Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00am to 6:00pm · 7 Caliente Road, Suite A-1 · Santa Fe, NM 87508 · (505) 428-0024

Jack McCarthy presents “The Third Rail: Religious Controversy in Museums”

"Our Lady" -- Alma Lopez

Join us on Thursday, March 1 at 6 om for the next talk in our ongoing series, Art in the 21st Century.  The talk is free but reservations are required.  To reserve your seat, please call the gallery at (505) 428-0024.

On February 25, 2001, the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, held a reception and opening for its new exhibit, “Cyber Arte: Tradition Meets Technology.”  The exhibit was a collaborative effort of four Hispanic women contemporary artists using modern technologies to express traditional themes.  The opening was well attended and deemed a success by the local community.  And . . . it went downhill from there!

Jack McCarthy will present an in-depth account of a museum and a controversial piece of art.  Deemed an inappropriate depiction of a religious icon, both local and national groups assailed the museum exhibit as blasphemous and demanded the removal of a specific work of art, a public apology, resignations of both the director of the Museum of New Mexico (MNM) and the director of The Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA), the return of all religious artifacts to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and return all monies gained from this exhibit to the community.  The controversy continued for nine months when the exhibit was taken down voluntarily four months ahead of schedule.


Jack McCarthy is an artist/historian and resides in Eldorado. During the “Our Lady” controversy at the International Museum of Folk Art, he was Chief of Security for the Museum of New Mexico and was responsible for the security and safety of the art, the museum, staff and visitors.  He was integrally involved in the events that made up the “Our Lady” controversy in 2001. As a historian, he has studied and met with other museums involved in religious controversies and is presently writing a book “The Third Rail: Religious Controversy in Museums”.

Posted in Gallery Blog, Salon Schedule on February 21, 2012