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 Joseph (Joe) M. Sanchez  (1948 - )

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Lived/Active: Arizona/New Mexico/Colorado / Canada      Known for: abstract Indian theme painting, curator, educator

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Ad Code: 4
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is an autobiography written 2011 by Joseph M. Sanchez, Santa Fe, New Mexico and sent to M.D. Silverbrooke for submission to
Since 1970 I have had the opportunity to work with many artists and art professionals around the world, develop artist organizations, curate exhibitions, direct museums, and share my experiences with school children. These experiences are informed by a cultural and ceremonial life with the guidance and wisdom of many elders.  I was born just before the full moon on February 24, 1948 to mixed blood parents of Spanish, German and Pueblo descent in Trinidad, Colorado. The first paintings occurred in 1956, followed by nudes confiscated by my teachers in the 6th grade to the high school surrealist work and large pencil portraits of friends and family.

My personal “surrealist” style began in 1968 with a painting titled Unconsummated Rape of Mongo, a first look into my psyche created during my years as a United States Marine and updated in 1970 prior to meeting Daphne Odjig in Winnipeg during the fall of 1971.  Meeting Daphne Odjig in 1971 is the reason I am an artist today; as a mentor and peer she encouraged my talent and coached my ability as an artist and art professional, resulting in the amazing career I have as an artist, activist and art professional. Though mainly self taught, the opportunity to work with many artists and art professionals as a collaborator, assistant, exhibition designer, curator, and museum director provided many experiences, skills and valuable critique.  I especially acknowledge my two mentors, Daphne Odjig (National Treasure of Canada) and Philip C. Curtis, (founder of the Phoenix Art Museum) who have been essential to my success as an artist.

In 1972 the gatherings at Odjig Indian prints at 331 Donald Street were the seed that resulted in Professional Native Artist, Inc. aka The Native Group of Seven, officially incorporated in February of 1974.  Although more than 50 artists were invited only seven attended the meetings in Winnipeg that created the group; they were Daphne Odjig, Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Beardy, Carl Ray, Eddy Cobiness and expatriate Marine, American Joseph M. Sanchez. This lead to exhibitions with the group in Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg and London, England as well as smaller exhibitions in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Brantford, Ontario. 

In 1974 I was selected to create a painting to be given as the award for Multiculturalism in Music, first presentation at the 1974 Juno Awards. 1974 also saw me measured and my painting copied for the Toronto Wax Museum.  A commission honoring the 1974 Winnipeg Centennial, Fertility Totem resulted in a nine foot sculpture of Manitoba cedar installed in Franco-Manitoban Center in St. Boniface, Manitoba. 

I lived with my wife Ann in Richer, Manitoba and together purchased a forty acre farm in Giroux, Manitoba.  I returned to the United States under President Gerald Ford’s amnesty program in November of 1975. I continued to travel to my farm in Giroux, Manitoba until I sold the property in the late 70’s.

A career in the museum world began in Scottsdale, Arizona as a security guard in 1977 and developed into curatorial and design work for hundreds of exhibitions. My studio on Cattletrack Road in Scottsdale lasted 22 years and saw the creation of many different series and the beginning of large scale work..   I met Margaret Burke in 1991 and celebrated the birth of our son Xoco in 1996.  We  married in Santa Fe in 2006.  In 2002, I volunteered to design and install the exhibition, Who Stole the TeePee at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum and joined the team as exhibition coordinator and went on to become Interim Director and Chief Curator for what is now called the Museum of Contemporary Native Art. 

Receiving  the Allan Houser Memorial Award in 2006 for artistic excellence and community involvement is the highlight of a long career of artist groups and community activity.  I retired from the Museum in February of 2010, returning to the studio to work on new paintings and performance with an emphasis on collaboration with other indigenous artists.

A Partial list of Artist Affliliations, Collaborations and Installations
Daphne Odjig, Eddy Cobiness, Norval Morrisseau, Alex Janvier, Guenther Uecker, Rotraut, George Segal, Arman, Norman Bluhm, Manuel Neri, Jesus Bautista Morales, Luis Jimenez, Philip C. Curtis, Jean Paul Ledeur, Yves Klein Archives, William Wiley, Fletcher Benton, Roberto Matta Echaurren, Luis Jimenez, and Jean Tinguely.

Selected List of Organizations and Institutions
Founder/Board Member
Professional Native Artist, Inc. (Native Group of Seven), 1974;  Ariztlan, 1978, Moviemento Artistico del Rio Salado (MARS), 1978;  National Association of Artist Organizations (NAAO) 1982-84. Curator, Performance Rodeo, Diversity/Unity  Conference in Houston, TX 1984

Scottsdale Center for the Arts, gallery assistant, 1978-82; Phoenix Art Museum, preparator-1982-84;  2nd Southwest Chicano Art Invitational, coordinator, 1978;  World Assembly of First Nations, staff member, 1982;  ARTS, (accumulated resources and technology services), owner, 1983-88; Man’s Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence, curator, 1984;  Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, exhibition designer and curator, 1983-88; Riva Yares Gallery, Scottsdale and Santa Fe, registrar and designer, 1989-93; Artist in Residence, Whitemoutain Apache Tribe, 1994-98; Whiteriver Elementary School, 1994;  Tavan Elementary School, 1990-95;  Santa Clara Pueblo, 2001;  Director, Laynor Foundation Museum,, 1996-99; Artist assistant for Philip C. Curtis, 1979-99; Chief Curator and Interim Director, Museum of Contemporary Native Art, , 2002-2010; Contemporary Curator, Native Art from the Collection of the Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, opening October, 2011.

Indio Dali in the Peg, Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2011
Frontrunners, Urban Shaman, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2011
Native Group of Seven, Blue Quill College, Alberta, 2010
Governor’s Awards for the Arts, Governor’s Gallery, Governors Office, Santa Fe, NM,     2006
Spirits of the Earth, West Valley Art Museum, Sun City, AZ. 2004
Emergency Artist Medical Fund Exhibition, Ventana Gallery. 1999; Riva Yares Gallery. 2008
Art is Happening for Children, Earth Spirits, Santa Fe, New Mexico. 2000
International Chicana-Chicano Art Exhibition, Port of San Diego, San Diego, CA. 1999
Angels of Light|Angels of Desire, MCM Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ. 1999
Angels of Light|Angels of Desire, Cattletrack Studios, Scottsdale, AZ. 1998
IKCE WICASTA, Arizona State University-ASU West, Exhibition with White Mountain Apache children and Jerome Clark. 1997
Afrombras de Domingo de Ramos, flower murals for Easter Sunday at Franciscan Retreat Center, destroyed by procession. 1997
Ariztlan, Mesa Southwest Museum, Mesa, AZ. 1994
Angels of Desire, Glendale Community College, Glendale, AZ. 1994
Ongoing Exhibitions at Arizlan Studios, Phoenix, AZ, 1990-94
Joseph M. Sanchez Arts, Scottsdale, AZ. 1983-88
La Familia Sanchez, MARS Gallery, Phoenix, AZ. 1985
Ghost Dance, Durfee Gallery, Scottsdale, Az. 1985
Ghost Dance, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. 1984
MARS Artists, Fagen-Peterson Gallery, Scottsdale. AZ, 1984
Ariztlan, University of Arizona, Tucson. AZ, 1984
Contemporary Chicano Images, Coconino Center for the Arts. Flagstaff, AZ, 1983
Quatro Pueblos, MARS Gallery, Phoenix, AZ. 1983
La Phoeniquera, MARS Gallery, Phoenix, AZ. 1983
Artistas de Ariztlan, University of Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. 1983 (curator)
World Assembly of First Nations Exhibition, Assiniboine Gallery, Regina, Sask.,Canada. 1982
Ghost Dance, Scottsdale Community College, Scottsdale. AZ, 1982
Ghost Dance, Austin Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ. 1982
Ghost Dance, West Coast Gallery, Newport Beach, CA. 1981
Ariztlan, University of Hermosillo, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. 1981
Realities, Untamed Fine Arts, Vancouver, BC, Canada. 1980-81
Two Realities with David Tooker, Scottsdale Community College, Scottsdale, AZ. 1981
MARS Exhibit, Arizona State Capitoll, Phoenix, AZ. 1980
Homage to Frida Kahlo, Galeria de la Raza, San Francisco, CA. 1978
First Arizona Chicano Art Exhibition, Encanto Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ. 1978
Desert Lunch and other Paintings, Scottsdale Public Library, Scottsdale, AZ. 1978
Professional Native Artists Inc., Wah Sa Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 1977
Professional Native Artists Inc., 1st National Bank, Minneapolis, Minnesota 1976
Professional Native Artists Inc., Woodland Indian Cultural Center, Brantford, ON, Canada 1976
Contemporary Native Art, Gallery 115, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canana 1976
Professional Native Artists Inc., Anthropos Gallery, London, England 1975
Professional Native Artists Inc., Art Emporium, Vancouver, B. C., Canada 1975
Professional Native Artists Inc., Dominion Galleries, Montreal, Quebec, Canada 1974
Indian Art ’74, , Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1974
Professional Native Artists Inc., Wallack Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1974
Drawings, Brackendale Art Gallery, Brackendale, B.C., Canada 1974
Professional Native Artists Inc., T. E. Eaton’s, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 1973
Professional Native Artists Inc., Daphne Odjig’s Warehouse Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba 1973
Two Artists, Joseph Sanchez & Tony Allison, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba 1973

Selected Collections
Andrew and Susan Weigel, Thessalon, Ontario, Canada
Louis Thomas, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
John Grimes and Natalie Nagy, Kelowna, British Colombia, Canada
Phillip Gevik, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Edward Morassut, London, Ontario, Canada
Daniel and Rotraut Moquay, Paradise Valley, AZ
Stephane Jansen, Carefree, AZ
Helme Prinzen, Paradise Valley, AZ
Mary Budzien, Scottsdale, AZ
Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Chelle Pattison, Phoenix, AZ
South Mountain Community College, Phoenix, AZ
Norman Bluhm, New York City, NY
John Paul Ledeur, Paris, France
CHIN Radio International, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Daphne Odjig, Penticton, B.C. Canada
Department of Indian Affairs, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Northern Supply Corporation, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
S. M. Kempner, San Franscico, California
Jerome Loucheim, Scottsdale, AZ
Stanley and Annie Kesselman, Scottsdale
Herbert Swartz, Bragg Creek, Alberta
David Stattin, Edmonton, Alberta

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
In the 1970's native artist, Joe Sanchez, was an American draft dodger trying to make a living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  It was about the time that Daphne Odjig and her husband Chester Beavon had opened up Odjig Prints and Gifts in downtown Winnipeg and at the same time they were busy organizing local and regional artists to form the organization called Professional Indian Native Artist's Inc. They more or less took Joe under their wing so he became a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven by default.

Joe Sanchez was born in Trinidad, Colorado, and raised on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.  He says that he decided in the fourth grade that he would be an artist and a few years later imagined himself as a young Jack Kerouac hobnobbing with artists in Paris.

But it wasn't until he met Daphne Odjig and other Canadian First Nations artists that he focused on art as a career. He says that Daphne was his biggest mentor and encouraged him to paint, draw and sculpt.

His connection to Odjig and his membership in the Indian Group of Seven led to his participation in group exhibits in Canada, Europe and the United States with the other artists of note - Odjig, Norval Morrisseau, Alex Janvier, Jackson Beardy, Eddie Cobiness and Carl Ray.

Sanchez left Canada during the US bicentennial and helped form two Indian artist collectives in the Phoenix area. He was one of the first staff members of the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and later worked at the Phoenix Museum.

Joseph Sanchez has been a curator in Santa Fe at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum for the past eight years.


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