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The Harwood Museum of Art

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Harwood Museum of Art Receives $100,000 Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation
February 08, 2014

Harwood Museum of Art Receives $100,000 Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation

Taos, NM – The Harwood Museum of Art

The Harwood Museum of Art of the University of New Mexico has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation in support of the exhibition Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West and its catalogue. Organized by the Harwood Museum of Art in collaboration with the Burchfield-Penney Art Center in Buffalo, New York, the exhibition will be on view at the Harwood Museum of Art May 21-September 11, 2016. From there it will travel to the Burchfield-Penney Art Center in Buffalo, New York (Mabel Dodge Luhan’s birthplace) and to at least one other venue.

This unprecedented exhibition, guest co-curated by scholars MaLin Wilson-Powell and Lois Rudnick, focuses on the life and times of one of the early 20th century’s most significant but under-recognized cultural figures: Mabel Dodge Luhan (1879-1962). A political, social, and cultural visionary, salon hostess, and collector of genius in almost every field of modern endeavor—including painting, photography, drama, psychology, radical politics, and social reform—Luhan spent her adult life building utopian communities. First, as an expatriate in Florence (1905-12), working to recreate the Renaissance; next as a “New Woman” in Greenwich Village (1912-15), hosting one of the most famous salons in American history; and lastly, in Taos, New Mexico, the “New World” (1918-47), bringing together a community of artists, writers, and social reformers whom she believed would convince their fellow Americans of Northern New Mexico’s potential for personal, aesthetic, and national revitalization.

In Taos, Mabel and her Taos Pueblo husband, Antonio Lujan, built an enclave consisting of a 17-room Big House and 5 guesthouses. There Mabel Dodge Luhan hosted prominent artists who helped to shape an American modernism as important as—but far less acknowledged—the one created in Paris by American expatriates after World War I. With Luhan as their guide, hostess and impresario, major European and American talents found inspiration in the mesas, mountains, Hispanic villages, and Indian pueblos of Northern New Mexico. Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West will feature modernist works by painters and photographers - including Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, Rebecca Strand, and Paul Strand - displayed alongside indigenous art that inspired their modernist sensibilities, including Native American painters such as San Ildefonso Pueblo’s Awa Tsireh and Taos Pueblo’s Pop Challee - whose work Mabel supported - and traditional Hispano devotional art collected by Luhan.

The Harwood Museum of Art is contracting with the Museum of New Mexico Press to publish a cloth-bound hardcover catalogue to accompany the exhibition. This 200-page publication will include 30 color plates, 120 illustrations, and a timeline placing key events in Luhan’s life in a broad international context of the arts, from 1910–1947. The catalogue will include five essays by five well-respected scholars: Dr. Wanda M. Corn, MaLin Wilson-Powell, Dr. Lois Rudnick, Dr. Rina Swentzell, and Carmella Padilla. Additionally, the Harwood is collaborating with the Center for Cultural Technology (CCT), a joint program of New Mexico Highlands University’s Department of Media Arts & Technology and the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, on the production of an interactive digital timeline contextualizing Luhan’s remarkable life. Finally, the Museum will present a Salon Series comprised of public dialogues featuring catalogue essayists, invited scholars, and leaders from Taos’ Hispanic and Native American communities.

“We’re thrilled and honored that the Henry Luce Foundation is partnering with the Harwood Museum of Art on realizing this ambitious, dynamic project,” states Harwood Museum of Art Director Susan Longhenry. “Through Mabel Dodge Luhan’s visionary efforts, Taos, New Mexico played an important role in the development of American Modernism. This exhibition, and its catalogue, will finally tell that – until now – untold story.”

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor in chief of Time, Inc. The Luce Foundation supports projects in American art, higher education, East Asia, theology, women in science, mathematics and engineering, and public policy and the environment. Through the American Art Program, begun in 1982, the Henry Luce Foundation has distributed over $150 million to some 250 museums, universities, and service organizations in 47 states, the District of Columbia and internationally .

The Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux Street, Taos, NM 87571/ 575 758-9826 / www.harwoodmuseum.org