New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary: A Beacon of Contemporary Art in Santa Fe


© DNCA, Ilc and StudioGP, 2020

Excitement is brewing in Santa Fe as the highly anticipated New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary (NMMOA) is set to open its doors to the public on September 23, 2023. Nestled in Santa Fe’s vibrant Railyard District, this new venue will be a game-changer for contemporary art in New Mexico.

The goal of NMMOA Vladem Contemporary is to expand the diversity and reach of the museum’s collection by showcasing contemporary art. This bold move not only opens up opportunities for engaging with living artists from New Mexico but also for embracing artists from different cultural backgrounds. The museum plans to bring world-class exhibitions highlighting diverse perspectives and enriching the region’s cultural landscape.

The new building is a testament to the museum’s commitment to its educational mission. With modern exhibition spaces designed for contemporary art, a dedicated artist-in-residence studio, and expanded collection storage, NMMOA Vladem Contemporary is well-equipped to nurture creativity and provide a platform for innovative artistic expression. Visitors will be treated to a remarkable collection viewing area, inviting them to immerse themselves in the vibrant world of contemporary art.

One of the standout features of NMMOA Vladem Contemporary is its dynamic educational classroom. This versatile space will host art-making sessions, classes, hands-on activities, and performance-based art, offering visitors an interactive and immersive experience. Additionally, the new building boasts substantial storage facilities, addressing the previous lack of space at the original NMMOA Plaza Building. With state-of-the-art climate control and ample storage capacity, the museum can now accept donations of major contemporary works of art, ensuring that these valuable pieces remain within the state.

new mexico museum of art valdem contemporary
Artworks from "Shadow and Light" © Courtesy of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs
new mexico museum of art vladem contemporary
Artworks from "Shadow and Light" © Courtesy of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

The inaugural exhibition at NMMOA Vladem Contemporary, titled “Shadow and Light,” pays homage to the famed New Mexico light that has captivated artists and photographers from around the globe for centuries. The exhibition reflects one of the core beliefs behind the founding of NMMOA: that art holds the power to go beyond mere replication and illustration.

Art engages with the grand ideas and experiences that shape human life. While New Mexico’s light has traditionally been associated with representational landscape paintings, this exhibition celebrates artists who have sought to capture and express more than just naturalistic representation in their work.

“Shadow and Light” will occupy two galleries at Vladem Contemporary, showcasing a diverse array of artwork created from the mid-20th century to the present day. The exhibition features esteemed artists with regional, national, and international reputations, including Larry Bell, Emil Bisttram, Lee Bul, Judy Chicago, Ron Cooper, James Drake, Angela Ellsworth, Gloria Graham, Nancy Holt, Jennifer Joseph, Agnes Martin, Florence Miller Pierce, Virgil Ortiz, J P 제피 (formerly Jen Pack), Helen Pashgian, Charles Ross, Susan York, Leo Villareal, and Erika Wanenmacher. These artists, each with their unique perspective and artistic voice, contribute to a rich tapestry of contemporary art that reflects the breadth and depth of human creativity.

As the doors of NMMOA Vladem Contemporary swing open, art enthusiasts and the general public alike can look forward to a new era of artistic exploration and inspiration in Santa Fe.

Find tickets and more information about the space and exhibitions at vladem-contemporary

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The Vladem Contemporary is named after Robert and Ellen Vladem. The couple made the lead gift of $4 million in the $12.5 million campaign. The funds to create the Vladem Contemporary were raised through a private-public partnership. The State of New Mexico contributed over $6 million towards the construction. 


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