Viewing Gallery-Labor: Motherhood & Art in 2020

Labor: Motherhood & Art in 2020, the inaugural exhibition in the new University Art Museum (UAM) at New Mexico State University (NMSU), opened on February 28, 2020 and is now extended through December 6, 2020. This exhibition, co-curated by museum director Marisa Sage and artist Laurel Nakadate, aims to expand and enrich the compelling conversations regarding motherhood in today’s socio-political climate. Through video, painting, installation, sculpture, film and photographic works, a diverse group of artists explore themes of empowerment, empathy, intimacy, selflessness, vulnerability, failure, anxiety, and choice. While the University Art Museum is temporarily closed, please take this opportunity to view all four video walk-throughs and installation galleries to fully explore the theme of Motherhood in each of the new spaces: the Main Contemporary Gallery, the Bunny Conlon Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery, the Margie and Bobby Rankin Retablo Gallery and the Mullennix Bridge Gallery.  

Labor: Motherhood & Art in 2020 features the work of artists Tracey Baran, María Berrío, Patty Chang, Lenka Clayton, Amy Cutler, Joey Fauerso, Tierney Gearon, Kate Gilmore, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Las Hermanas Iglesias, Mary Kelly, Justine Kurland, Marilyn Minter, Laurel Nakadate, Hương Ngô & Hồng- Ân Trương, Yoko Ono, Catherine Opie, Laurie Simmons, Wendy Red Star, and Mickalene Thomas.

Many of the artists in Labor openly address the choice of becoming mothers, initiating crucial conversations in the arts regarding childlessness and the invisibility of parenting, and reproductive choice, while looking to their own mothers’ lives for insight into the mercurial experience of mothering. Many of the works reframe motherhood within the context of artistic practice, using it as a source of inspiration, creation and collaboration. Other works speak to motherhood as a political act which seeks institutional support in sparking diversity, equality in compensation and recognition.   

This exhibition strives to create a space of inclusivity and support that offers opportunities not only for internationally-celebrated artists, but also for the regional community, through local programming and the exhibition of work by New Mexico-based artists that speak to their own experiences surrounding motherhood.

Please read the full curatorial statement here. 
Please read the full press release here. 
Current schedule of online events. 


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INSTALLATION OF LABOR MOTHERHOOD & ART IN 2020- Bunny Conlon Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery

In the Bunny Conlon Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery we aim to navigate the theme of Motherhood through the lens of the NMSU Permanent Art Collection. Like numerous museums globally, whether purposeful or unintended, our collection presents a relatively heavy male perspective of motherhood. When curating this selection, special care was given to highlight the rare examples of the maternal experience by leading feminist, queer, and diverse artists present within the collection. These works display a nuanced art historical vision of motherhood, and throughout this space, an intergenerational discussion of artistic practice and research is presented as it relates to the visions of motherhood and parenting in the 20th and 21st centuries. These works explore complicated representations of family, identity, reproductive choice and gender through the experiences of women and men that take on the concepts of patriarchal and matriarchal identities through the use of various mediums. In 2016 a new collecting mission was established to transition the UAM’s focus onto collecting significant works by leading female, LGBTQ and other underrepresented artists to more accurately reflect diverse cultural and social communities. We, in the University Art Museum, intend for this first exhibition to be another step towards diversification and equality within our exhibitions and collections going forward into the future at NMSU.

Artist in this gallery include: Ann Fessler, Carolyn DeMeritt, Graciela Iturbide, Hollis Sigler, Jim Goldberg, Joyce Kozloff, Judy Chicago, Julia Barello, Larry Sultan, Manuel Carrillo, Robert D’Alessandro, Roderick Mead, Russell Banks, and Shelby Lee Adams.

This gallery was curated by Courtney Uldrich, MA Candidate, 2021 as part of the course ART 597: Curating from the Collection.

View video-walkthrough of the Bunny Conlon Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery here. 

INSTALLATION OF LABOR MOTHERHOOD & ART IN 2020- Margie and Bobby Rankin Retablo Gallery

The NMSU Permanent Art Collection has the largest holdings of Mexican retablos in the United States. In the Margie and Bobby Rankin Retablo Gallery we view motherhood by telling the story of The Virgin Mary who has represented the role of the traditional mother in the visual arts, literature and music of the Christian and Islamic worlds for thousands of years. In this gallery featuring the NMSU retablo collection, we explore Mary’s role as mother of Christ in a timeline format from Immaculate Conception to the moment her son died on the cross and she became Our Lady of Sorrows and subsequently, humanity’s ultimate mother. Mary’s life as seen in these paintings on tin, is a model to so many mothers in this world who simultaneously rejoice at the moment of conception and grieve for the suffering their children will go through in life. This chronology, including the multiple traits of Mary as seen in both the retablo santos (painting of saints) and ex-votos (paintings commissioned as prayers during moments of hardship), presents an intimate look at an iconic figure who provides relief and guidance to mothers around the world.

This gallery was co-curated by Courtney Uldrich and Silvia Marinas-Feliner

View video-walkthrough of the Margie and Bobby Rankin Retablo Gallery here. 


During the course of the exhibition, the University Art Museum at New Mexico State University further explored motherhood through the lens of our students at NMSU and the regional community of Southern New Mexico in the Mullennix Bridge Gallery. As part of the exhibition Labor: Motherhood & Art in 2020, NMSU Department of Art Master of Fine Arts students and artist-mothers Katrina Chandler and Maggie Day applied to and took part in Lenka Clayton’s An Artist Residency in Motherhood – a self-directed, open-source, artist residency that empowers and inspires artists who are also mothers. From August 2019 – January 2020, Chandler and Day were given four hours per week to create their artist statements, bios, studio practice structure and artworks all exhibited here in this gallery and created in their new studios within Devasthali Hall. As part of their residency, the University Art Museum provided two-hour classes for their children once a week to create artwork while their mothers were given time and space to work in their studios. The artworks exhibited here represent what happens when we create a support structure for mothers on the campus of NMSU and when motherhood is offered as a rich concept to explore within academia, rather than an obstacle to overcome. Also within this gallery we view “Let Them Bloom”, a papel picado series coordinated by Bold Futures, formerly Young Women United, and collectively imagined by the women in the Mesilla Valley Art & Organizing cohort and crafted by Las Cruces artist Bryana Valdez.

View video-walkthrough of the Mullennix Bridge Gallery here.