Spanish Colonial Arts Society

Past Exhibitions

GenNext: Future So Bright 

2018 – 2019

Jana Gottshalk, Curator


GenNext: Future So Bright examined the future of New Mexico’s traditional arts, including artists who work with traditional materials or are inspired by historical techniques. Each artist was rooted in tradition, but had introduced their own unique element, exploring new materials such as street signs, stencil work, or new themes such as politics or indigenous imagery. Each artist brought a new and interesting perspective on colonial art; creating new and exciting art works that echo tradition and predict a bright future for the arts in New Mexico.

Time Travelers: and the Saints go Marching on

2017 – 2018

Jana Gottshalk, Curator


Time Travelers: And the Saints go Marching on explored the enduring imagery of Christian Saints as subject matter for New Mexico’s artists. The exhibition took a closer look at how the portrayal of a Saint can change throughout time, and how many aspects remain the same.

By juxtaposing historical and contemporary pieces of identical subject matter, we can better understand the aspirations of the past, and the natural progression and evolution of art produced in New Mexico. Saints are the ultimate time travelers as they exist both in the past and present.

In the Spirit of Frida


“Innovation within Tradition” is a juried category at the annual Traditional Spanish Market, held every summer on Santa Fe’s plaza. Artists juried into this category were invited to submit works In the Spirit of Frida. The artists whose works were represented drew upon their strong foundation in the traditional arts of New Mexico, but their creative impulse led them to experiment with new materials, subject matter and design. Luis Tapia, who participated in Spanish Market in the mid 1970s, was one of the first nuevomexicano artists to challenge the boundaries between traditional and contemporary art and to take his work in the direction of political, social and religious commentary. The works in this gallery beautifully illustrate the fluidity between tradition and innovation, as well as being a remarkable tribute to Frida as an icon and an artist. ​

Mirror, Mirror: Photographs of Frida Kahlo 


Penelope Hunter-Siebel, Guest Curator

Loan from Throckmorton Fine Art, New York

The exhibition Mirror, Mirror… Photographs of Frida Kahlo traced the artist’s life in more than 50 images by outstanding photographers including Lola and Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Imogen Cunningham, Carl Van Vechten, and Nickolas Muray. Visitors followed Frida from a self-possessed adolescent to a passionate wife and lover, an independent artist, fashion icon and object of cult-like reverence. 

The photography exhibition originated at Throckmorton Fine Art, New York. For the Santa Fe venue the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art added a selection of large scale photographs by William Frej conveying the ambiance of the Casa Azul, the Kahlo family home and now the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City, and a group of works created in homage to Frida by innovative artists from Santa Fe’s Spanish Market. 


From New Spain to New Art: Recent Acquisitions

2016 -2017

This exhibition highlighted exciting and important new additions to the collections of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. Principal among these were 14 award-winning pieces from Spanish Market 2016, purchased with the help of several generous donors. These works illustrate a great diversity in art forms and media as well as the skill and creativity of individual artists working in materials as diverse as delicate silver filigree and large-scale furnishings. 

Chimayo: A Pilgrimage through Two Centuries

A small village in northern New Mexico, not even large enough to have been incorporated, draws some 300,000 visitors a year, 30,000 of those during Semana Santa. These visitors are headed to the single-most visited pilgrimage site in America—the Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas, better known as the Santuario de Chimayó. The Santuario was constructed in 1816, built and adorned with care by some of the most skilled carpinteros and santeros in the region. For two centuries, art and faith have endured, changed, and blossomed in the community of Chimayó. While the Santuario sustained the spiritual growth of Chimayó, weaving sustained its economic growth. Home to the famous Chimayó blanket, the story of the evolution of this particular textile is one of the impact of the industrial age on the farms, homes, and ranches of rural villages. Beginning with homemade wooden looms and handspun and dyed wools that were used to create blankets, jerga (yardage) and sayal (sackcloth) for utilitarian purposes, the weavers of Chimayó and their vendors transformed their weaving tradition into a formidable cottage industry that supported much of the population through the years of the great depression. Today Chimayó is home to some of the most celebrated tapestry weavers in the country. They and their neighbors continue to build upon the textile tradition begun by their antepasados. 

Blue on Blue: Indigo and Cobalt in New Spain

2015 -2016




Blue on Blue explored the use and importance of blue dyes and pigments in colonial life in New Mexico and New Spain. From images of the Virgin Mary to household blankets, ceramics and friar’s habits, blue was an integral part of the colonial world. The desire for blue-and-white ceramics led to nearly 300 years of production for the workshops of New Spain that joined cobalt blue with a mayólica glaze to imitate Chinese porcelains. Indigo was widely used by weavers and was the prominent color in most colonial Hispanic textiles, and was traded to the Navajo for use in their weavings. The pervasive popularity of blue over the centuries is reflected in a diverse array of stunning pieces.