Art has rescued this state from the commonplace and made it conscious of its own fine character.<br /> Edgar Lee Hewett
The Governors Gallery kicks off 100 years of museums and monuments with a timelined sampling of treasures and photographs.
Each of the states four museums and six monuments contributed objects and images to the fourth floor space in the Roundhouse.
Considered the largest in the country, the sprawling state museum system was founded in 1909 at the Palace of the Governors three years before New Mexicos statehood by Territorial Legislation House Bill 100.
This is the super-condensed Readers Digest version of that history, Governors Gallery curator Merry Scully said.
It was a big challenge, she continued. Its a complicated history that interacts with other institutions. It grew into what we now know as the Department of Cultural Affairs. Visitors can see archaeologist and Museum of New Mexico founder Edgar Lee Hewetts pith helmet and monogrammed trowel, as well as his portable field desk.
It has his personal stationery, Scully said. It has his School of American Research stationery and it has his stationery from the University of Southern California and his fountain pens.
By 1917, I.H. and William M. Rapp had designed and built the New Mexico Museum of Art (formerly the Museum of Fine Arts), based on the architects buildings at the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. Its Pueblo Revival towers and vigas launched what has come to be known and insufferably mimicked as Santa Fe style. The building combines aspects of several Southwestern regional motifs, including designs from the facades of the Spanish mission churches at Acoma, Laguna and San Felipe pueblos.
Founded in 1953, the Museum of International Folk Art provided the Governors Gallery with two versions of Santo Niño, the Roman Catholic depiction of the infant Jesus popular in the Southwest, especially in New Mexico.
Marion Martinez constructed a shiny Santo Niño de Atocha (2001/02) from computer circuit boards, wire, wood, ribbon and cable, marrying traditional and high-tech components into a 21st century hybrid. Juan Sanchez constructed his traditional santo, Christ Child Enthroned (Niño Escondido), from wood, blue, gesso, paint, glass and wire in the 1930s.
A polychrome pot by Maria Martinez crowns the offerings from the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. The great potter modeled her full-scale designs after prehistoric works excavated by Hewett near San Ildefonso Pueblo. Martinez coiled her own examples for the museum and launched a career that would take her to the Worlds Fair and the White House.
Slated for a Memorial Day opening, the History Museum is providing the inaugural dress worn by Carrie Tingley, wife of New Mexico Gov. Clyde Tingley (1935-38). The rich purple and blue velvet gown sparkles with a rhinestone and glass belt.
Seven pueblo paintings from the Dorothy Dunn collection include works by Joe Herrera (Cochiti Pueblo, Elk Dance, ca. 1947), known for his dance figures and abstractions, and Manuel Trujillo (San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh, Deer Dance, ca. 1938). In the mid-1920s, Dunn helped establish the art studio at the Santa Fe Indian School. Dunn insisted her students use Native American subjects and a flat, two-dimensional style, which to her yielded authentic representations of a culture free from foreign influence. During the formation of the Institute of American Indian Arts, critics challenged this once-accepted definition as a hindrance to creativity.
From the Museum of International Folk Art comes Swedish needlework donated by museum founder Florence Dibble Bartlett.
Dating to 1802, the textile is comprised of painting, silk and gouache on linen. Dibble Bartlett established the museum with 2,500 objects from more than 100 countries.
The Folk Art Museum is one of the largest museums of its kind in the country, Scully said. She was a visionary who spent a lot of her time here and donated her substantial collection.
Early Spanish Colonial furniture from the New Mexico Museum of Art includes a Pueblo Revival chest based on designs found at Acoma Pueblo.
Founded in 1975, the Governors Gallery is an outreach facility of the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Department of Cultural Affairs, providing an average of six exhibitions annually. Its first exhibition featured the paintings of Georgia OKeeffe. The gallery will host a public reception on Feb. 19, New Mexico Culture Day.
WHAT: 100 Years of the Museum of New Mexico
WHERE: Governors Gallery, the Roundhouse, Fourth Floor, at the intersection of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta
WHEN: Through March 22