Gene Kloss Christmas Eve, Taos Pueblo 

Gene Kloss, Christmas Eve, Taos Pueblo, 1936, aquatint and drypoint, 11 1/2 x 14 1/2 in. On long term loan to the New Mexico Museum of Art from the Fine Arts Program, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration (787.23G) Photo by Cameron Gay


Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

                    --William Blake


Get out your night goggles and your flashlights! The New Mexico Museum of Art is hosting two new exhibits Wait Until Dark and Shots in the Dark, as well as an interactive activity center Night Life Imagination Station from November 17, 2018 to April 21, 2019.

The music of the night has continued to inspire painters, photographers, poets, composers, and scientists. Look-Read- Listen-Learn. 


Let not the dark thee cumber.

What though the moon does slumber?

The stars of the night

Will lend thee their light,

 Like tapers clear without number.

--Robert Herrick



What do we call animals that are active at night?

Do all nighttime animals see equally well in the dark?

What are some scary stories that are told in the dark?

What is the difference between astronomy and astrology?

What is a star?

How does a star twinkle?

What is a constellation?

You will learn the answers to all of these questions and more while experiencing the fun of solving word searches, playing with puppets, acting, coloring, drawing, and writing. You will find information links about the wonders of the night sky in New Mexico provided by the International Dark Sky Association. Did you know that there are actual International Dark Sky Parks and an International Dark Sky Sanctuary?


Look at the stars! look, look

up at the skies!

O look at all the fire-folk

sitting in the air.

---Gerard Manley Hopkins

You can examine beautiful and mysterious images of such iconic nocturnal animals as owls, bats, moths. You can even see the infamous nocturnal plant Datura, which is a member of the deadly nightshade family and only blooms at night. Pay attention Agatha Christie fans, since this poisonous plant is also called the devil’s trumpet and locoweed.

Kate Krasin's Datura

Kate Krasin, Datura, 1990, silkscreen, 17 7/16 x 12 5/8 in. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. Gift of Kate Krasin, the artist, 2012 (2012.31.95) Photo by Blair Clark © Estate of Kate Krasin

Night is the time for dreams and nightmares. Night is the time for joyous gatherings and also the time for lonely vigils. The artists of the night in these exhibits shadow and highlight all these experiences. Creatures like werewolves and vampires emerge at night. Ghosts and banshees haunt at night. These themes have inspired artists of words, music, and pictures for countless years. Just read  Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; listen to Beethoven’s The Moonlight Sonata; look at Ansel Adams’ Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.


The moon was but a chin of gold

A night or two ago.

Emily Dickinson



The moon dwindled and thinned to the fringe

of a fingernail…

Gerard Manly Hopkins

Here are hints for what to look for in these exhibits. Which images mirror your experiences with the night, the moon, the stars, nightmares?

  • Identify the monstrous creature in Fritz Scholder's Martyr in Santa Fe
  • Relate to the eerie darkness of Richard Sullivan's Merry-Go-Round
  • Differentiate between the light and the dark in Gene Kloss' Christmas Eve, Taos Pueblo.
  • Study the nocturnal beings of Bobbe Besold's Bats and Brad Wilson's Western Screech Owl and Long Eared Owl
  • Puzzle over the dreams or nightmares of Tom Chambers' Afternoon with Octavio/Una Tarde con Octavio

Come to the Museum to absorb and reflect.



Somewhere on the other side of this wide night

and the distance between us,

I am thinking of you.

The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

Carol Ann Duffy


-Sharon McCawley, 

Docent for the New Mexico Museum of Art