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New Works from Living Local Artists at Albuquerque Museum

From prints and photographs to neon sculptures.
January 27, 2023

The City of Albuquerque's Department of Arts & Culture and Albuquerque Museum announce the acquisition of five major works of art and a collection of prints and photographs from six living Albuquerque artists. The acquisitions address diversity gaps in the Museum’s art collection and represent a $100,000 investment from Arts & Culture in response to a 2020 analysis of the Albuquerque Museum’s collections.

The acquisitions include a neon sculpture by Neil Ambrose Smith, sculpture by Vicente Telles and Jason Garcia, textile and audio by Raven Chacon, sculpture by Marietta Leis, a large-scale wood block print by Yoshiko Shimano, and several prints and photographs by Delilah Montoya.

“These recent acquisitions demonstrate that the Department of Arts & Culture along with the curatorial leadership at the Albuquerque Museum are committed to thoughtfully diversifying its permanent collection,” said Dr. Shelle Sanchez, director of Arts & Culture. “As well as a commitment to acquiring art from talented contemporary artists in our community.”

Neal Ambrose-Smith lives locally in Corrales and is a professor at IAIA in Santa Fe. Abstract in Your Home is a neon installation that explores concepts of home, abstract art, and cultural experiences. He describes a teepee as a perfectly engineered structure that is incredibly versatile, sturdy, and able to withstand the harsh conditions of the Southwestern climate. It also represents his Indigenous culture and demonstrates how the idea of home may be different depending on time and place but embodies universal ideas of shelter, familiarity, traditions, and family.

Vicente Telles and Jason Garcia are dynamic voices in the New Mexico art community. Telles, based in Albuquerque, is a santero, working within the Hispanic carving tradition and Garcia is from Santa Clara Pueblo, descended from several well-known Santa Clara potters including Gloria Garcia and Severa Tafoya. The altar La Malinche y Los Matachines demonstrates an intersection between Hispano and Pueblo culture and supports the Museum’s mission to continue to break down the “tri-cultural myth” by showing how different cultures within the state are connected.

Raven Chacon is a world renown composer and artist who is also an active member of the New Mexico art community. He continues to create work that is political and traverses the worlds of Indigenous and Chicano cultures. He is a 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner and has exhibited widely as a solo artist and as part of the collective called Postcommodity. Storm Pattern is a large-scale installation that explores music and the visual arts, Standing Rock, Indigenous history and activism, and new formats for contemporary art. It is one of the few new media works in the collection.

Marietta Leis is a contemporary artist from Albuquerque currently living and working in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Breathless 1–4 engages with the natural world reflecting on both the beauty and power of nature but also the fragility of the environment. As a sculptor and painter, Leis pushes the limits of scale and the materials that she is working with. She is interested in transforming spaces by utilizing series of objects, color, and spatial relationships to create connections between the viewer and the artwork.

Yoshiko Shimano is a contemporary artist living and working in Albuquerque as a professor and printmaker at the University of New Mexico. According to Shimano, “I am moved when human beings continue to live with pride and hope even under difficult circumstances like wars, natural disasters, poverty, or discrimination in its many different aspects.” Shimano’s Wisdom of Water explores 17th–19th century Tokyo and will allow for contemporary connections to be made with the museum’s collections of woodblock prints from the Edo period.

Delilah Montoya is a contemporary artist living and working in Albuquerque. Her work traverses the worlds of printmaking and photography. Montoya explores Chicano identity, culture, and history through her works that feature portraits presented from a culturally specific lens. She often works with individuals from Albuquerque to create powerful compositions that bring people, places, and culture together.

Now on View in Common Ground: Art in New Mexico 

A selection of photographs by Delilah Montoya has been installed in Albuquerque Museum's permanent art exhibition Common Ground: Art in New Mexico. Montoya’s photography conceptually delves into the experience of peoples of the Southwest, that is the mix of Native American, Aztec Mexican, and Spanish lineage. These cultures offer rich historical traditions and folklore imagery based in spiritual and religious practices. Montoya visually explores this iconography to discuss and confront outsider assumptions on stereotypes and the “documentary gaze” toward the Mesoamerican community. 

“The Albuquerque Museum is in an exciting phase. We have a talented team of curators and museum professionals who are committed to caring for and growing one of the important art collections in our region,” says Albuquerque Museum Head Curator Josie M. Lopez, Ph.D. “With this support from Mayor Keller and City of Albuquerque Department of Arts and Culture we were able to add some of the most important, dynamic, and recognized Albuquerque artists to the collection. These works represent diversity in many forms – the artists' lived experiences and connections to New Mexico, different approaches to media and materials, and an engagement with a deep sense of place, time, and history."

Albuquerque Museum is committed to ensuring that artists in its collection represent the diverse makeup of our city, state, and region. Funding from the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Arts and Culture allows the Museum to build its collection in a way that is meaningful for all those in Albuquerque, our region, and beyond.

“The Museum has steadily grown its collections, its physical site, and its programming for more than 50 years,” says Albuquerque Museum Director Andrew Connors. “Over the next ten years, the Museum will expand on this work which will include the continued development and interpretation of the art and history collections and photo archives."