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Cara Despain: Specter Opening on June 22


Cara Despain: Specter
Contemporary Gallery, University Art Museum
June 22-September 16, 2023Opening: June 22, 2023, 5:30-7:30pm

The University Art Museum at NMSU is pleased to announce Specter, an immersive multimedia solo exhibition by artist Cara Despain. Through site-specific research-based processes, Despain explores nuclear weapons development — addressing the difficult history and legacy of territory expansion, industrialization and empire building in the United States. Using sculptural and video-based installations created with found objects and archival film from the 1940-60s, Despain questions our cultural memory and underscores the irreversible environmental consequences and hidden psychological and microscopic health effects left in the wake of weapons development and testing across the Southwest. Specter was initially shown at The Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, with support from the Warhol Foundation and curated by Leilani Lynch. 

This exhibition runs concurrently with shows at the Las Cruces Branigan Cultural Center and The El Paso Museum of Art, which also tackle the environmental, biological, mental and physical effects of nuclear development across the rural communities of the US. Programming for this exhibition will include panels, lectures, and film screenings that address artistic responses to the impacts of nuclear testing, nuclear accidents, and uranium mining on people and the environment in our region. 

Works created for Cara Despain: Specter were funded by The Ellies, Miami’s visual arts awards, presented by Oolite Arts.This exhibition and programming is also supported by The Southwest and Border Cultures Institute; The Mellon Foundation; The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation; NMSU College of Arts & Sciences; Friends of the University Art Museum; Mullennix Art Museum Fund; George and Lucy Gray Endowed Art Fund; and several private donors. 

More information is coming soon. 

Image credit: Cara Despain, Test of Faith, 2021, 3 channel digital video installation with 5.1 surround sound (3:39), (composite image of stills from video).

Cara Despain, untitled, Depression-era antique uranium glass, 2022