(Story by Cullen Curtiss)
More than 100,000—that’s the number of folk art objects donated to the Museum of International Folk Art by 20th-century interior and textile designer Alexander Girard and his wife Susan from their personal collection. You’ve been delighted by many of these if you’ve been to the Museum’s long-term exhibition Multiple Visions: A Common Bond. Not so long-term is the traveling exhibition of Girard’s own colorful, exuberant, clarifying designs in textile, furniture, sculpture, as well numerous sketches, drawings and collages. Opening May 5 through the end of October, Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe is the first major retrospective on his work. “Girard is a local hero of sorts,” Khristaan Villela, director of MOIFA, says. “His designs had an impact on local facilities such as the Compound Restaurant and St. John’s College. The exhibition and public programs will illuminate the relationship of folk art to modernism and design.” The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts are planning related events to draw on Girard’s work and influences. Details at internationalfolkart.org.
“I want visitors to understand that, in the case of these paintings, when two cultures meet, like they did with Spanish Catholics and the Indigenous population of Mexico, that there is room for accommodation and that, over time, each culture will evolve itself and take on aspects of the other culture,” Santa Fe-based artist Paul Pletka says of the 15 paintings in his exhibition Converging Faiths in the New World, open through Oct. 20 at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. “These paintings, in my mind, are positive. They show that things can work out—even if it’s slow.” In addition to Christian saints and Indigenous North and South American gods, exclusively from Mexico and the Southwest, you’ll also see examples of inspiring Indigenous and Spanish artifacts from Paul’s personal collection, including retablos, bultos and Mexican masks, as well as artifacts from the Museum’s collection. This is Paul’s first solo museum show in New Mexico since 1990. Details at spanishcolonial.org.
Eldorado residents are a pretty artsy bunch. And this is the 28th year they’ve set out to prove it. The weekend of May 18 and 19, step on out for the Eldorado Studio Tour, and you’ll be rewarded with the work of more than 100 artists and artisans in painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, glass, jewelry, paper and printmaking, photography, digital art, fiber, wearable art, woodworking, mixed media and recycled pieces. There’s a super handy brochure ready for download on their website. Details at eldoradoarts.org.
J.U.D.Y. C.H.I.C.A.G.O!! Yes, we’re pretty excited—so much so, we’re announcing the arrival of her exhibition at the Harwood Museum of Art a month early so you can plan multiple visits through Nov. 10. Judy Chicago:The Birth Project from New Mexico Collections is uber-noteworthy, not just because Chicago pioneered and continues to innovate in the feminist art movement, not just because she is a resident of Belen, but also because the University of New Mexico, the Albuquerque Museum and her nonprofit Through the Flower are collaborating with the Harwood to merge and marry never-seen-before The Birth Project works of painting and needlework created in the 1980s that explore “how we all arrive in the world.” In 2018, Judy was called The Godmother of feminist art by the New York Times T Magazine, and was featured on their cover; and Time Magazine named her among their 100 Most Influential People. Judy says of the art at the Harwood, “It’s interesting that the work seems as relevant today as it was over 30 years ago when I first created it.” Also, congratulations to Juniper Manley, who begins as Harwood’s director on May 15. She was the museum’s development director from 2008-2016. Details at harwoodmuseum.org.
The village of Corrales expands in population and expression on May 4 and 5 as it hosts its 21st annual Corrales Art & Studio Tour, featuring more than 80 juried artists, who are members of the Corrales Society of Artists, and many are represented in New Mexico galleries and beyond. See works in sculpture, wood, jewelry, glass, printmaking, fiber, encaustic, mixed media, etc. Really, you name the media, and the Corrales Art & Studio Tour will deliver. Details at corralessocietyofartists.org.
Placitas Studio Tour was doing some great thinking when they chose Mother’s Day weekend for their annual event, now in its 22nd year! More than 60 artists open their studio doors to you in the beautiful community of Placitas, where you’ll find works in paint, mixed media, fiber, glass, ceramics, jewelry, wood, metal, sculpture, pottery and photography. You can find self-guided brochures at all locations and at the Homestead Village Gazebo on Highway 165. Details at placitasstudiotour.com.
In this country, we’ve found inventive ways to embrace Cinco de Mayo, and one of Albuquerque’s answers is Cinco de Mayo Folk Art Fest 2019 held May 4 at La Parada/Farm & Table. Now in its 12th year, the art fest features more than 40 unique folk artists and their work, including oil paintings, jewelry, paper mache, mixed media and tile. Browse in wonderment accompanied by the stylings of Mariachi Alma Nuevo Mexico and Alpha Blue. And quench and sate yourself with food from one of our favorite restaurants, Farm & Table. If that’s not enough of a draw, how about whisperings of a creative fiesta umbrella contest? Details on Facebook.
It’s good to put contemporary work in the context of what came before it, what it might be building on. At the Albuquerque Museum through Sept. 29, you can see Unfolding Traditions, an exhibition of 19th-century woodblock prints (ukiyo-e) from Japan’s prosperous Edo period alongside contemporary works, created by artists that include those living solely in Japan, immigrants to the U.S. or those with Japanese ancestry. This is wonderful exploration of the aesthetics, history and society of Japan from then and now. Details at cabq.gov.
“Black-and-white is the unsung hero now with digital,” says Buffy Nelson, Executive Director of New Mexico Art League, which is hosting its annual (and now 5th!) Black and White exhibition through May 25. Enjoy darkroom images and drawings in pen and ink, graphite, charcoal, etc. And take one home for your very own. Details at newmexicoartleague.wildapricot.org.