Catch up on recent art news headlines in the Southwest region, including people on the move, grants, and more.
Fire at the Tucson Museum of Art Campus
Lynn Trimble of Southwest Contemporary reports that an auxiliary building of the Tucson Museum of Art, current host of the Arizona Biennial 2023, caught fire, causing significant damage to the upper floor and attic of the city-owned J. Knox Corbett House, a historic structure on Main Avenue in downtown Tucson that was completed in 1907.
Trimble reports, via an interview with the Tucson Fire Department, that a dumpster fire extended into the historic home. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire has been ruled “undetermined.” Tucson Museum of Art director Norah Diedrich tells SWC that the damage was limited to the structure itself, although several collection objects—primarily furniture—were in the building at the time and have been removed for preliminary assessments of their condition.
Diedrich says that the fire won’t impact the museum building or operations—its permanent collection is housed in a different building. However, the blaze will impact the museum’s planning for creating new uses for the J. Knox Corbett House, which was still closed from COVID-19 concerns.
Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe Permanently Closes, but Then Announces Partial Reopening
On April 6, after forty-four years, CCA Santa Fe shocked the local arts community by announcing its closure. Fewer than two weeks later, CCA said they’re planning to reopen its cinema, albeit with a skeleton crew. Learn more about what went into the closing and reopening decisions—as well as what Santa Fe arts nonprofits are dealing with these days—in a recently published Southwest Contemporary story.
The new Utah Valley University Museum of Art, located on the campus of UVU in Orem (which is just north of Provo), plans to grand open on May 13 with the juried exhibition The Art of Belonging, a collaboration between the museum; artist, curator, and art educator Jorge Rojas; and Artes de México en Utah, which is led by cultural advocate Fanny Guadalupe Blauer.
Electra Gallery, Santa Fe
Electra Gallery, located near the Whole Foods at the Santa Fe Railyard at 825 Early Street, Suite D, represents “visionary and outsider” artists and shows metaphysical, spiritual, esoteric, and mystical themed artworks. The debut group exhibition The Rainbow in Art is scheduled to take place from May 3 through June 4.
¿Tierra y Que?, Marfa, Texas
This new gallery on 310 West San Antonio Street opened April 22 and currently features works by Livia Corona, Andres Janacua, Suzanne Kite, Steven Yazzie, and Nathan Young.
Grants and Awards
Nuevo Mexico Profundo Receives Award from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division
Nuevo Mexico Profundo, which—in addition to organizing tours to historic and culturally significant sites—raises funds for historic church maintenance and restoration, won a Heritage Preservation Award from the State of New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee. An awards ceremony is scheduled to take place at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe on May 19.
Debut Artists-in-Residence at Bosque Redondo Memorial
DezBaa’ Henderson and her father David Henderson have been named inaugural artists-in-residence at the Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site, located in eastern New Mexico. A New Mexico Arts press release states that DezBaa’ is a staff writer for the television series Dark Winds while David is a septuagenarian Navy veteran, Los Alamos National Laboratory retiree, and film and digital media arts student at Northern New Mexico College. The residency will culminate in the premiere of a short documentary chronicling “David’s journey of self-discovery, as well as a series of interviews with Memorial staff, historians, medicine people, and more.”
Leadership Changes and Appointments
A New Program Director at Ghost Ranch
Joanne Lefrak has been named program director at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center, located near Abiquiú, New Mexico. According to a press release, Lefrak has nineteen years of experience in museums, the arts, and education—she most recently served as director of education and curator of public practice at SITE Santa Fe.
Blanton Museum of Art Opens New Latino Art Galleries, and Announces First Curator of Latino Art
The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin has opened two new collection galleries dedicated to Latino art. The new spaces are largely sustained by a gift and purchase of more than 5,000 artworks from the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection, which, according to a press release, has been called “one of the largest private collections of Chicano and Latino art in the world.” As part of the Blanton’s institution-wide focus on expanding Latino art, Claudia Zapata has been named as the museum’s first associate curator of Latino art.
Movement at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
CAMH has named Ryan N. Dennis, the current chief curator and artistic director of the Center for Art and Public Exchange at the Mississippi Museum of Art, as its senior curator and director of public initiatives. She’ll transition to her new role in June. Additionally, Rebecca Matalon, who’s working on a first-of-its-kind exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist and filmmaker Jordan Strafer, has been promoted from curator to senior curator, and Patricia Restrepo, who has worked at the CAMH since 2014, has been promoted to curator.