Spaniard Colonial Art and Wheelwright Museums – September, 2019

A visit to two museums on Museum Hill are next on our punchlist of things to do in Santa Fe. Smaller museums yet quite interesting. As you pull in to the drive up to the museums on Museum Hill, there is a sculpture called “Journeys End” by Reynolds Rivera. It depicts a mule-drawn wagon, part of a periodic wagon train, nearing the Plaza in Santa Fe in the 1800’s. Quite impressive.

The first museum we visit today is the Spanish Colonial Art Museum

The current exhibit is that of a local artist, Paul Pletka. His portrayals of old Spanish colonial-period Christian traditions, blended with Native American cultural influences, are a surreal representation and are moving. Dali-like but somehow deeper in imagery.

There were lovely displays of the art/crafts of the different periods and methods of travel to Santa Fe for trading.

The furnishings from a home of a well-known Spanish soldier named Delgado are also on display. Typical now of Santa Fe architecture.

A small, well displayed museum worth stopping to enjoy.

Next stop is the Wheelwright Museum, named after a woman from Boston who came west, fell in love, stayed, met a Navajo man and opened a museum to preserve Native American art in 1937. The oldest museum on Museum Hill.

Out front are several sculptures – a mix of contemporary and traditional Native American art.

Inside are interesting displays of art by a Native American woman, Rose B. Simpson, who grew up on the Santa Clara Pueblo near Espanola, and Bob Haozous, a Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache.

First Rose – a sculptor, eerie, at times, contemporary sculpture.

Then Bob Haozous’s work, also quite contemporary. Many of his paintings have words that cover the entire piece in the background, telling a story of some kind. The only one that didn’t was his personal reflection on his experience in Vietnam.

Loved this mousetrap!

There is a permanent exhibit with displays of jewelry across the years by various famous Native American jewelry makers. This alone made the visit to Wheelwright worthwhile.

The downstairs has a nice store set up as an old trading post, with creaky wooden floors and all. Worth a look. The piece of art I was looking for was in this store – a Zuni fetish of a Raven by Calvert Bowannie. Steve is becoming more and more convinced as he ages, based upon the number of random visitations he receives from these beautiful black birds, that he is their fetish, not vice versa.

These museums continue to delight people from all over the world with the unusual exhibits and displays. Educational and food for the brain and eyes. Thankful we have been able to experience these unique places.

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