El Favor De Los Santos Exhibition


The curators of the exhibition were Dr. Elizabeth Zarur, the primary researcher from New Mexico State University on the history and iconography of the NMSU retablo collection and Charles Lovell, director of the Art Gallery. The co-curators and contributors were Elin Luque and Michele Beltrán who worked effortless on the Mexican venues, Albert Ruy Sanchez, Director of Artes de Mexico, and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Associate Director for the Arts and Humanities of the Rockefeller Foundation, who supported the project since February 1997. 

The exhibition “El Favor de los Santos” and the catalog Art and Faith in Mexico: The Nineteenth-Century Retablo Tradition, published in 2001 by UNM Press, received major support from the Museum Program of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Stockman Family Foundation, and New Mexico State University. Other contributors included the Friends of the University Art Gallery, the University of New Mexico Press, the New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs, Televisa, the Fideicomiso para la Cultura Mexico/U.S.A. (U.S./Mexico Fund For Culture), the Fundación Cultural Bancomer, the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, the New Mexico Arts Division, the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences Research Center, Casa Lamm Cultural Center, Harold and Susan Skramstad, Merrill Lynch – Las Cruces Branch, and the Fundación Margarita Miranda Mascareñas.

Two key individuals who were also instrumental in the planning of “El Favor de los Santos,” are Hector Rivero Borrell, Director of the Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City, and Miriam Roberts, independent curator from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Rivero Borrell and the Museo Franz Mayer played a major role as our Mexican partner. Roberts was also responsible for the sound planning and substantive scheduling of the U.S. tour. 

The generous support of Dr. Reed Dasenbrock, Associate Dean and Director of the College of Arts and Sciences Research Center, Rebecca Sellars, John Van Ness, Mike McDonald and Joe Creed from the NMSU Foundation; Dean René E. Casillas Ph.D., Associate Dean Jeffrey P. Brown, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor Jack Burns, Ph.D., J. Mack Adams, Ph.D., Cindy Hoffman, and Associate Director Carol Quintana from the College of Arts and Sciences and Research Center; and Art Department Head Joshua Rose. Individuals who helped with the local fund-raising efforts include Dr. Luis Miguel Diaz, Barbara Freeman, Vincent Figliola, William Green, José Manuel Mascareñas, Sandra Martínez, Eugene Matta, Helen Lucero, Larry Sheffield, former New Mexico State Representative J. Paul Taylor, George Newman, and Barbara Wilbanks and the Friends of the Art Gallery. 

Initial support for the catalog came from the U.S./ Mexico Fund for Culture. The Fideicomiso para la Cultura Mexico/U.S.A. funded the travel and honoraria for the nine leading scholars from Mexico and the U.S. to research the retablo collection and to present lectures at NMSU and the Museo de Arte, I.N.BA., Juárez, Mexico. A second phase of this project funded these scholars to complete essays for the UNM Press publication. We are extremely grateful for the support of the following U.S./Mexico Fund for Culture staff: Lic. José Luís Martínez H., presidente del Comite Directo; Lic. Ercila Gomez Maquero R., presidenta del Comité Directo; Lic. Marcela S. Madariaga, director; and Beatriz Nava, program director. 

“El Favor de los Santos” project took more than 3 years of research and organization presenting 182 of the best examples in the collection as well as 56 comparative loan objects, 12 photomurals, 4 installations and several bi-lingual wall text panels. This international exhibition opened at the University Art Gallery, New Mexico State University in November 19, 1999 followed by three venues in Mexico: Museo de Historia Mexicana, Monterrey; Museo Amparo, Puebla; and Museo Franz Mayer in Mexico City. The national venues included San Jose Museum of Art in California; Mexican Fine Arts Center in Chicago; University of Miami Lowe Art Museum in Florida; National Hispanic Cultural Center in New Mexico and three venues in Spain and the Canary Island.