Art of New Mexico and Art of the American Southwest

 

This course examines pre-contact, post-colonial, and contemporary art and architecture of Northern New Mexico and the Four Corners Region of the American Southwest.  The content includes architecture, painting, printmaking, photography, and other forms of cultural production (e.g. ceramics, textiles, ritual dance) from the 9th century to the present.  We examine New Mexico as both a coalesced and contested historical and geographical site and as the subject of representational, non-representational, sociopolitical, and symbolic imagery.  How have artists depicted its varied landscapes, both natural and cultural, as well as its complex history of indigenous dwelling, colonial occupation, environmental stewardship, natural resource exploitation, ethnic tension, and social discord?  The Art of the American Southwest is neither as singular nor unitary as the tourist industry would like us to think.  Sites of interest that will draw our attention include the sacred and secular; from Spanish Colonial pilgrimage churches to ancient Basketmaker and Puebloan settlements.  Students will learn to apply a range of methodological strategies utilized by art and cultural historians to examine, research, analyze, critique, and interpret cultural objects.  Course readings will engage with key primary and secondary sources written by selected historians, cultural geographers, artists, and storytellers.  Our work in this course will demonstrate how art practice along with disciplined scholarship can generate a critical awareness of an object’s ideological context.

Evaluation:  will be based on class participation including preparation and evidence of close reading of texts, formal analysis assignments, hypothetical object descriptions and oral presentation and a final project.

 

Another version of this course is part of a three-course sequence entitled “The Unexpected Journey: Art, Literature, and History on the Road in New Mexico.” This course examines the art and architecture of Northern New Mexico including: painting, printmaking, photography, and other forms of cultural production (e.g. ceramics, textiles, dance) from the 12th century to the present. We examine New Mexico as both a coalesced and contested historical and geographical site and as the subject of representational, non-representational, sociopolitical, and symbolic imagery. How have artists depicted its varied landscapes, both natural and cultural, as well as its complex history of continuous dwelling in indigenous homelands, colonial occupation, environmental stewardship, natural resource exploitation, ethnic tension, and social discord? New Mexico’s art is neither singular nor unitary.  Much of this course is field-based. We will be visiting numerous places from large urban cities (Albuquerque), to mid-sized cities (Santa Fe), to towns (Taos), villages (Trampas, San Jóse), and Native American homelands (Acoma, Nambe, Cochiti, and Taos Pueblos). Sites of interest include the sacred (Santuario de Chimayó) and secular (Ghost Ranch), educational (Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Hispanic Cultural Center) and agrarian (Pecos River Valley). Students will learn to apply a range of methodological strategies utilized by art and cultural historians to examine, research, analyze, critique, and interpret cultural objects. Course readings will engage with key primary and secondary sources written by selected historians, cultural geographers, artists, and storytellers. Our work in this course will demonstrate how art practice along with disciplined scholarship can generate a critical awareness of an object’s ideological context.

Diego Romero (Cochiti Pueblo), ‘Double Take’ 2002

 

 

Melanie Yazzie (Navajo/Diné), ‘The U.S. Government Will Never White Wash My Grandparents.

 

 

Water Maiden, Hopi Kachina
Hopi Kachinas


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Mimbres Pottery


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New Mexico Architecture

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