2021 Highlights: TMA’s Year in Review
It was a great year at TMA! Here is a look at some of the events and programs that made a positive impact in 2021, with our grateful thanks to all of you who helped make good things happen. We couldn’t have done it without the generosity of our visitors, members and contributors.
The Wyeths: Three Generations | Works from the Bank of America Collection opened on January 21. The very popular exhibition featured more than sixty paintings, drawings, and illustrations by three generations of the Wyeth family. It was loaned through the Bank of America Art in our Communities® program.
The Indigenous Arts Gallery is a collaborative effort guided by a committee of Indigenous representatives in partnership with the museum, choosing works of art that speak to the complexities of tribal communities, sovereignty and creativity. In the Schmidt Gallery, the voice of the curator was supplemented by selections made by TMA staff. Each of these works is accompanied by a label containing the words of the person who selected it, reflecting on the personal significance of the object.
IMAGE: Reopening day in the Schmidt Gallery of Latin American Folk Art.
TMA’s virtual Gala was a smashing success, thanks to the many friends of the museum who purchased tickets, sponsored tables, and bid on auction items. The sold-out event included a heat-and-serve meal, a live virtual program, and online auctions.
TMA Gala is the museum’s signature fundraising event that supports educational initiatives and community outreach. In 2022 the Gala will return to TMA’s Plaza to celebrate Moderns at the Museum.
VIDEO: Ballet Folklorico de Arizona filmed in 2021 at Tucson Museum of Art. Produced for TMA’s virtual Gala 2021 by Brandon Salaz of Samsara Studio.
TMA honored Drs. Mark and Kathleen Sublette with the museum’s 2021 Ambassador Circle Lifetime Achievement Award. The Sublettes have a long history of civic philanthropy in Tucson and museums throughout the country. Since 1992 their gallery, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, has established itself as one of the preeminent art galleries in the American West that specializes in historic and contemporary Western and Indigenous art, textiles and jewelry. The Sublettes and their foundation have gifted TMA with important historic Indigenous pottery and textiles, work by Tucson artist Maynard Dixon, and have supported exhibitions featuring art of the American West.
Read about their recent gift of 59 pieces of Southwest Indigenous pottery on the TMA Stories blog.
IMAGE: Drs. Mark and Kathleen Sublette with their children, Keely and Charles, at the Ambassador Circle dinner held in their honor.
A new feature exhibition opened on May 20: 4×4: Willie J. Bonner, Nazafarin Lotfi, Alejandro Macias, and Anh-Thuy Nguyen. It presented four solo shows, making up one large exhibition, by four Southern Arizona artists selected by four TMA curators. Influenced by their personal experiences, politics of space, and social issues of our time, these artists contribute to the region’s unique artistic landscape. Visit this blog post about the installation of the show for a behind-the-scenes look at museum life.
Summer Art Camp was a blast! Every session sold out months before opening day, and the TMALearn! staff enjoyed weeks of hands-on exploring and creating with old friends and first-time attendees. We’re already looking forward to Summer Art Camp 2022, and enjoying many favorite Camp activities in our CREATE! After school @TMA program (spring sessions resume on January 10).
TMA launched the new Contemporary Photography Fund with an inaugural acquisition: Alia Ali’s Interstellar, FLUX Series, 2021. The fund has two strategic objectives: to build a collection of world-class, regionally significant contemporary photography, and to represent the works of diverse communities, cultures, identities and perspectives incorporating new technologies and formats. It was established by four longtime TMA donors: Patricia Carr Morgan, Peter F. Salomon, and Kenneth J. and Judith H. Riskind.
IMAGE: Alia Ali, Interstellar, from the “FLUX Series,” 2021, pigment print on photo rag 310 gsm. with UV protective laminate mounted on aluminum dibond in wooden frame upholstered with wax print, edition 2 of 5 + 1AP + 1 EP, 49 x 35 x 3 in. Collection of the Tucson Museum of Art. Museum Purchase. Funds provided by TMA Contemporary Photography Fund. 2021.15
The lower level of the museum is full of activity in August as permanent collection galleries are refreshed or reinstalled. Favorites from the vault are brought out for viewing, and new acquisitions are installed for the first time. This year’s changeouts included Diagonal Camera: Photographic Perspectives from Mid-Century Mexico, Noble, Proud, Wise, Lordly: Art of the Jaguar, and Modern Art from the Permanent Collection.
IMAGE: Theodoros Stamos, Reflective Sun-Box, 1969, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 68”, 1997.219, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Elliott Meisel, New York. On view in the Anne Y. Snodgrass Gallery.
TMA’s collection of Art of the American West was reframed (metaphorically) with the reinstallation of the Frank and Jean Hamilton Gallery. The refresh was rooted in the principles of relevancy, community, respect and multivocality found in TMA’s IDEA Plan. Throughout 2021, museum staff explored what those terms mean as they relate to exhibitions and collections. The Art of the American West collection provided a great platform for staff to re-examine the West in local and national contexts by beginning to illuminate, through these four principles, who or what stories might have been previously overlooked.
Feature exhibition OLIVIER MOSSET opened on October 14. Internationally renowned Swiss-born, Tucson-based artist Olivier Mosset is known for his large-scale monochrome, reductive, and shaped paintings that engage viewers’ expectations about art and how they encounter it. Don’t miss the chance to hear the artist talk about these works in conversation with Dr. Julie Sasse and Dr. Paul Ivey—register now for the in-person event on January 6 (Free First Thursday!).
IMAGE: TMA visitor @mollybgross shared this encounter with the OLIVIER MOSSET exhibition. Thank you for this reminder of the joy that comes from experiences with art!
The opening celebration of Patrick Martinez: Look What You Created filled the galleries and plaza with energy and life for Free First Thursday in November. Martinez was here to greet visitors and talk about his work. If you didn’t get to see him that night, register now for his return appearance on February 9 when he will be in conversation with TMA’s Jeremy Mikolajczak.
IMAGE: A TMA visitor at the opening celebration for Patrick Martinez: Look What You Created. Photo by Julius Schlosburg. Learn about these neon signs on the TMA Stories blog.
The Collections Committee meets every December to review potential additions to TMA’s permanent collection. The museum has received some remarkable gifts of artwork, and it was an exciting meeting this month as the committee approved many works that will greatly enhance the collection.
We’ll highlight these new acquisitions throughout the coming year. Keep an eye on the weekly TMa-list newsletter, the TMA Stories blog, Facebook and Instagram to see what’s new in TMA’s vault, including a collection of works by Indigenous artists that Christine Brindza, Senior Curator, Glasser Curator of Art of the American West says “will be a dream to work with.”
IMAGE: Kiki Smith, Etc., Etc., 1999, lithograph in 6 colors and intaglio in 2 colors with applique on Sekishu Torinoko Gampi, Masa, and Hahnemuhle Copperplate paper, 35/48. Collection of the Tucson Museum of Art. Gift of Martha Macks-Kahn. 2021.22.3. Read about the entire Martha Macks-Kahn gift on the TMA Stories blog.