Mary Statzer: An Interview by Collective Constructs

Mary Statzer works on the installation of Nothing Without Each Other (2023) by Collective Constructs member, Anna Rotty, in Hindsight Insight 2.0.

Episode description:
Mary Statzer is a curator, an art historian, and an artist herself. In her current role as Curator of Prints and Photography at the University of New Mexico Art Museum, Statzer oversaw the genre-spanning exhibition Hindsight/Insight 2.0: Portraits, Landscapes, and Abstraction from the UNM Art Museum. This experimental exhibition series is devoted to complicating existing narratives about racism, decolonization, and gender stereotypes within the museum’s collection, and Statzer has chosen to work with a series of collaborators to decenter her own curatorial voice. In this episode, we talk to Statzer about her role at the museum, how she came to be a curator, and what excites her about the possibilities that collaboration opens up.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Marina Perez, Anna Rotty, and Mary Statzer converse during at the opening reception of Hindsight Insight 2.0.


Tamarind Institute

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM)

Phoenix Art Museum

Center for Creative Photography, at the University of Arizona

People Mentioned:

Joe Segora is an independent and collaborative artist.

Beaumont Newhall (1908 – 1993), was an American curator, art historian, writer, photographer, and the second director of the George Eastman Museum.

Dyani White Hawk is a contemporary artist and curator of Sicangu Lakota, German, and Welsh ancestry.

Raymond Johnson (1891 – 1982), was an American painter and a member of the Transcendentalist Painting Group. Learn more about Jonson by visiting the Raymond Jonson Web Portal.

Anne Noggle (1922 – 2005), was an American aviator, photographer, curator and professor. Read more about Anne Noggle here.

Paul Strand (1890 – 1976), was an American photographer and filmmaker.


Think-Pair-Share Questions

Mary Statzer talks about her process as a curator. After listening, use the prompts below to form your own individual ideas, then discuss them with a partner and share with the class.

  • Is the idea of someone being an artist / maker and a curator surprising? Discuss some of the accomplishments that it could create. What might some obstacles be?
  • What does the term “white cube” mean? How does the term evoke an aesthetic or an idea of space in a gallery?

Writing Prompts

The history of photography carries powerful narratives that shape a nation’s view of itself and its history. Consider the following prompts to respond in writing:

  • Histories of landscape photography shapes the US origin story by . . .
  • Connections between printmaking and photography include . . .

Building-Critical-Awareness Discussion Questions

  • Mary Statzer talks about selecting paint colors for interior gallery walls in the exhibition Hindsight Insight 2.0. She considers the physical space, the visitor, and the art. Comparing white gallery walls and ones with a vibrant color palette, how does the absence of color (white walls) or inclusion of color have an impact on the viewers perception of the artists work?

Learning & Exploration Activities

  • Discussion and commitment: with collaboration in mind, what actions might we take, as a group or individually, to create art spaces that are more community engaged?
  • Examine one person or organization from the reference list for Mary’s interview. Identify the following: Who are they? … What do they do? … How ? …