Santa Claus arrived early at the University of New Mexico because the Terra Foundation for American Art awarded UNM a $75,000 grant to acquire "Looking Back/Insights 2.0: Portraits, Landscapes, and Abstraction" of the collection to set up an art museum.
"More important than the dollar amount is the national recognition of the work the museum has done over the past few years from a respected foundation," said Arif Khan, director of the UNM art museum, will encourage a critical engagement with the role and collecting practices of university museums by asking the public where art comes from, why it looks what it looks like, what it means to its collectors and what defines its inclusion in the Museum ".
This spring, the UNM Museum of Art is stepping up this initiative by displaying the permanent collection throughout the museum. Looking Back/Looking 2.0 offers a fresh look at over 50 works of art and the exhibition also showcases recent acquisitions made possible by UNMIM's Diversity and Equity Acquisition Fund.
“What sets this exhibit apart from other exhibits in the collection is that UNM students and faculty will be actively involved in selecting, writing, and interpreting the works on display,” Khan said. "We are fortunate to work with a talented group of UNM students each year who assist in various areas of the museum such as visitor services, marketing and events."
While the historical significance of the Retrospective/Insight 2.0 exhibition is noteworthy, it encourages critical reflection and discussion on the role of university museums and art collecting practices. This exhibition asks where the art objects come from, why they look like this and how they found their place on the walls of museums.
Art museums work with the academic community to "decentralize curatorial authority and institutional voice using bilingual texts and labels while respecting student perspectives."
"At the UNM Art Museum, we will engage various artists from the UNAMAM collection to tell the complex stories about the artworks in our collection," Khan said. "We strongly believe that museums have a duty to provide students with the opportunity to 'see' themselves in galleries and to support the study programs of professors in disciplines dedicated to this perspective."
Mary Statzer, curator at the UNM Museum of Art, worked closely throughout the exhibition with guest curators led by contemporary art history graduate student Eleanor Kane and assistant professor of art Marcella Ernest. and art history. Lobo students and faculty are invited to respond to exhibits at the gallery and at artmuseum.unm.edu/journal.
The UNM Art Museum hopes that spring 2023 will continue the momentum created in 2022.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the museum attracted many visitors.
“This year we had nearly 9,000 visitors to the museum, which is encouraging as we approach a return to pre-pandemic annual visitor averages,” Khan said.
The Terra Foundation Grants Program awards nearly $3.1 million to 45 arts and culture organizations across the United States to support an enduring collection project that educates the public about comprehensive American art history and representative.