New Mexico and the Arts of Enchantment OPENS
New Mexico has inspired some of the most inventive, diverse, and striking American art ever created. This exhibition extends from pre-Hispanic pottery to paintings from the twenty-first century.
At the center is the MFA’s impressive Georgia O’Keeffe landscape, Grey Hills Painted Red, New Mexico (1930), a gift in 2010 which received international attention. Escaping the intensity of New York City, O’Keeffe found her spiritual and artistic home in the New Mexico desert landscape, hills, and mountains. Her painting will be joined by another premier American painting in the Museum’s collection, John Sloan’s humorous Cliff Dwellers’ Country (1925). Sloan purchased a home in Santa Fe in 1920 and returned annually for 29 years.
The exhibition also features three of the Museum’s famous photographs of O’Keeffe’s home and the landscape around Abiquiu by Todd Webb, one of the last proteges of her husband Alfred Stieglitz. O’Keeffe and Webb were longtime friends, and the reclusive artist gave him unusual access to her home and studio.
Paintings and sculpture from The Raymond James Financial Collection bring a contemporary dimension to the exhibition. They encompass evocative landscapes and depictions of Native Americans and their cultures.
Large-scale works by Tony Abeyta and Dan Namingha combine the landscape with abstract elements, and Bill Schenck brings a Pop sensibility to his paintings. Mindy and Dr. Michael Solomon are lending twentieth-century realist paintings. The sculpture ranges from Abeyta’s and Tammy Garcia’s totems to Allan Houser’s dramatic Abstract Crown Dancer (1991) and Oreland Joe’s contemplative Navajo Dream (2007), made from Portuguese marble. Exquisite pieces of jewelry from Mary James’s private collection, primarily made by Native Americans, are by such noted figures as Jesse Monongya, Lee Yazzie, and Vernon Haskie.
Native American cultures have produced some of our country’s greatest art. The pre-Hispanic pottery on loan from The Drapkin Collection is stunning in its craftsmanship and detail. So, too, is the MFA’s Two Gray Hills Navajo Rug. The functional, the artistic, and the ceremonial were intertwined and frequently still are in these communities.
Grand traditions have been kept alive by contemporary artists, but with new approaches and in the case of Diego Romero’s bowl, Broke Car Landscape (about 1990), with engaging playfulness. This inventive piece will be contrasted with an ancient Mimbres vessel from The Drapkin Collection. Other exceptional ceramics come from the collections of Hazel and William Hough and Pat and Ron Mason, and the Museum is fortunate to have a large black-on-black platter b Maria Martinez (intricately painted by her husband Julian). Like so many twentieth-century and contemporary ceramics, it is a showpiece.