UNM Art Museum opens
exhibition represents 500 years of artistic, cultural history
takes the form of a newly-installed climate control system to
protect priceless art shown and stored at the UNM Art Museum.
nine-month renovation primarily involving the HVAC (heating,
ventilation and air conditioning) system is complete and will
be celebrated at a reopening reception Friday, Feb. 7, from
5 to 7 p.m.
features entertainment and refreshments and is free and open
of the Collections, an exhibition of more than 150 works
drawn from the museums 30,000 works representing more
than 500 years of artistic and cultural history, will be on
display in the main and lower galleries. The museum holds paintings,
photographs, sculptures, prints and drawings. The exhibit is
based upon the book of the same title compiled by Director Emeritus
new neon snake lights the entrance of the museum, located
near Popejoy Hall.
in the UNM Center for the Arts a few feet from Popejoy Hall,
the museum entrance once blended into a stark façade,
but no more. The renovation includes a lively neon snake above
the front door designed by Steve Fitch whose exhibition Gone:
Photographs of Abandonment on the High Plains also shine
under a new lighting system in the Van Deren Coke Gallery.
freshly painted lower level Study Gallery is Aquosus:
Abounding in Water. Artist Jocelyn Nevel recreates the
environment of New Mexicos distant geological past in
a lush installation of aquatic fossil cyanotypes.
gift shop was updated and expanded and offers museum publications,
exhibition catalogs, gifts, books, clothing, cards, postcards
Endowment for the Humanities National Heritage Preservation
Program largely funded the renovation. UNM provided some funds.
system provides climate control and clean, filtered air in museum
galleries and storage vaults. Stable humidity and temperature
are essential because art objects are remarkably sensitive to
fluctuations, as well as light levels and particulate contaminants,
said Kathleen Howe, associate director and co-curator of Highlights
of the Collections with Lee Savary.
paper, paint and photographic emulsionall expand and contract
at different rates with climate changes, she said. Over time,
paint and photographic emulsion can crack and separate from
paper or canvas support.
not great if its a family photo. Its tragic if its
a 120-year-old photo that stands at the beginning of photography,
said Howe, who is also curator of the museums collections
of photographs and prints.
Art Museum long monitored environmental conditions in collections
areas and worked with art conservators to evaluate and conserve
works of art. In 1999, UNM joined a nationwide consortium, organized
by the Image Permanence Institute, to study the effects of environmental
changes on museum collections.
museum director, said the HVAC system would help the museum
with its application for accreditation by the American Association
of Museums. It also opens the door to borrow art from museums
and collectors who shy away from such exchanges if climate control,
security and fire protections dont meet high standards.
Highlights of the Collections is a treat for museumgoers
used to standard fare. The works are arranged by year of acquisition.
an exhibit is focused on a medium, theme or historical chronology.
This is a chronology of a collection. Its a look at how
the collection was built. It offers some interesting juxtapositions,
painting, sculpture, prints and drawings stand or hang side
by side with early modern art in Europe and the United States
and art of Old Spain, New Spain and Mexico.
are many stories to be told with this exhibition and thats
why we are so excited about it, Bahm said.
Savary will discuss the concept and logistics of the exhibition
at a free museum talk Tuesday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m.
Peter Walch, Van Deren Coke, Thomas Barrow and Bob Ellis will
discuss acquisition of the collections at a free museum talk
Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 5:30 p.m.
and virtual exhibitions can be found at the UNM Art Museum Web