(drum and wind instrument music) – Our mission statement is to
visualize history through art and what’s important
to realize here, and I think sometimes
people skip over this, but history and art,
you can’t separate them. They are intertwined. How do you understand history if you didn’t
understand the art, and how do you
understand the art, if you didn’t
understand the history. (instrumental music) I’m Rhonda Smith
and I’m the director of the Tucson Desert Art Museum. We’re on the northeast
side of Tucson. We have about 20,000
square feet here. We have a large exhibition space for our permanent collection, which highlights a
premier collection of Native American textiles,
we have basketry, pottery, we have a lot of
contemporary art as well as art from the old masters
and plain air gurus of the American west. (riveting music) Another contemporary artist
that we have a work from is a massive painting
entitled “Rock of Ages”. It took 10 people to get it
into the main textile room. And they struggled. It was incredibly heavy
and is a wonderful work and Arturo recommends that
you sit exactly 22 feet away from that painting
to feel like you’re in the Grand Canyon. So we hope that you
come in and see it. (riveting music) – I really like when
I go into museum to feel like I’m
discovering something, or I’m finding a hidden treasure and I feel that when I came
to this museum specifically, having grown up on the
east side, so close to it, it was really impressive seeing
all these Navajo textiles, really charming exhibits,
right in my own backyard. (instrumental music) This one is something that I’ve been thinking about
for a few years. Now it’s a desert Hollywood. And for this exhibit
we’re focusing on different landscapes,
southwestern landscapes, and how they’ve really
starred as stars in Hollywood films throughout
the last 75-80 years. (instrumental music) – [Rhonda] This is the
first place that we invite our guests to go in and
discover the world of Native American textiles. One of the precepts here
is that Spider Woman, who is the deity that the
Navajo weavers believe taught them how to weave, says you know what? The world is imperfect, and neither should we
weave a perfect textile. So when we observe these
great works of art, we look for a disharmony
in the textile. Some people would
call it a mistake, but I think that it’s important
to call it a disharmony, because we’re not trying to
say that it wasn’t intentional. It was very intentionally
put there by the weaver to suggest that they were
not perfect in some manner. We depend on the cooperative
efforts with other museums and historical societies
and this exhibition for example of
Vaquero an Charro, it would not have been
possible without the great assistance from the
Arizona Historical Society. What this exhibition talks about is a very important
period of history, where the early horsemen
came and they developed certain techniques
that, low and behold, they’re even used today
with our western riders and our western horses and
it even had great influence on our english riders and so, it’s a wonderful
exhibition for both horsemen and history lovers. (upbeat Mexican music) – These photographs
are of Mexican cowboy cultures or
southern California. I became close with two
cowboys and foremen at a ranch. One’s from Guanajuato and
the other’s from Michoacan and they took me around. (laughs) I showed up at the ranch,
vegetarian and afraid of horses and with my friends,
I changed all of that and they taught me how to ride. I asked my friend “Well when
did you start liking a gringo?” And he said when he started
asking me about horses. (upbeat Mexican music) I know that I
learned from so much, and I hope that you can like
have the same kind of curiosity If this isn’t your culture,
maybe more intrigue or a sense of better
understanding. – Our founder is a gentleman
who started coming to Tucson over 50 years ago and his
name is James E Conley Jr. And one thing he
did was 35 years ago he started a magazine
called Tucson Lifestyle, and he started it actually
in the garage of his home. And today, that
magazine is still here and we provide the
local community with the very best, we
hope, of Tucson lifestyle. He has been collecting
art his entire life and he’s just, was just
fascinated by this region. – Never been in Tucson and
never been in the gallery, but I’m so glad I came. It’s a long way out of downtown,
but it’s just stupendous. I’ve just thoroughly
enjoyed myself. – [Woman] I remember
when we were there. – We’ve enjoyed it immensely. The Navajo weavings
are quite remarkable, and the understanding
a bit of the legend and the methodology behind it is a great appreciation
for that culture. It’s a fairly large presentation
and I wasn’t expecting that and the quality is
really delightful. (rhythmic music)