Museum Exhibits

Changing Pass: People, Land & Memory

December 1, 2022 - December 31, 2024

1st Floor, Permanent Exhibition Gallery

The museum’s permanent exhibition, “Changing Pass: People, Land & Memory” immediately greets visitors who walk through the door, inviting them to explore and reconsider what the borderlands are all about. Now covering more than 1,000 years of El Paso del Norte region history, Changing Pass begins with early Indigenous settlers and concludes with World War II and the Bracero Program in the 20th century.

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Hank Willis Thomas: Art Bridges loan

January 12, 2023 - May 31, 2024

In his wide-ranging conceptual practice, Hank Willis Thomas explores how American society commodifies Black male identity. His works—which span photography, sculpture, textile, installation, and more—often reflect on media representations and social justice Thomas studied at New York University before pursuing a dual MA and MFA in visual criticism and photography at California College of the Arts. He has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, London, Milan, Brussels, São Paulo, Berlin, and Paris, among other cities. His work belongs in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Hong Kong Arts Centre, the Museum of Modern Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Thomas is also a co-founder of For Freedoms, an organization that promotes civic engagement via large-scale public projects.

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vanessa german: Art Bridges loan

January 12, 2023 - December 31, 2024

Black Girl on Skateboard… provides a meditation on the color yellow through physical objects and the written word. vanessa german, a self-taught ‘citizen’ artist, often crafts these, which she refers to as power figures, out of discarded materials from her local community. german’s power figures serve as protectors for Black people against violence. Drawing from Congolese Nkisi sculptures and elements of folk art, the works defy figurative expectations and emphasize their vibrancy through emotion and energy.

The 2022 iterations of german’s power figures include poetry written by the artist as the object’s materials list. In this decision to disrupt typical object information, german’s Black Girl on Skateboard… bridges materiality and abstraction. The artist describes the resonance of her power figures as, “active technologies of the soul that touch the vast history that exists in the spiral of our DNA.”

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Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology

July 28, 2023 - November 12, 2023

Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology documents international Indigenous artists’ responses to the impacts of nuclear testing, nuclear accidents, and uranium mining on Native peoples and the environment. The traveling exhibition and catalog give artists a voice to address the long-term effects of these man-made disasters on Indigenous communities in the United States and around the world. Indigenous artists from Australia, Canada, Greenland, Japan, Pacific Islands, and the United States utilize tribal knowledge, as well as Indigenous and contemporary art forms as visual strategies for their thought-provoking artworks.

Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology is co-curated by iBiennale Director Dr. Kóan Jeff Baysa (Ibanag); Nuuk Art Museum Director Nivi Christensen (Inuit); Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art Chief Curator Satomi Igarashi; Art Gallery of New South Wales Assistant Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Erin Vink (Ngiyampaa), Independent Curator Tania Willard (Secwepemc Nation), and MoCNA Chief Curator Manuela Well-Off-Man.

Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology is organized by IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM.

Support for this exhibition is provided by Ford Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and by Air Tahiti Nui.

Additional support is provided by the Mellon Foundation, the Texas Commission on the Arts, El Paso Museum of Art Foundation, and the El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department.

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Still We Rise: El Paso's Black Experience

February 25, 2023 - January 13, 2024

“Still We Rise: El Paso’s Black Experience” highlights the vibrant history of El Paso’s Black community in the decades leading up to and following desegregation. Tracing back to the first documented African American individuals in El Paso, this exhibition highlights generations of Afro descendants’ contributions to the region as they built businesses, homes, and neighborhoods during slavery, Jim Crow era, and beyond. Based in the testimonies and oral histories of community, “Still We Rise” aims to showcase the joy and accomplishments of those who call El Paso home.

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Bhutan: Modern and Traditional Intertwined

April 17, 2023 - December 9, 2023

Popular perceptions of Bhutan as a remote, “happiest place on earth,” are more complex than one might think. Contemporary Bhutanese people attempt to strike a balance between tradition and modernity through an interconnected effort guided by Gross National Happiness (GNH). Using artifacts and images, this exhibit explains how Bhutan utilizes GNH by weaving cultural, spiritual, national, and local traditions with modernization.

As part of UTEP’s Bhutan Days, the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens is proud to present Bhutan: Modern and Traditional Intertwined. This exhibition will be on display from April 17 to Decmeber 9, 2023.

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