Suzi Davidoff, Simplified World/Aplomada Falcon and Grasses, 2017, charcoal, gesso, map, 50 x 68 x 3 inches

Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande

September 28 - December 28, 2019


September – December 2019
at multiple venues in Albuquerque and partner venues in the Rio Grande watershed spanning CO, NM, TX and Mexico • Full map/calendar available from 516 ARTS in August 2019

516 ARTS and partners present Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande, an exhibition and series of regional public programs responding to the global biological crisis described in the new UN Report that officially state that nature’s dangerous decline is “unprecedented,” and species extinction rates are accelerating at an alarming pace. According to a recent New York Times editorial, the report says, “‘Biodiversity’ — a word encompassing all living flora and fauna — ‘is declining faster than at any time in human history,’ estimating that ‘around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades,’ unless the world takes transformative action to save natural systems.”

Developed in partnership with the Art & Ecology Program at the University of New Mexico (UNM), Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande explores how the river connects us across borders and disciplines, and is designed to provide education and spur dialogue around pressing ecological issues of our time. The exhibition – subtitled Contemporary Artists Respond – features commissioned and existing artworks highlighting diverse perspectives on varieties of plants and animals, including flowers, trees, fish, birds, and bees—iconic and overlooked—undergoing mass-die off’s and population declines within the Rio Grande watershed. Through the eyes of contemporary artists, the exhibition examines regional flora and fauna and raises ethical and cultural questions about human impact on the natural world. The exhibition takes place at 516 ARTS in Albuquerque and is co-curated by Josie Lopez, PhD, Curator of Art, Albuquerque Museum, and Subhankar Banerjee, Lannan Chair and Professor of Art &Ecology, UNM.

Centering around the main exhibition at 516 ARTS, the regional collaboration features public programs including educational talks, forums, workshops, performances and outdoor activities presented by partner venues across state borders and the US/Mexico border as well as across disciplines spanning the arts, science, technology, and environmental activism. These programs take place in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Northern Mexico, where partners have been invited to develop their own programming that brings together art and environment to raise awareness and generate activism around species in peril in our region. 516 ARTS is publishing and distributing a map/calendar to all of these activities, which will be available in this August, and is coordinating an awareness campaign to showcase this project as a model for regional collaboration around environmental issues.

Banerjee says, “With arts and stories, informed by science and Indigenous ecological knowledge, Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande offers a regional model of building bridges (not walls) across nations, peoples, disciplines and creative practices, to address a global crisis—the crisis of biological annihilation, which includes human-caused extinctions, die-offs and massacres of nonhuman kin with whom we share this Earth. It is arguably the most expansive (if you count casualties) and the most challenging (if you consider mitigation) crisis of our time. This region-wide initiative is situated in the fabled Rio Grande basin and the associated U.S.-Mexico borderland, which is one of the most biologically and culturally vibrant places in North America, and at the same time, one of the most endangered facing numerous threats, including climate breakdown, ongoing fossil fuels capitalism and nuclear colonialism, and the proposed expansion of the border wall. Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande aims to raise public awareness, acknowledge past and present injustices, and inspire collective actions for multi-species justice.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog with essays by Co-Curators Subhankar Banerjee and Josie Lopez, journalist Laura Paskus and others.


Exhibition artists include: Michael Berman; Kaitlin Bryson & Hollis Moore; laura c carlson; Agnes Chavez; Suzi Davidoff; Catalina Delgado Trunk; Marissa Demarco, Dylan McLaughlin & Jessica Zeglin; Jessica Gross; Cannupa Hanska Luger; c marquez; Ruben Olguin; Zeke Peña; Daisy Quezada; Nicasio Romero; and Mary Tsiongas & Jennifer Owen-White. Additional speakers include: Michael Berman, exhibiting artist; León De la Rosa, PhD and Ma. Eugenia Hernández, PhD, professors in the Visual Arts Program at Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad-Juárez; and Sam Truett, PhD, borderlands historian at UNM, among others. Partners in New Mexico include: the Art & Ecology Program at UNM; Bernalillo County Public Art Program, Flower Hill Institute, Roswell Museum, STEMarts Lab & BIO STEAM Lab (Taos), The Taos Land Trust, University Art Museum at NMSU (Las Cruces) and Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge (Albuquerque). Partners in Mexico include: Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad-Juárez and El Museo Contemporáneo de Ciudad- Juárez. Partners in Texas include: Ballroom Marfa, El Paso Museum of Art and The Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at UTEP. Our partner in Colorado is RedLine Contemporary Art Center (Denver). And our lead national environmental partner is the Center for Biological Diversity.



This project is made possible in part by The National Endowment for the Arts, Lannan Foundation, McCune Charitable Foundation, The FUNd at Albuquerque Community Foundation, The City of Albuquerque, The University of New Mexico (Art & Ecology Program & Office of the Provost), New Mexico Arts, a division of the Office of Cultural Affairs, and National Performance Network. Special thanks to Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and Heritage Hotels & Resorts.