Mixed Me­dia

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Wait Un­til Dark at the New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art

While we may as­so­ciate the term “noc­turne” with mu­si­cal com­po­si­tions, it has as long a his­tory in the realm of paint­ing. Artists such as James McNeill Whistler ti­tled sev­eral of his late 19th-cen­tury paint­ings noc­turnes, and al­lu­sions to mu­si­cal forms were among his fre­quent themes. The New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art has its own suite of noc­turnes — es­sen­tially, night­time scenes — in its col­lec­tion; they are the sub­ject of the cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion and are on view through April 21. The ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes well-known re­gional artists from the mu­seum’s his­toric col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing Gus­tave Bau­mann, Ger­ald Cas­sidy, E. Martin Hen­nings, Louis Ribak, Gene Kloss, and Ge­or­gia O’Ke­effe, as well as artists who were ac­tive in other ar­eas of the coun­try from the late 19th cen­tury into the 20th, such as Charles Harold Davis and Al­bert Pinkham Ry­der.

The se­lec­tion as­sem­bled by Chris­tian Wagues­pack, the mu­seum’s cu­ra­tor of 20th-cen­tury art, fo­cuses on scenes that evoke the feel­ing, in­ti­macy, and mood of the night, fea­tur­ing sev­eral at­mo­spheric land­scapes. Wagues­pack also chose im­ages that de­pict evening events, such as Cas­sidy’s Sketch for a Span­ish Dance Scene (1920), and night­time rit­u­als, in­clud­ing Bau­mann’s de­pic­tion of Sha­lako dancers, a rare oil paint­ing com­pleted in 1923 by the master wood­block print­maker.

At 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16, Wagues­pack gives a lec­ture on the his­tory of the noc­turne in art. He dis­cusses the ways in which artists en­gage with the sub­ject of night and how the theme of dark­ness man­i­fests in their works. The lec­ture takes place in­side the mu­seum’s St. Fran­cis Au­di­to­rium and is free. The ex­hi­bi­tion is by admission. Call 505-476-5072 for in­for­ma­tion. — Michael Abatemarco

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