Sodbuster sculpture leaving soon

The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s lobby showpiece for the past 15 months will soon be moving on.

The Museum brought the fiberglass sculpture, “Sodbuster, San Isidro,” by the late Luis Jiménez, to Las Cruces in May 2018 on loan from its owner, Russell Tether of Dallas. Its last day in the lobby of the Farm & Ranch Museum’s Bruce King Building is Aug. 18.

The 22-feet-long sculpture is a bearded farmer, muscles flexing as he walks behind two oxen pulling a plow. It’s a powerful, colorful representation of the determination of farming. Jiménez created the piece in 1982 as part of the Art in Public Places program and its original location was in Fargo, N.D.

“Luis Jiménez’s monumental sculpture ‘Sodbuster, San Isidro’ has served as a centerpiece for the Farm & Ranch Museum as visitors enter our main lobby,” said Museum Director Mark Santiago. “The sculpture is very unique and in many ways evokes the different cultural streams that flowed together to produce the vibrant agricultural traditions here in New Mexico.”

Jiménez, who died in 2006 at his studio in Hondo, was born in El Paso in 1940. He is best known for his large-scale, brightly colored sculptures steeped in the Mexican-American culture of New Mexico and Texas. Jiménez used fiberglass and spray paint in much of his work. Jiménez’s works were considered controversial by the art world yet respected in Hispanic communities for his ability to poignantly represent a different perspective and narrative of the history and culture of Mexico and the Southwest.

The sculpture’s next move will be to the El Paso Museum of Art where it will be presented in the Isha Rogers Sculpture Gallery at the museum, among the opening of EPMA’s most comprehensive project to date – Refresh – on September 27.

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