Step into air-conditioned contemporary art bliss with our Southwest art guide for summer 2023 at these exhibitions in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah.
This heat wave, especially in the Southwest, is so hot right now. (More than twenty-five consecutive days of 110-plus temperatures in Phoenix? Why? How? No!)
Here’s something that’s also ultimate fire: summer exhibitions that are on view or will soon open in the region. From a women of Land Art showcase in Dallas to the final exhibition at a beloved independent gallery in Las Cruces, New Mexico, these art showcases are something worth sweating it out for.
Arizona Art Exhibitions
April 14–August 6, 2023
Mesa Arts Center
In this solo exhibition, longtime Phoenix-based artist Abbey Messmer, a former member of Eye Lounge and a 2015 Contemporary Forum Arts Grant recipient, created acrylic paintings inspired by photographs snapped from the bottom of a pool. The trippy compositions “encapsulate personal perception and how life experiences, genetic code, and outside forces have an influence on our individual journeys.”
August 19, 2023–July 14, 2024
ASU Art Museum, Tempe
The group exhibition, featuring works by Sama Alshaibi, Merryn Omotayo Alaka, Andrew Erdos, Maria Hupfield, Yasue Maetake, Jayson Musson, Eric-Paul Riege, Curtis Talwst Santiago, and Sam Frésquez, sets out to equalize the European art historical canon and hierarchy, in which “fine art” and “craft” are often pitted against one another. The show is curated by Southwest Contemporary contributor Erin Joyce.
California Art Exhibitions
June 17, 2023–January 7, 2024
Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture, Riverside
This expansive group show, which features contributions from Celia Álvarez Muñoz, Alice Bag, Liz Cohen, Justin Favela, rafa esparza, and Luis Jiménez, has been dubbed as the first major exhibition to examine influential works that “foreground the Brown body as a site to explore, expand, and complicate traditional conceptions linked to Mexican, Mexican American, and Xicanx experiences.” The Cheech is the first stop for this touring show—which includes film, lowriders, poetry, pottery, painting, photography, and sculpture—organized by the American Federation of Arts.
Colorado Art Exhibitions
July 13–September 9, 2023
Union Hall, Denver
This group show, curated by Esther Hz and part of Denver Month of Video’s programming, showcases video works from Santiago Echecverry, Chrissy Espinoza, Annette Isham, Jenna Maurice, and the Post Punk Revolutionary Front Collective (Echeverry, Sandra Rengifo, and Kostas Tsanakas). “Traverse delves into the notions of journey and identity in a landscape, fusing performance, video, and photography to investigate the relationship between the environment and one’s self,” writes Hz.
July 29, 2023–June 30, 2025
Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum, San Luis Valley near Center
Years in the making, Marguerite Humeau: Orisons is a 160-acre earthwork in Colorado’s San Luis Valley near the town of Center. Humeau, a French artist who made noise at the 2022 Venice Biennale, collaborated with the Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum (headquartered in Denver) to make an artwork that incorporates the landscape as an “offering” to the San Luis Valley. The work will debut during a July 29 opening celebration at the Frontier Drive-Inn in Center, where shuttle service to and from the site will be available.
New Mexico Art Exhibitions
June 2–September 11, 2023
SITE Santa Fe
It’s hard to believe that internationally known artist Bruce Nauman has never had a solo exhibition in New Mexico until now. That changed when SITE Santa Fe mounted His Mark by Nauman, who has resided in the Land of Enchantment since the 1970s. The show includes never-before-shown work by the artist—details can be gleaned from Southwest Contemporary’s Maggie Grimason, who recently covered the talked-about exhibition.
July 7–31, 2023
CAV Gallery, Las Cruces
The Cristian Anthony Vallejo Memorial Gallery (or CAV Gallery), a community-centric art space and ode to loved ones who have passed, will soon be closing its doors after nearly two years. But before founder Marcus Xavier Chormicle moves onto his next artistic endeavor, he has curated the group show Tú Eres Tú, featuring more than fifteen artists including Maryssa Rose Chavez, Gitzel Moncivais, Darby Raymond-Overstreet (Diné), and special guest Cory Feder. CAV Gallery is open from noon to 5 pm on Fridays, 10 am to 1 pm Saturdays, and by appointment.
July 15–September 23, 2023
Branigan Cultural Center, Las Cruces
Trinity: Legacies of Nuclear Testing, a juried exhibition organized by the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, includes works from seventeen artists who shine a light on environmental injustices suffered by New Mexico communities who live downwind from the Trinity nuclear test site near White Sands National Park. To learn more about Southwest artists who are engaged in anti-nuclear expressions, check out Ania Hull’s August 2022 feature story for Southwest Contemporary.
Texas Art Exhibitions
July 11–August 19, 2023
Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, El Paso
Instant Exposure pairs Polaroids snapped by El Paso-based artists Beatrice Macias-Caballero and Julio Barrera with Polaroids taken by Andy Warhol between 1975 and 1986. Macias-Caballero’s images document landscapes and street scenes while Barrera’s Polaroids depict folks in neighborhood settings.
August 11–November 26, 2023
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
This exhibition at the Modern is the first solo museum exhibition of work by Jammie Holmes—a Black painter originally from Thibodaux, Louisiana—who illustrates the lives of Black families in the Deep South. Make the Revolution Irresistible is a survey exhibition that features Holmes defying stereotypes with works that explore masculinity, mourning, childhood, and race.
September 23, 2023–January 7, 2024
Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas
Twelve women Land Art artists—such as Lita Albuquerque, Patricia Johanson, and Mary Miss—will be showcased at the Nasher in an anticipated exhibition featuring works created from the late 1960s through 1990. Groundswell intends to shift the focus from male-dominated Land Art in museums to women who haven’t received the same recognition.
Utah Art Exhibitions
June 10–September 23, 2023
Southern Utah Museum of Art, Cedar City
This SUMA show addresses the United States-Mexico border “crisis” and features the work of Colombian American artist and socially conscious video game designer Rafael Fajardo. The Denver-based artist, together with his collective SWEAT (South West Ensemble for Art and Technology), developed the hyper-pixelated retro games Crosser and La Migra, which represent opposing viewpoints on the evolving dynamics at the border. The show was guest curated by former Southwest Contemporary contributor Emile Trice.
July 28, 2023–January 6, 2024
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City
Six Utah curators, cultural coordinators, and artists—including Amy Jorgensen, Jessica Kinsey, and Nancy Rivera—from geographically diverse regions of the state surveyed artists living and working all over the Beehive State. The result is A Greater Utah, an exhibition that dives into land use, climate change, identity, Indigenous rights and practices, language, social change, and more. Participating artists include Andrew Alba, nic b jacobsen, Ronee K, Mitsu Salmon, Fazilat Soukhakian, and Wren Ross. SWC contributor Gabriella Angeleti previewed the exhibition earlier this week.