PHOTO: Jessica Roybal
MISSION & HISTORY.
Modern Albuquerque's mission is to document, promote, preserve and educate the public about the presence of modernist architecture and public art in the city of Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico.
Founded in 2018 by Thea Haver and Ethan Aronson, Modern Albuquerque LLC set out to be the first business to focus on the city's mid-century modern architecture year-round through tours, events, and media. Working as equal parts research organization and tour and event providers, the team located 56 more buildings to add to the city's mid-century modern building inventory, shared over 140 photographs, and hosted four events centered on architecture, design, and the recent past.
In the fall of 2019, the co-founders held a mini-symposium, inviting colleagues, partners, and fellow architecture, design, and history enthusiasts to envision Modern Albuquerque's transformation into an educational non-profit. Modern Albuquerque reorganized as a New Mexico non-profit organization in January 2020, welcoming eight members to its initial Board of Directors including its co-founders. As a new non-profit, the organization expanded its mission to encompass modernist architecture before and beyond the mid-century period, art installations, and landscape design.
As a New Mexico non-profit, the organization hosted two virtual tours (available on our YouTube channel), coordinated the donation of 205 historic photos to the museum's Photo Archive, prepared and shared research materials with the CABQ Historic Preservation Office and Main Library, and worked with DOCOMOMO US to spotlight modern architecture in Albuquerque.
Members of Modern ABQ were awarded a state-level Heritage Preservation Award in 2022 for their role in researching the Albuquerque Main Library.
However, in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and changing leadership, Modern Albuquerque's Board of Directors voted to cease independent operations. Unable to reorganize as a project under an existing 501c3 non-profit, the organization fully closed in early 2023, with some members regrouping to reboot the ABQ Mid Mod Home Tour, created by Ted Janka of 2 Bears Collective, anticipated for fall 2023.
Modern Albuquerque's logo is inspired by an illuminated yucca that once adorned the former Kistler-Collister department store during the holiday season. You can see it in a postcard from the Nancy Tucker Postcard Collection.
According to Doug Collister, who commissioned the building, the yucca holiday decoration was fashioned from electrical conduit and chicken wire and reused each season. It is presumed destroyed.
Modern Albuquerque received generous financial support from the following businesses.