A Message From Interim Director, Dr. Kymberly Pinder

2014 was a watershed year for the UNM Art Museum. The Curator of Academic Initiatives Sara Otto-Diniz, Curators Chip Ware and Michele Penhall, and Collections Manager Bonnie Verado retired. Together, they had given over a half-century of service to the museum and the University, bringing stellar exhibitions to campus, while cultivating the best and largest collection of art in the state. And after a little over a year here in New Mexico, Director Lisa Tamiris Becker resigned to become the Founding Director of the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. These departures have created a unique opportunity for re-invention.

Last year the museum celebrated its 50th anniversary with a well-received exhibition from the permanent collection. Now it is time to plan for the next fifty years. After many discussions with staff, current and past, I decided, for the sake of maintaining some stability that I would serve as interim director in addition to being Dean of the college. Our team will include interim curators Professor Joyce Szabo and Associate Professor Ray Hernandez, supported by UNM staff, faculty and guest curators. All of us will depend upon our excellent core staff: Mariah Carrillo, Stephen Hurley, Daniel Linver, Stephen Lockwood, Angelina Skonieczka, Sherri Sorenson, Christopher Thobe, Christian Waguespack and Johanna Wild. Together, we will examine and determine what this university museum does well and what it can do better. We will conduct strategic planning, fill vacant positions and establish new initiatives — such as a three-year curatorial fellowship that will attract newly minted PhD’s from the growing number of curatorial programs in the U.S. and elsewhere. Due to the success of this year’s exhibitions and expanded museum hours, attendance and support for the museum are up and we want to maintain this trend. Scheduled exhibitions will continue as planned, as will the stellar educational programming such as the Meeting of the Minds and Insights lecture series. We are eager to explore the boundless potential of how the museum can be more actively a part of the campus, city and state through offering more to our diverse audiences.

Over the next year, we will be speaking with supporters of the museum on campus and in the community via faculty committees and members’ forums. An advisory council of academic and museum professionals from local and national institutions will provide input on both our short-term and long-term plans. The council includes the following distinguished scholars and curators, among others, who will advise and, in some cases, also guest curate:

  • Cathy Wright, Director, Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
  • Tey Marianna Nunn, Director, Museum and Visual Arts Program, National Hispanic Cultural Center
  • Sanjit Sethi, Executive Director, The Santa Fe Art Institute
  • Patsy Phillips, Director , Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
  • Eumie Imm-Stroukoff, Director of the Research Center, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
  • Suzanne Sbarge, Executive Director, 516 Arts, Albuquerque
  • Chad Coerver, Chief Content Officer, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Marla C. Berns, Director, Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA
  • Janet Dees, Curator, Site Santa Fe
  • Julia Dolan, The Minor White Curator of Photography, Portland Art Museum
  • Kate Ezra, Nolen Curator of Education and Academic Affairs, Yale University Art Gallery
  • Joel Hoffman, Executive Director, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Brooklyn
  • Kellie Jones, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
  • James Oles, Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Curator of Latin American Art, Davis Museum, Wellesley College