The Latest from the Palace Press: Ernie O’Malley & Dorothy Stewart in NM

Just off the press,
The Press at the Palace of the Governors is pleased to announce the release of ERNIE O’MALLEY & DOROTHY STEWART IN NEW MEXICO

The title of the book comes from the 1929 diary entry of Ernie O’Malley, written in Taos, New Mexico. It is self-conversation that begins with Ernie asking, “What the hell are you doing near Indian country?” It goes on to reveal the philosophy and values of the young general in the Irish war for independence as he seeks new experiences in America. Shortly after this was recorded, he met artist Dorothy Newkirk Stewart, who lived at El Zaguán on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. The two forged a friendship based on a shared commitment to the arts, travel, and indigenous cultures that took them around New Mexico and on to Mexico.

Introduced by Cormac O’Malley, the book is a hybrid cross of an album amicorum – a friendship book – and an informal artist book, juxtaposing the words of Ernie O’Malley and early prints by Dorothy Stewart. Inspired by Dorothy’s at times “throw caution to the wind” approach to book design, we meandered into book-making parts unknown on the way to completion. Dimensions, typography, and papers were tried and ruled out until we arrived at a book you will want to caress. It won’t take long to read, but you will return to it again and again. You may even recognize yourself in it, for honestly, who of us hasn’t had a similar self-conversation?

The set type for a page and the resulting print.

With 48 pages measuring 5 x 7.5 inches, 100 copies of this letterpress edition were printed. The soft-cover binding is based on the popular travelers’ journals that we make and sell at the Palace Press. Our friend Patricia Musick, who knows more about Irish lettering than nearly anyone, designed the lettering for the title page, and also the monogram of the entwined EOM and DNS initials used on the half-title page. Text papers are Biblio and handmade Moravia, and the cover paper is a rare handmade by John Koller. It was marbled by Thomas Leech, who along with James Bourland, did the presswork. The typefaces, all handset, are Goudy Oldstyle and University of California, with Colum Cille used judiciously for the headings. That typeface was designed as a Gaelic alphabet in the 1930s and is named for the Irish monk, scribe and saint.

A shot of the paper marbeling process.

Marking NM’s Historic Women: Maria Ramita Simbola Martinez, Cora Durand, and Virginia Duran

Photo Credit: Palace of the Governors Photo Archives
Picurís Pueblo pottery exhibit at the first “Indian Fair,” Armory building, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Date: 1922
Negative Number 000738

Maria Ramita Simbola Martinez “Summer Harvest” (1884–1969), Cora Durand (1904–1981), and Virginia Duran (1904–1998), Picuris Pueblo

Maria Ramita Simbola Martinez, Cora Durand, and Virginia Duran helped to preserve the distinctive micaceous pottery tradition that is important in Picuris and other nearby pueblos. Made with locally mined mica-rich clay, these unusual pots have a glittery sheen. They are fired at a low temperature which makes them ideal for cooking. While valued for their utility, these pots are also now considered works of art.

Roadside Marker Location: Pueblo of Picuris; Taos County, US Hwy 75/ Indian Road, Mile Marker 11.5

You can view a county by county list of the Historic Women Mile Markers in this pdf.

You can view a map of the Historic Women Mile Markers at www.nmhistoricwomen.org

March is Women’s History Month. During this month we’ll be highlighting some of the women featured on New Mexico’s Historic Women Roadside Markers. Text provided by our colleagues at New Mexico Historic Preservation Division

Marking NM’s Historic Women: Estella Garcia & the Women of the WPA, Fabric Artists

Photo Credit: Palace of the Governors Photo Archives
Stella Garcia and her colcha embroidery class, Federal Art Project (WPA), Melrose, New Mexico. (Estella Garciá standing. Fourth artist from the left identified as Rita Rodríguez Chávez)
Date: circa 1936
POG Negative Number 090204

(SIDE 1) Estella García taught colcha embroidery at Melrose, New Mexico, for the Federal Arts Program in the 1930s. Anglo and Hispana women in Garcia’s class collaborated to design and produce embroidered theater curtains, wall hangings, and seat coverings for institutions across the state including the Albuquerque Little Theatre. Garcia is one of the few Hispanic women artists recorded in FAP documents. Unfortunately, few examples of her work remain. (SIDE 2) Under the umbrella of the WPA, the National Youth Administration, and the Federal Arts Program, instructors and students were recruited to work in community-based art centers that produced fabric arts, including weaving, colcha embroidery, and lace-making. While the artistic creativity of these mostly unrecognized women was considered “women’s work for home use” by WPA administrators, this now popular New Mexican art form has been revitalized.

Roadside Marker Location: Curry County, US Hwy 60/84, Mile Marker 336.18

You can view a county by county list of the Historic Women Mile Markers in this pdf.

You can view a map of the Historic Women Mile Markers at www.nmhistoricwomen.org

March is Women’s History Month. During this month we’ll be highlighting some of the women featured on New Mexico’s Historic Women Roadside Markers. Text provided by our colleagues at New Mexico Historic Preservation Division

Marking NM’s Historic Women: Pablita Velarde

Photo Credit: Palace of the Governors Photo Archives
Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico
Photographer: Harold Kellogg
Date: 1938
Negative Number 077541

Pablita Velarde was an internationally acclaimed artist whose paintings largely depicted Pueblo life. She was commissioned by the WPA art’s program to paint murals at Bandelier National Monument. Selected as one of New Mexico’s “Living Treasures”, she received many awards, including the French Palmes Académique, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for achievement in the arts, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eight Northern Pueblos.

Roadside Marker Location: Rio Arriba County, US Hwy 30 West Side, Mile Marker 7.1

You can view a county by county list of the Historic Women Mile Markers in this pdf.

You can view a map of the Historic Women Mile Markers at www.nmhistoricwomen.org

March is Women’s History Month. During this month we’ll be highlighting some of the women featured on New Mexico’s Historic Women Roadside Markers. Text provided by our colleagues at New Mexico Historic Preservation Division

SWAIA Goes Virtual This Year

Photo: Crowd in front of the Palace of the Governors, SWAIA Santa Fe, Indian Market 1991. New Mexico Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, New Mexico History Museum. Photograph by Annie Sahlin. HP.2013.12.073

Virtual Indian Market
August 1-31, 2020
At: swaia.org

The largest and most definitive annual event for Native American artists continues virtually this August 2020. The Southwest Association of Indian Arts (SWAIA) has taken up the monumental task of creating an online market for over four-hundred Native artists that will show and sell their works to a National and International audience. SWAIA’s nearly one-hundred-year mission of bringing Native arts to the world, connects New Mexico with Native Nations throughout the United States and Canada, and visitors from around the world.

Additional annual events will be conducted virtually as well, such as the juried competition for Grand Award (formerly known as “Best in Show”), the Native Fashion Show, and virtual talks with SWAIA artists. From August 1 -31, 2020, visitors to the website can buy directly from artists and virtually attend events during this year’s month-long Indian Market at swaia.org.

Our very own curator of Southwestern History, Cathy Notarnicola has served on SWAIA’s juries for many years. This year, Cathy was involved as a juror for the market’s textile class, or category. Stay tuned for as we will feature her thoughts on serving as a “virtual” juror in an upcoming post.

Where ancient artifacts meet cutting-edge art

Where ancient artifacts meet cutting-edge art

Welcome to the latest installment of our media-release series, “Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now.” See the links below for previous releases, along with information about obtaining photographs to accompany your coverage.


“Green Fragment” – Kumi Yamashita


Fragments, 40 Resin Casts
Kumi Yamashita



Kumi Yamashita At Her Studio


“Rio Grende Colcha” – Paula Castillo

Santa Fe, NM – A 20-foot metal sculpture crawls along an exterior wall, mimicking the life-giving Rio Grande. Inside, a magical mix of sculpted resin and strategic spotlights turns apparently mundane objects into an amazing array of shadows.

Cutting-edge contemporary art in the nation’s newest history museum? It could only happen in New Mexico, where artistic traditions have had millennia to grow deep roots and produce the sweetest of fruit.

Besides honoring more than 400 years of cultural interactions, the New Mexico History Museum, opening May 24, is delighted to include works by Kumi Yamashita and Paula Castillo in its permanent collection and on public display. Their intriguing creations come courtesy of the 1% for the Arts initiative, also called the Art in Public Places Program.

The artists began installing their works this week and are available for interviews and photographs.

Started in 1986 as a way to keep the arts alive and present, the Art in Public Places Program requires a 1 percent set-aside in every public building budget of more than $100,000 for cities, counties and the state. The money is used to acquire public art to display in, on, or around the building.

At a time when public funding for cultural endeavors is at risk, the program provides a stream of revenue that helps enrich our citizens’ lives while supporting artists and craftspeople. It echoes the WPA initiatives of the Depression era, when artists’ and craftspeople’s paintings, furniture and architecture achieved a pinnacle that stands today. The New Mexico History Museum is proud to continue in that tradition by working with artists who are crafting their own interpretations of what it means to be in New Mexico.

Kumi Yamashita works heavily with light and shadow in ways that defy description. (A video of her displaying a few of her pieces on a Japanese TV show, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulzyrV8IjE0, has been a regular You Tube sensation.) She’s crafting two pieces for the Museum’s second-floor interior:

  • Fragments consists of 40 cast-resin tiles arrayed in an oval shape. Though they appear to simply be colored blocks, when lit, they reveal the shadows of human faces – actual New Mexicans, whose photographs she took on a statewide tour.
  • Untitled begins with a simple frame in the shape of New Mexico. When lit, it casts the shadow of a man sitting on the southern border while gazing at the stars.

“One of the issues I focus on is the boundary we create within ourselves by categorizing the world,” Yamashita says. “Through my work, I wish to remind ourselves of how we preconceive what is around and inside us. Knowledge, ideas, and values are too often accepted without questioning. Can we find a way to evaporate ourselves from a pond and condensate over an ocean? Can we see a common thread that connects all things?”

Yamashita has been a visiting artist and guest lecturer at universities and academies in the United States, Turkey, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Japan, and has received residencies such as the Roswell Artist in Residence Program, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, the Millay Colony, the Aomori International Art Center and the Border Art Residency in New Mexico. Her work is on permanent display in public spaces in Seattle, Osaka, Hokkaido, and Tokyo and is a part of museum collections in Boise, Idaho and Shimane.

Paula Castillo is a well-known, native New Mexican artist, based in Cordova. She frequently works with discarded pieces from industrial metal fabrication processes and is preparing four works for the Museum’s exterior:

  • A set of benches sculpted to resemble the mountains of New Mexico, will be placed to the left of the Museum’s main entrance at 113 Lincoln Ave.
  • On the west face of the Museum, Dos Arboles, Dos Hermanas (Two Trees, Two Sisters) will begin at ground level, then climb 32 feet high, cresting the roofline of the Museum.
  • Rio Grande Colcha, an image of the Rio Grande and all of her tributaries in a colcha, or traditional Spanish embroidery, design, will span 20 feet across the west face of the museum.
  • On the wall of Museum’s second-story patio terrace, Castillo will craft an excerpt from the Nambe Pueblo Tewa poem, “My home over there, Now I remember it.”

Collectively, the pieces reference mountains, trees, rivers and homes – a simple yet profound way to understand the connection between the natural world and the cultural history of New Mexico. Castillo says she intends to introduce visitors to the always contingent, personal and human-scaled history of New Mexico.

“For me, form is complex and adaptable with all of its hundreds of fluid and solid systems: regional watersheds, train sounds, star flows, off the interstate, waving at someone,” she says. ”Like hydrogen attaching to oxygen in a flowing hexagonal movement or a group of people laughing at an absent minded gesture, I see form as alive and emerging from itself in an easy flash.”

Using art to help tell the story of the people who were and are the fabric of New Mexico was only natural. Dr. Frances Levine, director of the New Mexico History Museum, notes that art has been, and continues to be, a vital part of the state’s culture.

“Artistic expression has played an important role in New Mexico’s culture from its earliest days,” Dr. Levine says. “From Native American pottery and weavings through Spanish devotional objects of colonial life, to the Taos Artists and WPA craftspeople. Our collections at the New Mexico History Museum celebrate those traditions, and their roots continue to bear fruit today. The works of Paula and Kumi help us connect the Museum to this longer artistic history. We are pleased that these works relate to our history and to the present.”

Loie Fecteau, executive director of New Mexico Arts, the agency that oversees the 1 Percent for the Arts program, calls public art “the most democratic of all the art forms because it really does belong to all of us.”

“New Mexico has long been recognized as having one of the strongest and most innovative public art programs in the country, which I think is really fitting given the historical importance of the arts in our state and the way the arts are treasured and embedded in our many diverse cultures,” Fecteau says. “Our Legislature is really to be commended for having the foresight to create our state 1 percent for public art program more than 40 years ago,” Fecteau said.

Fecteau notes that the program has placed more than 2,200 pieces across New Mexico in each of the state’s 33 counties.

Art is a subjective media; it allows the viewer to take what they will from it, to draw their own conclusions. In the same way, the New Mexico History Museum sets out to allow visitors the opportunity to decide for themselves what “really” happened. Create your own place in history. Get into it! Join us at the grand opening of the New Mexico History Museum, www.nmhistorymuseum.org/, on May 24, 2009.

For more information about the New Mexico History Museum, including a selection of user-ready high-resolution photographs, log onto http://media.museumofnewmexico.org/nmhm. More than 8,000 additional, high-resolution photographs illustrating the history of New Mexico are available by keyword search at www.palaceofthegovernors.org (click on “Photo Archives” then on “Digitized Collections”). Most requests for scans from this site can be delivered the same day, and usage is free for publicity purposes only.

Previous releases:

The Tiffany Ties that Bind

The Railroad Wars

The New Face of History

The Tales that Made the American West

New Mexico History Museum’s Core Exhibits

Telling the People’s Stories: A Message from the Director

Creating a Place for Our Past, by Dr. Frances Levine, El Palacio, Summer 2006

Other Sites:

NM History Museum on Twitter

NM History Museum on Facebook

For media inquiries, please contact:
Kate Nelson
New Mexico History Museum
505 476 1141
Kate.Nelson@state.nm.us
www.nmhistorymuseum.org

Rachel Mason
Ballantines PR
Rachel@ballantinespr.com
505 216 0889
www.ballantinespr.com