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Some of Albuquerque's mid-century modern architects and developers made space for modernist art installations in their projects. Most are now missing. Some works are expected to have survived, while others may only live on in a photograph or rendering.

If you have information about the whereabouts of these pieces, please contact us.


TITLE: Unknown

DATE: 1954

ARTIST: Bob Walters

Pictured in this Julius Shulman photograph of the Simms Building lobby, taken in 1955, the mobile's whereabouts are unknown.

Alvarado Hotel 39.jpg

PHOTO: Herb Goldman Archive

TITLE: Untitled

DATE: 1954

ARTIST: Herb Goldman

This steel plate and cast aluminum sculpture was placed on the wall in the lounge area of the demolished Alvarado Hotel. It was removed before the hotel was torn down.

Presumed Destroyed.

Whether as a result of the materials utilized or removal from their place of installation, some of Albuquerque's mid-century modernist public artworks have been destroyed.

Elephant wall 70.jpg

PHOTO: Herb Goldman Archive

TITLE: Albuquerque Zoo Elephant Wall Enclosure

DATE: 1961

ARTIST: Herb Goldman

Made of Gunite - Concrete, this sculptural relief wall was designed for the elephant enclosure at the Albuquerque Zoo. It is presumed to have been destroyed when the exhibit was demolished and rebuilt.  The work was inspired by East Indian rock-cut shrines; elephants are native to that area.

First National Bank Tower East Murals

DATE: 1962

ARTIST: Alice Garver

Dimensions: 8' x 12'

Albuquerque artist Alice Garver was commissioned to paint a series of 15 murals on curved panels outside the elevators in the First National Bank Tower (East). These murals were produced on Japanese rice paper and "Silk-span" and applied to the walls with wheat paste. The series depicted selective periods of New Mexican history, researched by noted Albuquerque historian and art collector Ward Alan Minge. His descriptions of the scenes appeared in bronze plaques fitted above the elevator door buttons on each floor (Albuquerque Journal, December 16, 1962). The first mural, known as "Early Indian," was located on the second floor of the 17-floor structure, while the 15th, depicting the atomic age was installed on the 16th floor. This was fitting, as working on that level when the building opened was architect Max Flatow, who had witnessed the first atomic blast at New Mexico's Trinity Site in 1945.

An additional mural featuring the Duke of Alburquerque (not pictured) was located in the Albuquerque City Club on the top floor. That club closed in 1965 and the space was converted to residential apartments.

Garver was assisted by artist Patricia Waterman Smith, who drew the animals depicted in the scenes, and Florence Miller Pierce aided in the installation.

Due to the fragile nature of the materials, the murals are presumed destroyed. There are no remnants on view in the building today.  These photos are exhibited with the permission of the Garver family. Only these photos are known to survive and do not depict all of the murals.


The destruction of these works has (sadly) been documented.

TITLE: Civic Plaza Fountain

DATE: 1974


Part of architectural firm Flatow, Moore, Bryan & Fairburn's design for Albuquerque's Civic Plaza, this community art/landscape installation was the Civic Plaza Fountain. Opened in late 1974, public officials relented and allowed the public to wade into its waters in June 1975. Project architect Max Flatow explained that it had been designed specifically for wading. Climbing atop the cascading concrete center was prohibited. While plans to demolish the popular fountain had been previously scrapped and repairs made, the fountain was ultimately demolished in 2017 to make way for an interactive water feature. This video belongs to the Audio Visual Collection at the Albuquerque Museum and is licensed for use.


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