Get Out of Glendale: Phoenix Art Museum

By Lauren Herber, Staff Writer

The Phoenix Art Museum offers a variety of exhibitions and collections. The permanent collections are very diverse, with art ranging from American to Asian to Latin American regions. Currently, the museum is hosting exhibitions that feature Japanese ceramics, creative photography, American and European art from the 1920s and 30s, and the Masterworks of Spanish Colonial Art.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Herber
“El Juicio Final” by unknown artist. Photo courtesy of Lauren Herber

During my excursion to the museum this weekend, I chose to spend the majority of my time exploring the Masterworks of Spanish Colonial Art exhibit and the contemporary art collection. The Spanish Colonial art exhibit features pieces created by indigenous and mestizo painters from Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador during the 18th century. While the pieces are strikingly beautiful, they are a painful reminder of the way that religion was used as a vehicle for oppression during the height of imperialism. My favorite work was a piece called “El Juicio Final [The Last Judgment]” (artist unknown). The painting, which is a recreation of the 1606 engraving of the Last Judgment by Philipe Tomassin, features elements of classic Renaissance art. The piece is highly geometric and uses light and shadow to convey the artist’s meaning and emphasis (for example, the main source of light in the painting focuses on Jesus, while the images of the demons are cast in shadow). What makes this piece particularly powerful and unique, however, is the artist’s inclusion of Spanish phrases throughout the photo. By adding words in his own language to the piece, the artist made the work his own, instead of simply creating a copy.

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“Pink Abstraction” by Georgia O’Keeffe. Photo courtesy of

My favorite piece from the modern art collection was a work called “Pink Abstraction” by Georgia O’Keeffe. To me, the sharp lines combined with the smooth blending of soft colors signified that power that lies in femininity. It’s a common misconception that in order for women to be powerful they have to be masculine, and I love art that demonstrates the ability of women to be both powerful and feminine.

One upcoming exhibit that the Phoenix Art Museum is featuring that I am looking forward to is an Asian art exhibit called “Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads: Gold” coming in October. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the many collections and exhibits the Phoenix Art Museum has to offer in the upcoming months.

The Phoenix Art Museum is located in downtown Phoenix at 1625 North Central Avenue. It is open on Wednesdays from 10 AM-9 PM; Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 p .m.; and Sundays from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The price is $15 dollars for adults and $10 for students with a valid ID. However, admission is free every Wednesday from 3:00 – 9:00 p.m.

If you cannot make it on a Wednesday, culture passes are available to Thunderbird students at the Arizona State University (ASU) libraries at the Tempe, Downtown, and Glendale locations. Make sure to call ahead and check availability; when I attempted to pick up a Phoenix Art Museum culture pass from the downtown campus library, I was informed that all the passes were currently checked out. Otherwise, the culture passes are a great resource. ASU offers culture passes for a variety of museums and events, and each pass includes admission for two people, allowing you to bring a friend or family member along for the ride.

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