The Albuquerque Museum – Art. History. People

Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Yes, I know… some people find museums boring. However, if you are like me, you’ll find plenty to see with over 10,000 works of art, 27,000 historical objects and over a hundred thousand photographs in their archives. Art and artifacts from the area’s early history are always on view. And the museum has contemporary exhibits as well. Like I said, you will have plenty to see and enjoy if museums are your “thing.”

One of my favorite contemporary works is by John Fincher. Dated 1979, this oil and canvas is called The Burning of Albuquerque. The description by the painting reads in part, “Demonstrating the influence of Pop Art, Fincher’s homage to Albuquerque is iconic and oversized, a slightly eerie certainly cheeky, absurdist postcard on steroids.”

Probably my favorite contemporary work is this representation of a dashboard with a view of a New Mexico highway. I imagine it to be Route 66. Unfortunately, I neglected to capture the information on the artist. You’ll have to stop by the museum yourself to see the details. The best part of the image in my mind is the cool sun visors.

When we visit a museum, we expect to see antiquities. During our visit there were historic artifacts on display that date back to the 15th century, for example this work by Miguel Alcañiz, circa 1422-30, is tempera on wood. The impact of this work is not lost by time. The tempera medium is a colorful pigment that has a long vibrant life with examples dating far earlier than this 15th century example.

This carving is not full scale, but is pretty close. I found myself examining it for quite some time just marveling at the fine detail carved into the medium. I got the chance to examine it closely again after capturing the image. It is housed in a protective plexiglass box and the reflections and lights in the museum ceiling were a major distraction to the image. I wasn’t able to get rid of all the reflections in post production, but I did remove the many distracting ceiling lights both reflecting and mounted above the work.

Another fascinating contemporary work is by Judy Chicago, a well known feminist. Her work Woe Man I. This work is a cast paper sculpture, an interesting medium. The work, an activist statement “combines the angst of modern life with outrage at the denigration of fundamental principles of equality, creativity, and emotional sensitivity.” Or so it says in part on the descriptive plaque. If you find yourself in Albuquerque looking for something interesting to see, be sure to check out the museum. Gallery tours are available Tuesdays through Sundays at 2 p.m. and you don’t even need a reservation. In addition the museum offers tours of their sculpture garden and even tours of Old Town during the summer months. Details are on the City of Albuquerque’s website here. Their hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. I submit for your review a gallery of images I captured that afternoon. I hope they interest you enough to visit the museum where for $6 or less you can spend an enjoyable afternoon.

John Steiner


  1. The work, an activist statement “combines the angst of modern life with outrage at the denigration of fundamental principles of equality, creativity, and emotional sensitivity.” Hahaha, this is what you learn in art school. When in reality, it is just some dude I sculpted. Art is much like investment, it’s hard to decipher their bullshit, and it’s meant to be that way, so you feel like an outsider. I find that stuff hilarious. Looks like a worthy visit, but I enjoy museums.

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