The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This document details the conflict that erupted over the 1983 proposal by artist Luis Jimenez for a public sculpture to be placed in Tiguex Park in Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico. Originally approved by the Albuquerque Arts Board, the proposed sculpture, entitled Southwest Pietà, featured an Indian man cradling the lifeless body of an Indian woman. It was condemned by many members of the community who viewed it as both “anti-Hispanic” and “anti-woman.” The outcry resulted in the Arts Board voting to rescind its support for the work, forcing Jimenez to rework the project, which no longer had a secure location. The text includes an interview with Jimenez in which he describes his perceptions of the situation and discusses the unique challenges facing artists who are commissioned to create public works.
Luis Jimenez (1940–2006) is one the best known Latino sculptors who had a successful career in public art. The controversy regarding his Southwest Pietà stemmed from its proposed placement in the Northeast Heights area of Albuquerque, across from the Albuquerque Museum of Art. It was subsequently moved to the Martineztown section of the city, a predominately Mexican-American area. The controversy, which was at its height when the ARTlines interview was published, is noteworthy on multiple levels. Culturally, the work was seen as Mexican and not reflective of the perceived Spanish heritage of New Mexico. Also, as a work of public art, it pitted the rights of the artist against the wishes of the public. Politically, it precipitated a national discussion regarding artistic censorship and the role of politics within the government funding mechanism of the “one percent for art,” a small portion of public money used to fund public art where private funding is not available.