Spring has sprung (or has started to) in northern New Mexico (where our Southwest US editor Ellie Duke lives), and that means it’s time to come out of hibernation to explore the artistic offerings of the season. As always, there are many wonderful exhibitions, festivals, and art events taking place during the coming months throughout the southwestern US. We’ve put together our recommendations, and hope this wide-ranging list will inspire a season of road-tripping across the wide-open spaces of the region to experience its artistic happenings for yourself.
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When: March 21–September 6
Where: SITE Santa Fe (1606 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM)
Displaced raises crucial questions about the global refugee crisis at a time when human displacement rates are at an all-time high. With a focus on large-scale, interactive work, SITE hopes to catalyze activism through this show, which includes work from internationally renowned artists such as Cannupa Hanska Luger and Guadalupe Maravilla. An assortment of educational and public programming will accompany the exhibition.
When: through May 9
Where: UNM Art Museum (203 Cornell Dr, Albuquerque, NM)
Indelible Ink is an expansive exhibition of prints in a huge range of media created between 1993 and 2019. Ranging from very established artists to the relatively emerging, the exhibition explores collaboration as both a way of life and as an art practice.
When: through July 26
Where: IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (108 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe, NM)
What is the Native perspective on the future, and how does cosmology inform tribal histories and lives? This is one of the fascinating questions that Indigenous Futurisms endeavors to answer. Using imagery and narratives often associated with science fiction, the exhibition shows how blurry the lines are between past, present, and future, and how artists use these approaches to pass on tribal oral histories to future generations.
When: February 28 through May 28
Where: University Art Museum at New Mexico State University (1308 E University Avenue, Las Cruces, NM)
The inaugural exhibition at the new University Art Museum at New Mexico State University is a blockbuster, featuring the work of Amy Cutler, Mary Kelly, Yoko Ono, Wendy Red Star, and Mickalene Thomas, among many others. Labor joins the chorus of important conversations about motherhood and how mothering has been represented in art and culture through history. Building off Laurel Nakadate and Leslie Tonkonow’s 2018 exhibition MOTHER in New York, Labor brings this issue to the Borderplex of southern New Mexico, where the political climate is an inescapable backdrop to these critical topics.
When: through April 26
Where: Harwood Museum of Art (238 Ledoux Street, Taos, NM)
In celebration of Larry Bell’s 80th birthday, the Harwood presents an exhibition of Bell’s relationship with the cube over his long and storied career. The show includes just five cubes, ranging from the very first one he created in 1959 and his latest, produced just a few weeks before the opening. Bell is a longtime Taos resident and friend of the Harwood. If you don’t want to make the trek to Taos for just five works, you should know that the Harwood has a number of interesting shows currently on view, including photography by Subhankar Banerjee, sculptural work by Dean Pulver, and the always-wonderful permanent collection and Agnes Martin Gallery.
When: March 6–April 25
Where: Southwest Contemporary (1415 W Alameda Street, Santa Fe, NM)
For the second year in a row, Southwest Contemporary put out an open call for New Mexico artists to submit their work for consideration in their special issue and coinciding exhibition, 12 New Mexico Artists to Know Now. Guest juried by Andrew Connors of the Albuquerque Museum, the group exhibition will feature a selection of work from the 12 artists chosen. The array of wide-ranging and diverse work serves as a snapshot of the state’s complex, flourishing contemporary art landscape.
When: February 16–September 27
Where: Museum of International Folk Art (706 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, NM)
This textile exhibition traces stories of displacement due to violence, political upheaval, and natural disasters throughout history. The textiles serve as documents and settings for storytelling, and also have served as a source of livelihood for people experiencing forced migration.
When: through May 9
Where: 516 ARTS (516 Central Ave. SW, Albuquerque, NM)
Though Cromática has already traversed Mexico, this is the show’s US debut. The exhibition joins fine art and craft using weaving, dying, sculpture, poetry, science, and music to consider artisanal and industrial production. With Cromática, Candiani addresses the labor of making color pigments and the synesthetic experience of color.
When: through May 3
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (265 South Church Avenue, Tucson, AZ)
This exhibition traces Fallah’s development over the last decade, and spans his prolific and diverse body of work, much of which features unique takes on traditional portraiture. His paintings are maximalist and diverse, ornate with color, object, and pattern — his paintings often display a dry humor, while addressing heavy themes like immigration, trauma, and history.
When: through May 3
Where: The Heard Museum (2301 N Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ)
Conceptual performance artist Maria Hupfield is an Anishinaabe-kwe, and member of the Wasauksing First Nation, which is located in the Georgian Bay region of Perry Sound off Lake Huron. Hupfield’s sculpture, film installation, and performance work unsettles Native stereotypes by reclaiming histories. This is her first solo exhibition in the US, and it kicks off a five-year series at the Heard of solo shows featuring indigenous women artists.
When: through August 9
Where: Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (140 North Main Avenue, Tucson, AZ)
Combining work by renowned Tohono O’odham poet Ofelia Zepeda, critical text by Martín Zícari, and photography by Gareth Smit, The Place Where Clouds Are Formed explores questions of sovereignty and community in the Sonoran Desert. As the US–Mexico border, which bisects ancestral Tohono O’odham land, becomes increasingly mired in controversy, the need to examine the casualties caused by federal border conflict becomes more pressing than ever. This exhibition probes at the intersections of history, religion, migration, and community in the desert, and examines the livelihood and history of the Tohono O’odham people.
When: through May 30
Where: Center for Creative Photography (1030 N Olive Rd., Tucson, AZ)
This exhibition, comprised mostly of photographs from the Center for Creative Photography’s archives, celebrates the influential New York photography gallery LIGHT, which ran from 1971 to 1987. It explores the history of photography and the influence of LIGHT on its era, which was a pivotal one in the history of photography. It includes film and audio footage, installation views, period snapshots, and archival documentation.
When: March 21–July 26
Where: The Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ)
Co-organized with Pérez Art Museum Miami, this retrospective is the first traveling major exhibition of works by Teresita Fernández, who is best known for her large-scale public projects. The exhibition showcases more than 50 sculptures, installations, and mixed-media wall works created by Fernández over two decades, often inspired by natural elements like fire and meteors.
When: April 24–August 30
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver (1485 Delgany Street, Denver, CO)
This retrospective at Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art will feature some of Ward’s most well-known works, including the 1993 sculptural installation Amazing Grace, as well as some sculptures that have rarely been seen publicly. Ward’s more recent work directly addresses complex political and social issues, exploring topics like racism, migration, and historical memory. The MCA hopes to show how Ward bridges American sculptural generations by addressing the urgent issues of our time.
When: February 21–May 31
Where: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs CO)
The Colorado Springs FAC is the only US stop for this exhibition, which is the largest survey to date of Belmore’s work, featuring photography, sculpture, and media installation created over the past three decades. Belmore’s art is highly political, always rooted in social realities and issues for Indigenous communities — water and land rights, women’s rights, and violence against Indigenous people.
When: June 11–July 25
Where: Union Hall Denver (1750 Wewatta Street, Suite 144 Denver, CO)
Halfmoon creates large ceramic sculptures centered around her identity as a woman and a citizen of the Caddo Nation. Building off of the ancient Caddo ceramics tradition, Halfmoon blurs the lines between past and present, speaking to the representation and appropriation of Caddo culture today. This show at Union Hall Denver, a relative newcomer to the Colorado arts scene, is a little late to be categorically “spring” but still a must-see if you’re in the Denver area.
When: through February 23
Where: Aspen Art Museum (637 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO)
At last, the Colorado faction of Kusama’s die-hard fans has a place to go and worship. This show consists of one of Kusama’s famed “infinity rooms,” a 10-by-10-foot mirrored room, in which a kaleidoscope of light is refracted from just a few small sources. Due to a code violation, the exhibition will be closing almost three months earlier than expected, so this weekend is your last chance to travel far out into the cosmos, and snap the obligatory selfie.
When: through May 2
Where: Granary Arts (86 North Main Street, Ephraim, UT)
Granary Arts occupies a historic granary building in the small town of Ephraim in central Utah. The non-profit arts center is devoted to building connections and community through art in Utah and beyond, and its current exhibition of Adama Delphine Fawundu’s photo-based multi-media works promises to be worth a trip to the Sanpete Valley. Fawundu works with the childhood stories she heard from her parents, who emigrated from Sierra Leone before she was born. The project featured at Granary Arts focuses on the Mende river goddess, Tingoi, and imagined conversations between African deities as they travel through time and space, interfering and intersecting with human life. Using natural elements, masks, and layers of remembered and re-told stories, Fawundu reconstructs and reimagines her history and future.
When: through June 6
Where: Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (20 SW Temple, Salt Lake City, UT)
The Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group formed in 1984 to be the “conscience of the art world” and fight sexism, racism, and inequality. The influential and enigmatic organization uses striking visuals and alarming facts to expose corruption and bias, and their projects and interventions have taken place in museums and public spaces all over the world. UMOCA situates this exhibition within Utah’s own social struggles, saying: “Utah is ranked No. 49 for the largest income gap between men and women. We exist in a community of sexual harassment, of #metoo, of divisiveness, of rampant racism, of rising hate, and nativism.” This is an opportunity to celebrate and examine the work toward equality that the Guerrilla Girls have been undertaking for over three decades.
When: March 13–August 10
Where: Oklahoma Contemporary (NW 11th and Broadway, Oklahoma City, OK)
This is the inaugural exhibition at Oklahoma Contemporary’s new downtown location. A group exhibition titled after Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, the works will all contend with the medium of light — how it affects environment, identity, and perception. Ranging from traditional landscapes to immersive digital installations, the show is sure to be wide-ranging and insightful.
When: March 27–April 17
Where: Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art (4505 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV)
Brought into conversation, Hansen and Ramirez’s work complement each other and explore issues around migration, gender, and history. Hansen, who grew up in Nevada but lives in Los Angeles, works with found objects, texts, and industrial materials to create sculptures that often concern themselves with the rural western desert. Ramirez, a fellow Nevadan whose background is in photography, also works in mixed media and printmaking, and her work is interested in labor, diaspora, and femininity. The exhibition will take place in the Barrick’s recently-debuted Work Shop space.
When: through August 16
Where: El Paso Museum of Art (1 Arts Festival Plaza, El Paso, TX)
Rachel Rose’s animated piece Lake Valley is a dreamy video and sound installation about a day in the life of a young girl and her pet. The collaged video work debuted at the Venice Biennale in 2016, and is composed of images from 19th-century children’s books layered with hand-drawn animations. The show is family-friendly.
When: through April 19
Where: Ballroom Marfa (108 E. San Antonio Street, Marfa, TX)
In Solange Pessoa’s first US solo show, she has recreated an immersive installation that was originally staged in Brazil in 1994. Visitors can rummage through the strung tiers of coffee bags filled with organic matter — fruit, flowers, and bones among them — to co-create the space by spilling and moving the bags.