Catch up on recent art news headlines in the Southwest region, including people on the move, grants, and more.
Art Censorship Saga Continues in Mesa
The City of Mesa, Arizona, which had previously ditched the 2023 fall exhibition season at Mesa Contemporary Arts Center in what critics say was an act of censorship, announced three new shows for the fall that are scheduled to open on October 7: Shepard Fairey’s solo exhibition Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent, Swoon’s solo exhibition Gift in the Rupture, and the group show Just Cause: The Power of Contemporary Art in Social Engagement. According to reporting by Southwest Contemporary’s Lynn Trimble, Thomas “Breeze” Marcus (Tohono O’odham), who was scheduled to exhibit in the original fall 2023 lineup, won’t be moving forward with his show.
Gunfire at a Juan de Oñate Statue Protest in Española
A September 28 rally in Northern New Mexico protesting the rededication of a statue of Juan de Oñate, a controversial Spanish conquistador, turned deadly when a man opened fire. Twenty-three-year-old Ryan Martinez has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The victim—artist and activist Jacob Johns (Hopi, Akimel O’odham)—is recovering from surgery, according to news reports.
ni de aquí ni de allá, Albuquerque
The socially engaged, experimental gallery inside of a cargo container—ni de aquí ni de allá translates to “neither from here nor there”—is located in the backyard of the fronteristxs project space, a New Mexico artist collective that is “working to end migrant detention and abolish the prison industrial complex.” The gallery is open 3-6 pm on Saturdays.
Grants and Awards
Tony Abeyta Honored by the United States Department of State
In mid-September, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies awarded Tony Abeyta, a contemporary Diné painter who splits his time between Santa Fe and Berkeley, California, with a state medal of arts. Sheila Hicks, Robert Pruitt, Hank Willis Thomas, and Suling Wang also received the award.
Raven Chacon Receives Visiting Professorship in Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago recently welcomed Raven Chacon (Diné) as the school’s 2023–24 Bill and Stephanie Sick distinguished visiting professor. Chacon, an Albuquerque-based Pulitzer Prize–winning composer and former member of the artist collective Postcommodity, is the latest artist or designer to lecture and co-teach for the program, which was established in 2006.
Scottsdale Arts in Arizona Receives Largest Donation in its History
Scottsdale Arts, which programs performing and visual arts in the city, has been awarded more than $11.5 million from the Michael and Ellen Ziegler estate. The funds will be pledged toward a future capital infrastructure project. “The extraordinary gift represents the largest single donation in Scottsdale Arts’ history,” states a press release.
Phoenix Art Museum Receives a Quarter of a Million Dollars to Support Art Acquisitions
The Phoenix Art Museum renewed its David and Dawn Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative for an additional five years after receiving $250,000 from the Arizona-based family. The initiative focuses on acquiring art for the museum’s contemporary collection, particularly “works by artists contributing to discourses on race, gender, and other socially relevant concerns, including those by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and women artists, among others.”
Institute of American Indian Arts Names Fall 2023 Residents
IAIA’s Artist-in-Residence Program, which hosts Native and First Nations artists on its Santa Fe campus, recently announced its 2023 resident artists. The first cohort includes Daniel McCoy, Jr. (Muscogee Creek and Citizen Band Potawatomi), Krystle Silverfox (Selkirk First Nation, Wolf Clan), and Matagi Sorensen (Yavapai-Apache Nation). The second cohort is comprised of Holly Wilson (Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma and Cherokee descent), Mona Cliff (Gros Ventre Tribe of Montana), Chad “Little Coyote” Yellowjohn (Shoshone-Bannock, Spokane), Chaz John (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Mississippi Band Choctaw, and European), and Rebecca Belmore (Lac Seul First Nation).
Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins Names 2024 Denis Roussel Fellow
Sidian Liu, an image-based artist, translator, and home builder originally from China, has been named CFAP’s Denis Roussel Fellow for 2024.
Women’s International Study Center Announces Fellows in Residence
WISC in Santa Fe, which helps women writers, artists, scholars, scientists, professionals, innovators, and entrepreneurs realize a project, has named its current and recent fellows in residence. They include Doria Bramante, Reagan Jackson, Samantha Manion-Chavez, Kate McQuade, and Simone Silva.
Leadership Changes and Appointments
National Hispanic Cultural Center Names Executive Director
Zack Quintero, who has served as NHCC’s interim leader since March 2023, has been named the Albuquerque center’s permanent director. Quintero previously worked in a variety of local, county, and state government roles.
City of Santa Fe Names New Arts and Culture Department Director
Chelsey Johnson, previously an associate English professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, has been chosen to lead Santa Fe’s Arts and Culture Department. According to a press release, the list of responsibilities for Johnson, who replaces Pauline Kamiyama, includes leading the Art in Public Places program, naming the city historian and poet laureate, collaborating with the Arts Commission on the strategic action plan, jump-starting Santa Fe’s creative industries sector with the Office of Economic Development, installations at the community gallery, and more.
Utah Film Center Names Artist Foundry Manager
Amanda Madden will lead the Utah Film Center Artist Foundry, an arm of the nonprofit that supports local filmmakers and content creators with tools, co-working space, professional development courses, and more. Madden has worked in the film industry for fifteen years and collaborated with MTV, Food Network, Condé Nast, and NBC Universal.
New Mexico Museum of Art Announces New Curator of Contemporary Art
The New Mexico Museum of Art, which recently opened the highly anticipated Vladem Contemporary, has named Alexandra Terry as the museum’s curator of contemporary art following a nationwide search. Terry recently served as the chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara.