Catch up on recent art news headlines in the southwest region, including people on the move, grants, and more.
Group Sues Santa Fe Leaders, Demands Plaza Restoration
The Hispanic fraternal organization Union Protectíva de Santa Fé has sued the City of Santa Fe and Mayor Alan Webber over the Santa Fe Plaza obelisk, which was torn down by activists on Indigenous Peoples Day, October 11, 2020. The suit, filed June 17, 2021 in state District Court, seeks the restoration of the monument to Civil War Union soldiers that’s been a source of racial tension.
New Sound Art Gallery in the Works at the Blanton
The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas announced this week that it’s building a new outdoor space dedicated to sound art, the first of its kind for a major museum, according to the Blanton. The outdoor gallery, made possible by a $5 million endowment from Ernest and Sarah Butler, plans to open in late 2022 with a site-specific sound installation by Bill Fontana.
NBCUniversal Unveils New Mexico Studio
NBCUniversal opened a new film studio in a downtown Albuquerque warehouse last week, more than a year after a planned opening. The 80,000-square-foot production studio with three soundstages, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is located in the Martineztown neighborhood. According to news reports, NBCUniversal received more than $10 million in incentivized state and local economic development funds.
Reno Fine Arts Collective‘s The HeART of Reno in Nevada
The RFAC, started by father-and-daughter team Kevin O’Keefe and Briana Dolan earlier this year, has expanded its online art gallery into a pop-up space in downtown Reno. According to Double Scoop, The HeART of Reno (200 South Virginia Street, Suite 100) will display 300 works by thirty local artists during a three-month showcase that’s scheduled to run from July 1 to September 30, 2021.
Lapis Room, Albuquerque
The Old Town Albuquerque space at 303 Romero Street NW, which had a soft opening in June, is currently ramping up for a full-fledged reveal later this summer. Along with small-batch apothecary products, handmade goods, and artist-made books and prints, Lapis Room’s gallery will showcase artists from New Mexico and the Southwest, including Reyes Padilla, Frank Gonzales, Allison Tinney, and Laura Spalding Best.
Leadership Changes and Appointments
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture Executive Director Announces Retirement
Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria), executive director of MIAC in Santa Fe, plans to retire effective August 27, 2021. Warrior had held the position since July 2013. “In eight years at MIAC, Warrior’s leadership strengthened the Museum’s renowned collection of Native art and anthropological artifacts,” reads a release from the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
Phoenix Art Museum Executive Director Steps Down
Tim Rodgers, Phoenix Art Museum’s director and CEO, announced his resignation effective June 30. Rodgers, whose stint at PhxArt lasted just one year, accepted the job of director at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.
Palm Springs Art Museum Hires Executive Director and CEO
Adam Lerner, the director and chief animator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver from 2009 to 2019, will become the Palm Springs Art Museum’s executive director and CEO. He’s scheduled to start July 15, 2021.
Albuquerque Museum Changes
Dr. Josie Lopez has been promoted to head curator at the Albuquerque Museum and Cynthia Garcia is the City of Albuquerque Department of Arts and Culture’s new museums administrator. Lopez will oversee curators, collections, and acquisitions while Garcia will be in charge of policy, key initiatives, and large projects at the Albuquerque Museum and the Balloon Museum.
New Leadership at Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Jennifer Foley has joined the Santa Fe museum as deputy director for collections and engagement after five years at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, and CFO Judy Scharmer has become a member of the museum’s leadership team.
Grants and Awards
Arizona-Based Poet Earns a Pulitzer
In June, Indigenous, Latina, and queer poet Natalie Diaz won a 2021 Pulitzer Price. Lynn Trimble spoke with the award-winning author for a Southwest Contemporary web exclusive.
Inaugural Digital Changemaker Grant Recipients
Asia Society Texas Center in Houston, Flagstaff Arts Council, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, and Snow City Arts in Chicago became the initial recipients of the Digital Changemaker Grant. The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation initiative provides $100,000 stipends to medium-sized cultural organizations that are “reimagining the role and use of technology in achieving their missions.”
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts Receives $3 Million Donation
Last month, MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett made a $3 million unrestricted donation to Santa Fe’s IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, gave $5 million to the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2020.