“The image I seek is of youth betrayed by age, of spirit so strong but fragile with time.”  Anne Noggle

Pilot, photographer, professor, and poet, Anne Noggle (1922-2005) began  her groundbreaking career as a photographer late in life but quickly gained recognition for her witty and honest work.

Assumed Identities: Photographs by Anne Noggle opens at the New Mexico Museum of Art on Saturday, April 2, 2016 and runs through September 11, 2016. A free to the public opening is on Friday, April 1 from 5.30 to 7.30pm.

Drawn from the museum’s extensive holdings of her work, Assumed Identities reintroduces the artist to the public ten years after her death. The show traces Noggle from her beginnings in photography in the late 1960s and early 1970s where we see her searching for subject matter in the early pieces – many taken in and around her home in Albuquerque. These photographs are the earliest inklings of the subject Noggle pursued most often in her career: herself and her world.

Noggle was influenced by Julia Margaret Cameron, Diane Arbus, and August Sander’s revealing photographic portrayals of family and friends, the ordinary work-a-day prol, and even the obscure or freakish. When Noggle turned the camera on herself she became known for her unblinking self-portraits including those showing herself recovering from a facelift, nudes made when she was in her seventies, as well as portraits of elderly women that hint at their rich lives. Noggle’s self-portraits present many guises to the camera – some real, some imaginary – and connect her firmly with both the feminist artists of the 1970s and to a long line of contemporary female photographic self-portraiture as seen in the work of Cindy Sherman, Gay Block, and others. “People tell me that the photographs of me are not in any way flattering,” the artist told curator Anne Tucker in 1993. “They are not meant to be. They are supposed to be real.”

Noggle’s place in the world of photography is somewhat unheralded. One of her most significant contributions to the field of photographic history was the groundbreaking exhibition, Women of Photography: An Historical Survey, a show she co-curated in 1975 with San Francisco Bay Area photographer Margery Mann and an inspiration for young artists at the time. Noggle received a Guggenheim Fellowship, three NEA awards, and an honorary doctorate from the University of New Mexico. Additionally, she was the museum’s first photography curator (1970 to 1976), and her work has been on view many times at the New Mexico Museum of Art; first in a 1968 photography competition and ten subsequent times in either group or survey shows.

Katherine Ware, both the exhibition curator and the museum’s Curator of Photography noted that, “Noggle was important in the development of photography in New Mexico. With more than 100 pieces of her work in the museum’s collection, her contributions as an artist have yet to be fully appreciated or evaluated. Assumed Identities is an attempt to examine her work in depth on the 10th anniversary of her death.”

About Anne Noggle

Born in Illinois, Noggle earned a pilot’s license by her senior year in high school, at a time when very few women were pilots. Working as a flight instructor, she served as a Women’s Air Force Service Pilot (WASP) during World War II. Following the war, she taught flying, did stunts for an aerial circus, and did crop-dusting throughout the Southwest. She then went on active duty with the Air Force and served overseas. Working in Paris for a time, her visits to the Louvre sparked her interest in art. From her crop-dusting work Noggle developed emphysema forcing her retirement from flying. She then moved to Albuquerque and at the age of thirty-eight enrolled as a freshman in art history at the University of New Mexico. Taking a studio art requirement, she developed photographs for the first time and felt the same kind of excitement she had experienced as a pilot, saying, “There is a resemblance, I think, between flying and photography. Both are done alone, in concept anyway, and both require independence and optimism, and some dumb courage.” She went on to earn a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree in Art and Art History in 1966; she subsequently continued graduate studies in photography from 1966 until she earned a master’s degree in 1970. Her emphasis on portraiture was distinctly at odds with the focus of the art department at that time as shaped by Van Deren Coke but Noggle stood by her vision.

Self-Regard: Artist Self-Portraits from the Collection

In the gallery adjacent to Assumed Identities: Photographs by Anne Noggle, visitors to the museum will see the complementary exhibition, Self-Regard: Artist Self-Portraits from the Collection. Here, about twenty self-portraits in all media will be on view by such noted artists as Ilse Bing, John Candelario, Steve Catron, Ruben Gonzalez, Käthe Kollwitz, Barbara Latham, Tom Macaione, Joyce Neimanas, Holly Roberts, Robert Stivers, Alex Traube, and others. Like Noggle, these artists use a variety of approaches to explore identity, using realism, props and pictorial devices.  Drawing inspiration from the works on view in both shows, visitors will be able to create their own self-portraits in the gallery.

Both Assumed Identities: Photographs by Anne Noggle and Self-Regard: Artist Self-Portraits from the Collection open at the New Mexico Museum of Art on Saturday, April 2, 2016 and run through September 11, 2016. A free to the public opening for both exhibitions is on Friday, April 1 from 5.30 to 7pm.

Media Contacts: Steve Cantrell, PR Manager, 505-476-1144, and Kate Ware, Curator of Photography, 505-476-5088,


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 close to 100 years.  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 New Mexico Museum of Art strives to bring 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 Department of Cultural Affairs, New Mexico’s cultural steward charged with preserving and showcasing the state’s cultural riches. Museum exhibitions and programs are supported by donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its Director’s Leadership Fund, Exhibitions Development Fund, and Fund for Museum Education.

The Museum is located at 107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, just off the downtown Plaza. 24 Hr. Recorded Message: 505-476-5072; Front desk: 505-476-5041. November through April the museum is open Tuesdays - Sundays: 10 am-5 pm and open for free 5 to 8 pm on the first Friday of the month. May through October the museum is open 7 days a week 10 am-5 pm and is open for free every Friday night from 5 to 8 pm. The Museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Weather conditions may require the Museum to close; you can check with the Front Desk at 505-476-5041. Visit us on the web for the latest updates at


Related Photos

Anne Noggle, Darkroom, 1981
Anne Noggle, Homage to Meatyard, 1986
Anne Noggle, It is I, It is He, It is She (Homage to Van Deren Coke), 1986
Anne Noggle, Mary, 1981
Anne Noggle, Moonlight Over Albuquerque, 1976
Anne Noggle, Myself as a Guggenheim Fellow, 1982
Anne Noggle, Myself as a Pilot, 1982
Anne Noggle, Self-Image in Cochiti Lake, 1978
Anne Noggle, Yolanda: Sic Transit Gloria Sepse (Thus Passes the Glory of Yourself)
Anne Noggle, Santa Fe Summer #1

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