Art of New Mexico

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, ritual 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 indigenous dwelling, colonial occupation, environmental stewardship, natural resource exploitation, ethnic tension, and social discord? New Mexico’s art is neither as singular nor unitary as the tourist industry would like us to think. 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 (Taos Pueblo). Sites of interest include the sacred (Santuario de Chimayó) and secular (Ghost Ranch), educational (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.

Water Maiden, Hopi Kachina
Hopi Kachinas


Mimbres Pottery


New Mexico Architecture

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