Tucson Museums Explore a Wide Web This Spring | Explore wellness

Creative Photography Center

1031 N. Olive Road.

The Center for Creative Photography opens spring with a captivating tree show. The poetically named exhibition, Trees Stir in Their Leaves, not only features stunning photos of Ansel Adams and Lola Alvarez Bravo: it also brings fragments of actual trees into installations created by scientists from the famed Dark circles research lab. The show’s fusion of science and art reminds us how much the world needs trees, both for their beauty and for their ability to cool a world that’s warming places like Tucson and elsewhere, making their part in mitigating climate change. Visitors can walk around campus to see the Tree-Ring Lab and also take a self-guided outdoor tree tour in the university’s fabulous Campus Arboretum.

Until July 23.

University of Arizona Museum of Art

1031 N. Olive Road.

The campus museum’s popular show, The Art of Food, has been in full swing for months. You can see over 100 works by 20th and 21st century artists like Andy Warhol (look for his large art banana) and other famous contemporary artists. The show ends March 20.

But now the exhibit has been refreshed with two new mini-shows, through April 23, which address local food scarcity and poverty. Voices: Real Stories of Hunger and Hope, compiled by Community Foods, documents “hardships and triumphs.” A rising local photographer, Kathleen Dreier, embarked on her Tucson Stories shortly after the murder of George Floyd. In her photo essays, people tell their own stories of struggle and success.

EXTRA: Kent State art history professor Shana Klein gives a talk, Hard to Swallow: The Racist Messages Behind American Images of Fruit. Tuesday, February 24, 5:30 p.m., at the Center for Creative Photography.


MOCA: Museum of Contemporary art

265 S. Church Ave.

There’s less than a month left to see MOCA’s Were-:Nenetech Forms, a group show about “migration, transformation, and survival in the Sonoran Desert.” Led by LA artists Rafa Esparza and Timo Fahler, the team of artists fabricated traditional adobe bricks and used them to build new, earth-framed architectural structures. The show’s title alludes to the indigenous peoples of Mexico who built with adobe: the Nahuatl word “nenetech” translates to “close together”. A treat is the work of the late Ana Mendieta (1948-1985), revered for outdoor body art; she often placed her own body in the sand and earth, returning to the earth herself.

Closes March 13. Next up in the Great Hall will be the work of painter Grace Rosario Perkins, from April 2 to September 1.


Tucson Art Museum

140 N. Main Ave.

The museum has long hoped to mount an exhibition for artist Brad Kahlhamer; it will finally happen this spring. On March 17, the Tucson-born artist – born to Native American parents and adopted by a German-American family – will open his solo exhibition “11:59 to Tucson.”

He doesn’t know the whole story of his life. “Longing for his Indigenous roots,” write the curators, Kahlhamer creates paintings that are a “mixture of dreams and nightmares.” Today he lives in New York and Mesa and creates urban scenes, Southwestern fantasies and personal narratives. From March 17 to September 25.

Many of TMA’s winter hits are still on the walls and floors of the museum. The super-abstract art of Olivier Mosset is in place until February 27. Look What You Create will show the narrative work of Patrick Martinez until April 24.


Tucson Desert Art Museum

7000 E. Tanque Verde Road.

The latest exhibit at this Far Eastern museum is Sacred Dancers: Ceremonial Navajo Weaving.

The beautiful canvases of the show, depicting images of dancing sacred beings, weave an interesting story. The Navajo believed it was wrong, even dangerous, to make images of the Yeis, the holy Navajo people. But tourists arriving in the early 1900s were eager to buy and, according to the museum, the weavers finally came up with a solution. While remaining respectful, they began to weave artistic rugs rather than “exact replicas of religious images”. The exhibition features works by a number of weavers who “depicted ceremonial


Until June 22. Tucsondart.org

Arizona State Museum

1013 E. University Boulevard.

The museum continues with Wrapped in Color: Legacies of the Mexican Sarape. This must-see show showcases glorious textiles from yesterday and today. Part of the story is Porfirio Gutiérrez, a Zapotec textile artist who teaches a new generation to preserve the art of making Saltillo sarapes. Until July.

Across the hall is another blockbuster, this one in the photograph. The title says Everything: Saving an American Treasure: An Unparalleled Collection of Anthropological Photographs. In progress.


The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

4455 E. Camp Lowell

Local artists Teresa Estrella and Rudy Flores make Tucsonans look small. Literally. In their Army Man Project Vol. 2, the pair used 3D printing to create tiny figurines that resemble their real-life models. These 3.25 inch creatures are army green, the same color as the miniature army soldiers my older brother used to play with. Enter and see the portraits of 187 of your fellow Tucsonians. Or arrange to get a small statue of yourself.

Until June 5. theminitimemachine.org

Arizona History Museum

949 E. 2nd St.

Migrants continue to die horrific deaths in the Sonoran Desert. Many bodies are never identified and some are never found. Los Desconocidos (The Strangers): The Migrant Project aims to remember these deaths. At the museum, the wall is filled with quilts hand-sewn by project volunteers and embroidered with the names of the missing and illustrating their stories. A quilt honors all migrants known to have died in 2019-2020 in the Tucson area. Their names line the frame; inside is an image of a family looking out at the dangerous mountains and desert before them.

Until February 28, 2023. Arizonahistoricalsocity.org

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