Friday, January 30, 2015

The Songs of the Fifty States: New Mexico

(What is "The Songs of the Fifty States"?)

Art in New Mexico is inextricably connected with Georgia O'Keeffe; here is
her Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico.

New Mexico!
Size: 315,194 km2 (5th)

2014 Population: 2,085,572 (36th)

Statehood: 1912 (47th).

American Human Development Index: 4.52 (40th)

Art Mecca: Where is the art hub of New Mexico?  I asked a current resident, who replied that "I don't think we have any must-sees. Plenty of fresh galleries though."  I believe that this is generally true, but as you know, I like to be thorough.  So, I also asked an actual professional artist who was trained at the University of New Mexico, but she didn't get back to me. 

Talking about art in New Mexico is a bit quirky, anyway, in that maybe more than any other U.S. state it's got its own indigenous fine-arts culture.  There are Native American traditions, there are various gradations of "Southwestern Art" -- some of which aren't at all tacky! -- and there is the "artists' colony" of Taos, through the stucco halls of which an impressive array of 20th century modern artists passed. 

The combination of the happening local arts scene and the relative newness of most cultural institutions in a late-to-urbanize state mean that the art museums of New Mexico aren't your typical regional collections of obscure works by famous European masters.  The closest you'll get to that sort of thing is the University of New Mexico Art Museum, which has a scattering of Old Masters stuff and quite a bit of Early Modern Art.  Up I-25 in Santa Fe, meanwhile, is the New Mexico Museum of Art, which by all appearances is a bona fide, robust regional art museum that straight up doesn't give a damn about East Coast and European painting.  I'd kind of like to check that out.

Which museum is more important?  NMMA has about 8500 Facebook likes, whereas the UNMAM seems refreshingly oblivious to the whole social media thing.  What the heck, they're only 60 miles apart.  Let's visit both of them!

Michael 5000's New Mexico

First Visited: June 1, 1997 (33rd)
Most Recently Visited: July 25, 2014 (5th)

First Run In: May 25, 2013
Best Run: 4.04 miles, Raton, 5/25/13

Have Admired the Visual Arts In: No.
Have Geohashed In: No.
Have Slept Overnight In: Yes.

Counties Visited: 7/33 (41st)
% Complete: 21.2% (39th)

Mrs. 5000's Counties Visited: 17/33 (23rd)
% Complete: 51.5% (19th)
Mrs.5000 First Visited: Unknown
Mrs.5000 Most Recently Visited: May 26, 2013 

Atlas of All Roads Travelled

The little green bit was added in May 2013.  The red stretch was added on a hot July day in 2014.

Plans and Aspirations

It would be fun to drive around in New Mexico.  But maybe that's just the seasonal affective disorder talking.

1 comment:

Michael5000 said...

Atypically, there was some buzz about this one on the FB rebroadcast:

Linda: when i was teaching in arizona some friends and i went to sante fe for a weekend trip and we visited the georgia o'keefe wasn't as good as i had hoped it would be...i love her work...haven't been to the other galleries you mentioned. textiles and jewelry were artforms that were not only popular when i was there but were valued as a tribal/family tradition...lots of meaning and significance. when i was getting ready to move back to oregon one of my students presented me with a small woven navajo piece that his grandmother had made for's really beautiful.

Michael5000: Last year, Mrs.5000 and I went to Hawai'i and visited the art museum in Honolulu, where we saw the world's quirkiest Georgia O'Keefe exhibit. Apparently the Dole Pineapple people commissioned her to come out to Hawai'i and paint pineapple-related things. She got a nice check and a vacation; they got to use Georgia O'Keefe paintings in an unusually classy series of pineapple juice ads. So now I associate O'Keefe with pineapples.

Alysia: I wish I had known your intentions when you asked! I could have sent you profiles of various local artists. There's a pretty vibrant scene of young artists in Las Cruces.

Linda: that is really funny..o'keefe bought out by dole ...interesting that dole picked her to do it....

Michael5000: Alysia is "local resident" in the write-up. Thanks, Alysia! Sorry I didn't tell you what I was up to.

The Dole-O'Keefe story is told here ( although they are wrong about her not actually painting pineapples.

Michael5000: Incidentally, if anyone from the Dole Pineapple outfit wants to send me to Hawai'i to write glib little essays for advertisements, or make pineapple themed quilts, I am more than ready to discuss particulars.