The Red That Colored the World
Through August 20, 2017 
Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Gallery

Molleno, St. James, New Mexico, ca. 1805-1845
Water-based pigments on hide
Museum of International Folk Art, Gift of the Historical Society of New Mexico
Courtesy Museum of International Folk Art
Photograph by Addison Doty

The color red is one of the most seductive, powerful, and emotional colors to exist. For centuries artists and merchants searched for a color source to rival the best reds of nature. This quest ended in the Aztec marketplaces of 16th- century Mexico with the discovery of the American cochineal bug. 

The Red That Colored the World explores the use of cochineal throughout history from Mexico and South America, to Europe, the U.S. and beyond.  Through textiles, sculpture, paintings, decorative arts, clothing and other objects, the exhibition examines cochineal’s origin and export to Europe where artists relied on the deep, rich red derived from the bug.  Worldwide, the color impacted trade in Asia and was revered by artists of the Spanish Colonial Empire and American Southwest ultimately creating weavings, blankets, and even contemporary fashions.   

This exhibition features stunning objects and demonstrates the science behind the color and how it is obtained.  The accompanying catalogue will be available in the Museum Store.  

This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM with funding in part provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is circulating through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions.  

Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings
Through October 8, 2017
Dede Rogers Special Events Gallery

Helen Hardin (1943-1984)
Changing Woman, #1/65, 1980
Copper plate etching
On loan from Helen Hardin #1’s LLC – a Nevada Corporation

Helen Hardin (1943–1984) was a significant Native American artist during her lifetime and created avenues for other Native women to break from traditionalism. Although she was influenced early on by the painting of her mother, Pablita Velarde, Hardin wished to break free and create her own style, which became a melding of Native American motifs with modernist geometric abstraction.  Spirit Lines presents the entire set of twenty-three copper-plate etchings that she produced in the early 1980s. This series features the first impression from each etching edition, prints that have previously rarely been seen or traveled.  

Hardin was born to an Anglo father and Santa Clara Pueblo mother. She studied the art and design of her Native American heritage and was fascinated by the geometric images created by prehistoric peoples. This exhibition exemplifies Hardin’s artistic abilities to absorb yet transcend traditional designs and create an individual style of relevant, modern works, which for her were spiritual expressions looking back both to her Roman catholic upbringing and her Native background.

In order to contextualize Hardin’s work and the inspiration she found in the art of her Native American heritage, the exhibition will include several loans of pottery and other objects from the El Paso Museum of Archaeology.

The Archangels Michael and Raphael
Through July 9, 2017
Dorrance and Olga Roderick Gallery

Saint Michael, Archangel (early 19th C)
Oil on tin
Gift of Dr. Steven McKnight in honor of Frank and Sara

This particular exhibition focuses on the archangels with the highest popularity in 19th-century Mexican retablo art, Michael and Raphael. Their popularity rose from the merging of Pre-Columbian messenger deities with Catholic figures to ease the shift to a new religion. Saint Michael is considered to be the prince and captain general of Heaven’s angels. According to Christian teaching he was the one to combat Satan, the one to call men into their heavenly judgment and to lead the faithful to heaven after their death, and the champion of all Christians and the Church. Saint Michael’s depiction in retablos was inspired by the description of him leading his angels into battle against a dragon found in the Book of Revelation (12:7–9). He is portrayed as a young and beautiful winged entity often wearing armor consisting of mail and a helmet. He is shown either holding scales or a flaming sword, or sometimes both, while he subdues a demon under his feet. On the other hand Saint Raphael is depicted as a pilgrim or a guardian angel to allude to his description throughout the Book of Tobit. He appears holding a traveler’s staff, a gourd, and the fish that was used to heal Tobias’s father’s blindness, and sometimes he is shown wearing armor. He is depicted as a beautiful young man wearing a diadem with a cross in the middle and a red feather, but can sometimes have a boyish appearance. The exhibition does include a retablo that shows St. Raphael with Tobias (2007.6.2), a very rare occurrence in the depiction of the archangel.