Collectors Collect New Mexico

Featured speakers are from Albuquerque and Southern NM: RJ Bailie, Contemporary Art Society of New Mexico (CAS); Diana Gaston, Director of Tamarind Institute; Marisa Sage, Director/Curator at the University Art Museum, NMSU; and artists Nicola López and Emmi Whitehorse.


RJ Bailie has been on the board of the Contemporary Art Society of New Mexico (CAS) since 1994, serving as Board President from 2009 to 2018. CAS is dedicated to supporting New Mexico’s contemporary visual arts community, whose goals are to increase interest, understanding and involvement in contemporary art by encouraging collecting, sponsoring educational activities, and supporting New Mexico’s artists and art institutions. He was president of UNTITLED Fine Arts Services and retired in 2015. UNTITLED provided packing, crating, shipping, installation and storage of art for artists, galleries, collectors and museums. In 1995, he received the Edgar L. Hewett Award for Excellence from the New Mexico Association of Museums.

Diana Gaston is the director of Tamarind Institute. Previously, she was lead curator for the Fidelity Investments Corporate Art Collection in Boston. From 1989 - 1993, Gaston curated prints and photographs at the University of New Mexico Art Museum. Subsequently, she held positions as curator at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, and associate director of San Francisco Camerawork. Her early training included the museum studies program at the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. and a National Endowment for the Arts curatorial internship at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She received both her BA (1985) and MA (1988) degrees in Art History from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where she focused on postwar American photography and contemporary works on paper.

Nicola López, an artist born in Santa Fe, lives and works in Brooklyn and teaches at Columbia University in New York City. Through her work, López describes and reconfigures our contemporary landscape. Her focus on describing ‘place’ stems from an interest in urban planning, architecture and anthropology, and has been fueled by time spent working and traveling in different landscapes. López has exhibited her work throughout the United States and internationally at museums including MoMA NY, the Lost Angeles County Museum of Art, Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City, the Denver Art Museum, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Marisa Sage is the Director and Head Curator of the new University Art Museum at New Mexico State Univeristy (NMSU). Her curatorial experiences have brought regional, national, and internationally recognized artists to New Mexico. She has curated over 150 exhibitions, includin the NEA-supported GEOMAGIC: Art, Science and the Zuhl Collection and Off the Wall, a two-part exhibition tracing the history of Sol LeWitt’s relationship with NMSU. She received her BFA degree in photographiy from Syracuse University and Masters of Digital Arts at MICA. In 2006, Sage established Like the Spice Gallery, a contemporary gallery in Williamsburg, New York, which held over 65 exhibitions between 2006 and 2012. From 2008 to 2012, she served as president of the Williamsburg Gallery Association.

Emmi Whitehorse (Diné) is an abstract painter depicting layers of markings, lines and shapes interwoven in fields of blended color. Although deliberately apolitical, her paintings offer a metaphysical view of our connection to the land from the Navajo perspective. Her work is in public collections throughout North America, Europe, Japan, Usbekistan, and Morocco. Lucy Lippard wrote, “Her work evokes the long vistas of the Navajo cultural and geographic journey across the unique landscape of the Dinétah, the homeland.” (essay for Whitehorse exhibition, All the Way Home, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 2006).