The Department of Art

Image: Richard Diebenkorn, Seawall (detail), 1957. Oil on canvas. 20 x 26 inches. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Phyllis G. Diebenkorn, 1995.96. © 2013 The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation.

The visual arts play pivotal roles as communication in our past, present, and future. This understanding is the keystone of our programs, and it is the foundation for our primary goals to expose students to the richness of art through the practices and techniques of making art; an awareness and practice of critical thought; and the practices and methods for understanding the history of art.

Curricula in the Department of Art reflect both necessary bases of knowledge in separate disciplines or areas of expertise and also encourage and, indeed, require cross-disciplinary study. We recognize that it is our responsibility to help students to develop critical thinking abilities and become effective writers about art, whether their own or that of others. We are dedicated to the exploration of art not only that which has been long established within the paradigm of the Western-focused canon of Art History but also to recognize the importance of artistic expressions that do not fit or are not so readily included within such frameworks.

Few departments at UNM over the last two decades have been ranked so frequently in the top 25 nationally as has the Department of Art. The MFA program, which granted its first degree in 1964, continues to be one of the more highly regarded terminal degree programs nationally in this field. Studio Arts is comprised of the areas of Photography, Painting and Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture, Ceramics, and Experimental Art + Technology. In recent years, Art and Ecology and Land Arts have emerged, building upon a long history of the D. H. Lawrence Ranch summer program conducted by department faculty in Taos and the department’s interest in the unique qualities of artistic practice in the landscape of New Mexico. Our program in photography is consistently ranked among the strongest in the country.

The programs in Art History enjoy a prestigious place internationally as well as nationally. Among the oldest in the western part of the US, the art history program began at UNM in 1949. One strength of Art History is Arts of the Americas which includes four faculty with a focus in modern Latin America, as well as Pre-Columbian, and Spanish Colonial art with another two specialists in Native American art. Arts of the Modern Age, our second area of concentration, overlaps and informs Arts of the Americas but also brings its own additions in such areas as the History of Photography, the History of Graphic Arts, and Modern Art and Architecture.

The Art Education Program is one of the oldest in the nation founded in 1947 at the departmental level, the same year that the National Art Education Association was founded. The program supports students with a wide range of interests who can focus on art in cultural, social, and historical contexts. The Art Education Program supports the studying and making of imagery as a life-long pursuit for art professionals working in our diverse and visually complex society.

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Contact Art & Art History

Department of Art & Art History
MSC04 2560
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Phone: (505)277-5861
Fax: (505)277-5955