Tucson Desert Art Museum

Date and Venue July 2014 | 7000 E. Tanque Verde Rd, Suite 16. Tucson, AZ

Reviewer Patricia Cassidy

I recently discovered the Tucson Desert Art Museum, which is tucked away in Santa Fe Square in a lovely courtyard on the North East side of Tucson. The Museum is airy and spacious and chock full of South West Textiles, paintings, jewelry and historic artifacts.

Apart from the large exhibit space, there are rooms for meetings, classes, workshops and other artistic related events but the Main Event for me was the Museum’s outstanding collection of Southwest Native American (Navajo and Hopi) pre-1940s textiles, including displays of chief’s blankets, Navajo saddles and more. Special highlights of the museum include exhibits on Navajo sand painting, early armaments of the Southwest and artifacts from the Mesoamerican period.

Painting from Lawrence Lee

The paintings on display (by many great Southwest Artists like Joe Orr) included the fabulous “Rock of Ages”, a gigantic 80 x 160 oil on linen, panoramic work of the Grand Canyon by renowned landscape artist Arturo Chavez, and the work of an artist called Lawrence Lee (new to me) who specializes in dramatic images of imaginary, archetypal, shamanistic figures - I loved Mr. Lee’s work.

The Museum is full of interesting information in general about the Southwest (the Pueblo Revolt of 1680), stories about the textiles in general and their purpose or meaning, and a wonderful collection of superb jewelry including a group from the Patania family (three generations of expert artists and craftsmen).

© 2014 Patricia Cassidy