NMSU Permanent Collection


A Note From Our Director Regarding the Mission of the NMSU Permanent Art Collection: 

In 2016 we prepared new missions for both the University Art Museum (UAM) and the NMSU Permanent Art Collection that pledge to diversify our programming and collections by exhibiting and collecting significant works by leading African American, female, LGBTQ and other underrepresented and marginalized artists. We want to recommit ourselves to this mission, aiming to more accurately reflect and amplify the voices of our diverse cultural communities. We also want to reassert ourselves as a safe space that welcomes all members of our on-campus and off-campus community to come together to mourn, relearn, hear and understand how we will attain social justice and reform for our communities of color. Please read our full message in solidarity in response to recent events here.

About the NMSU Permanent Art Collection:

Situated within NMSU, the University Art Museum has actively acquired and stewarded the robust and diverse NMSU Permanent Art Collection since its inception as the University Art Gallery (UAG) in 1974. In the 1960’s, through gifts from several collectors, NMSU became the caretaker of the largest collection of nineteenth-century Mexican retablos in the US. After years of development the UAG opened its doors to the public in 1974 in D. W. Williams Hall, a retrofitted basketball gymnasium built in 1938. In 1977, with a new art gallery formed, the administration of NMSU made the commitment to supply funds to the gallery to create and expand the NMSU Permanent Art Collection with the primary focus of forming a teaching collection for students and larger community. Two major NEA grants for the purchase of works of art by living American artists further expanded the Collection, and NMSU’s Permanent Art Collection grew by more than 2,000 objects in less than ten years. As a contemporary visual arts hub in southern New Mexico, the UAM provides enriching and informative experiences through participatory engagements with historical art, particularly its collection. In 2019 the University Art Museum (previously the UAG) moved its culturally significant art collection from its location in D. W. Williams Hall to a state-of-the-art, fully climate controlled, 21st century museum facility in the newly constructed Devasthali Hall. The new museum offers public access to the incredible permanent collection, now drawing from 2,000 nineteenth-century Mexican retablos, still the largest collection in the United States, 1,775 contemporary and modern works, and the Don Gonzales Collection, a collection of ninety World War I and II era propaganda posters. Since opening it’s doors in the new museum the collection has received additional gifts of works including the Giffords Family Retablo Collection and a collection of artworks by New Mexico based women artists from Tonya Turner and Michael Carroll in honor of Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe. All artworks that have been added since 2016 have taken a new collection mission into account which pledges to diversify our programming and collections by exhibiting and collecting significant works by leading, African American, female, LGBTQ and other underrepresented and marginalized artists. Recent acquisitions that support our mission include the artists: Wendy Red Star, Christine Nguyen, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Ramiro Gomez, Las Hermanas Iglesias, and most recently a suite composed of eighteen lithographs drawn from over eighteen years of visiting artists to the Tamarind Institute which includes well known artists of color including Nick Cave, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Robert Pruitt, and Enrique Martínez Celaya

(Highlights below, more details about each collection on individual collection pages)