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Embedded in the desert landscape of far West Texas, El Paso is a borderland city that straddles the cultures of both the USA and Mexico not just on its superb dining scene. This dual culture location also has a huge influence on the local arts, which fuse influences from the respective traditions, and allow new talents to blossom. We explore 10 of the best contemporary art museums and private galleries in El Paso and its surrounding area.
In an airy exhibition space perfect for a large number of paintings and artworks, Hal Marcus Gallery hosts one of the preeminent exhibitions spots in El Paso. The gallery has a strong focus on local artistry and in addition to displaying a large, distinctively bright and hued collection of paintings by Hal Marcus himself, it also brings together some of the finest contemporary works produced by artists in the area. In the gallery, Botero-esque portraits by Mauricio Mora share the space with the sharp tones of Mark Paulda’s photographs, and with the surreal phantasmagoria of Evelyn Ainsa’s oils.
Hal Marcus Gallery, 1308 N Oregon St, El Paso, TX, USA, +1 915 533 9090
Founded by German-born artist Brigitte von Ahn, Encaustic is located in Northwest El Paso, just a couple of miles west of Franklin Mountain State Park. The gallery specializes in the encaustic technique, a painting method involving heated beeswax mixed with added colored pigments. Alongside the main collection, the gallery hosts a selection of sculptures and works by early El Paso artist Eugene Thurston. Other works include the colorful abstract creations of Ju-Yi Fu or the dreamlike landscapes of Lori Wertz.
7100 Westwind, Suite 120, El Paso, TX, USA, +1 915 833 0454
In 2011, artist Martha Arzabala founded Agave Rosa with the mission of providing a dedicated space for Hispanic artists to showcase their work in El Paso. And, in line with this initial goal, the gallery now displays works by both emerging and more established artists from the cities of El Paso, Las Cruces (NM) and Ciudad Juarez, on the other side of the national border. Visitors will find works spanning a wide range of different media, from ceramics to paintings, to sculpture, photography and jewelry. Among other works on display at Agave Rosa, the paintings of Hector Bernal offer an original perspective on the great European masterpieces from which they take inspiration.
Agave Rosa Gallery, 905 Noble St, El Paso, TX, USA, +1 915 533 8011
From shops to restaurants, the ‘pop-up’ concept is a wide-spreading trend that has so far left very few spheres untouched. The idea reached El Paso and its arts scene in the form Purple Pop-Up. Its actual form might be temporary, but the experience is bound to remain in El Paso’s cultural memory for a long time. The project was devised by photographer Peter Svarzbein, who, riding the wave of the hugely successful Chalk the Block events in 2013, aimed to establish a new urban spot to house rotating showcases of cutting-edge art in the El Paso and Juarez areas. Debuting in 2014 with three to four exhibitions per year, the gallery will show the works of over a dozen artists, including Svarzbein’s own El Paso Transnational Trolley Project, which involves a border-crossing trolley and thousands of tiny pictures of local residents on both sides of the frontier.