Prints and drawings by celebrated Chicano sculptor confront myths and issues surrounding the border and the idea of cultural purity

Luís Jiménez: Motion and Emotion opens at Albuquerque Museum on January 16

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Albuquerque Museum is pleased to present Luís Jiménez: Motion and Emotion, an exhibition of prints and drawings from the permanent collection of Albuquerque Museum. The exhibition opens January 16, 2021

Luís Jiménez’s work covers a full swath of human emotions; at times humorous, at others, heart wrenching and unabashedly political. His work often challenges viewers to confront myths and issues surrounding la frontera (the border) and the idea of cultural purity. Jiménez became well-known through his sculptures featuring bold colors, muscular figures, lively movement, political themes, working class heroes, even glitter and lights. While much of the sculpture of the ‘60s and ‘70s tended toward abstraction and minimalism, Jiménez boldly focused on the figure, especially Chicano/a figures, creating characters that were larger than life and impossible to overlook in the public settings where they were placed. His drawing skills were equally vibrant, infused with a sense of movement and action. Many of the drawings and lithographs seen in this gallery were realized as sculptures such as Southwest Pieta, Border Crossing, and Sodbuster.

Jiménez was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. His mother was of Mexican descent and his father immigrated from Mexico as a child. Jiménez grew up working in his father’s neon sign studio which instilled in him a love for hard work and hand-craft as well as a taste for bright color and action. His early work experience also introduced him to the material that would become one of his signatures: fiberglass. After receiving his BFA from the University of Texas, Austin in 1964, he lived in Mexico City for two years, studying the work of Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Clear influences from these artists, especially Orozco, are evident in Jiménez’s treatment of the figure – he emphasizes muscles, curves, sometimes even veins and tendons and drops of sweat, depicted through quick and lively marks. Jiménez spent six years in New York City before moving to New Mexico in the early 1970s where he lived for the rest of his life. The artist was tragically killed in his studio when a piece of his sculpture, Blue Mustang (now outside of the Denver Airport), fell on him, severing an artery in his leg. Jiménez lives on through his work which illustrates his dynamism as an artist who pushed many political, artistic, and cultural boundaries.

Jiménez used his art to humanize and uplift individuals who have been marginalized and dismissed by society," says Curator of Art Josie Lopez, Ph.D. "In his drawings and lithographs that often served as studies for fiberglass sculptures he would produce, Jiménez honors the individuals who risk their lives and face exploitation, deportation, and discrimination in search of a better life."


In addition to this exhibition of works on paper, visitors can also see two major sculptural works of art by Luís Jiménez at the museum.

Progress I, 1974, a fiberglass sculpture seen in the museum’s west lobby, depicts a Native American on horseback, hunting a buffalo. This sculpture is part of a series that explores the inhabitants that settled the Western United States. Some initially rejected Jiménez’s use of unorthodox materials; he succeeded in introducing industrial materials to the world of art which he used to challenge the definitions of fine art and sculpture.

Jiménez's Howl, 1986, a cast and patinated bronze sculpture seen in the exhibition Common Ground, turns the tourist icon of a howling coyote into a Mexican Wolf howling for his species and future.

Luís Jiménez: Motion and Emotion, was organized by Curator of Art Josie M. Lopez, Ph.D. and Assistant to the Curator of Art Lacey Chrisco.

Luís Jiménez: Motion and Emotion
Albuquerque Museum
Opens January 16, 2021

Admission to this exhibition is included with paid general admission. All visitors—including members and children—must purchase general admission tickets online and in advance of arriving at the Museum.

The Museum is enforcing COVID-safe practices. Masks must be worn at all times while in the Museum.

Albuquerque Museum
2000 Mountain Road NW
Albuquerque NM 87104

Albuquerque Museum has served as the city's cultural center since 1967. Located in the heart of Old Town, the Museum is a leading institution for art, history, and culture in the Southwest. Albuquerque Museum is a division of the Cultural Services Department, City of Albuquerque.


Media Contact: Denise Crouse
[email protected]
January 7, 2020 

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