Art does not only reflect the identity of a place, it plays an active role in defining that image.
Imagining New Mexico is an exhibition from the museum’s collection that investigates how artists have both shaped and reacted to four key themes of New Mexican identity: Land, Tradition, the Arts, and Modernity. New Mexico, like all places, is as much an idea as it is a geographical location. Rejecting the idea that there is one authentic New Mexican identity, this exhibition takes seriously the knowledge that the state’s character was formed by various, sometimes fantastical and often contradictory interpretations of the area’s land, traditions, and histories. Over more than a century, artists have imagined and reimagined New Mexico. This exhibit is a collection of such fantasies. It does not presume to be a complete survey of the history of the state, but instead is a selection of different, sometimes contradictory ideas of what New Mexico has come to mean for artists over time.