Fifty-two of Russell Lee's 1940 photographs of Pie Town and its homesteaders are currently on display at the University Museum of New Mexico State University, Twenty-eight of these photographs are in vivid color and 24 of them are in luminous black-and-white.
Admission is free.
The University Museum is open from 12 noon to 4 PM, Tuesday through Saturday. The University Museum is located in Kent Hall on the NMSU campus at the intersection of University Avenue and Solano Drive.
From 6-7 pm on Friday, September 27, Joan Myers will give a free public lecture at the University Museum: “Pie Town Woman: The Hard Life and Good Times of a New Mexico homesteader”. Myers' book about Pie Town was published by the University of New Mexico Press and received an award for Best Illustrated Trade Book from the Publishers Association of the West. Myers’ book will be available for purchase and she will be signing copies at this event.
From 6-7 pm on Friday, October 18, Joan M. Jensen (Professor Emerita of History, NMSU) will give a free public lecture at the University Museum: Beyond Pie Town". Prof. Jensen has written, edited or co-edited eleven books, including "New Mexico Women: Intercultural Perspectives" (winner of the New Mexico Presswoman's Zia Award).
Russell Lee's photographs of Pie Town indelibly document the details of the homesteaders’ lives, from how they lived in dugout houses, farmed, and raised livestock to how they strived to achieve a coherent community in their new surroundings. The exhibit powerfully illustrates not only the struggles experienced by the families but also how they persevered and thrived during challenging times.
More about “Memories of Pie Town: Rural New Mexico During the Great Depression":
This exhibit includes over 50 of the iconic photographs of the homesteaders of Pie Town, New Mexico taken by Russell Lee in 1940. The photographs were used by the Farm Security Administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to elicit popular support for the plight of rural farmers during the Great Depression; they were made available to the University Museum by the Library of Congress. Due to the dire economic changes of the Great Depression, especially the devastation wrought by the Dust Bowl, over 200 men, women and children were dispossessed of their lands and livelihoods in Texas and Oklahoma. These hardy families sought refuge by claiming homesteads near Pie Town, New Mexico. Through their hard work, resilience, and great resourcefulness they carved new lives for themselves out of the rugged landscape near the Continental Divide of Catron County. The photographs indelibly document the details of the homesteaders’ lives, from how they lived in dugout houses, farmed, and raised livestock to how they strived to achieve a coherent community in their new surroundings. The exhibit powerfully illustrates not only the struggles experienced by the families but also how they persevered and thrived during challenging times.
Another new exhibit at the NMSU Art Gallery:
“Maria Martinez and the Pottery of San Ildefonso Pueblo”. Maria Martinez (1887-1980) is widely recognized as the most highly accomplished Pueblo potter and one of the premier Native American artists of all time. The museum’s collection includes a variety of Maria’s spectacular polished black-on-black pottery, with traditional designs painted by her husband Julian Martinez (1897-1943), her daughter-in-law Santana Roybal Martinez (1909 – 2002), and her son Popovi Da (1923-1971). Among the painted designs is the beguiling form of an avanyu, the plumed serpent that represents the spirit of flowing water, and also an array of radiating feathers inspired by the patterns of the ancient Mimbres people. In addition to the museum’s own collection, this exhibit features two rare examples of the Martinez family’s pottery, generously loaned to the museum by a private collector: a blackware wedding vase that was made by Maria early in her career (before she began signing her pieces) and an exquisite sienna wedding vase shaped by Maria and painted and fired by Julian. Historic photographs of the Martinez family from the archives of the Palace of the Governors and a short film concerning Maria’s life as a potter will be shown together with the gleaming pieces of pottery.