The Albuquerque Museum strives to create a more diverse collection of local artists with recent acquisitions. “We are working to create a space that welcomes and engages our community and those who come from other places with the opportunity to experience New Mexico’s culture, people and diversity,” says Josie Lopez, art curator. The city’s arts and culture department has approved $ 100,000 for FY22 to be allocated to future art acquisitions.
Some artists included in the collection are Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Ruben Olguin. Smith, who spoke candidly about Native American artists who were not part of the larger conversation. Olguin creates visual spaces that integrate Native American art into the conversation of the landscape by showing the impacts of colonialism on the southwest. Olguin’s work focuses specifically on Native American access to resources for Native tribes. Lopez views Olguin’s work as essential and is excited to announce his next project at the museum, which will integrate iconography and scientific data to create a large wall installation depicting the New Mexico landscape.
Create new conversations
Due to an extremely romanticized view of Native American art, the museum strives to create new conversations by including artists such as Fritz Scholder, a famous artist known for dispelling stereotypes regarding Native American art. Other pieces are by contemporary artist Wendy Red Star, whose work recreates previously fictionalized photos of Native American women by depicting them in a more contemporary atmosphere. Intentionally placing these works to confront each other in the gallery, Lopez says, “We don’t want to get rid of what has been collected in the past, but we want to create interpretations, narratives and context so that people can see. how it is important that voices are centered within the exhibition and the collections.
Terri Greeves, who has won numerous artistic awards and whose works are on display at the Smithsonian, presents Ground Girls collection. The work of art showcasing the beaded shoes shines brightly among this collection and begs the question what is considered fine art?
Traveling exhibitions and local artists
The museum balances traveling exhibitions with local collections. Lopez said: “It is also important to elevate our local artists so that they are part of the national conversation.” An initiative that will enable diversity, access and an inclusion plan will help define the identity of collections and analyze the specific data needed to do so.
Diversity through art
One of the most recent acquisitions is a landscape by the engraver Karsten Creightney, Black hills, which raises disputes over Native American sovereignty, land rights and the founding of the United States. Along with other newly exhibited works of art, he raises the question of displacement by looking at the earth through the prism of its readiness for the taking. Museum staff hope these new acquisitions exemplify the purpose of creating dialogues between works while diversifying the works of art that are currently part of the collection.