Ray Hernández-Durán

Professor, Ibero-American Colonial Art and Architecture, Arts of Nineteenth-Century Mexico, and Museum Studies

Ray Hernández-Durán, originally from San Antonio, Texas, completed his B.A. in Psychology/Pre-Med (1988) and B.F.A. in Studio Art and Art History (1990) at the University of Texas at Austin, his M.A. in the Arts of Africa and the African Diaspora (1994) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his Ph.D. in Pre-Hispanic and Colonial Latin American Art History (2005) at The University of Chicago. He is currently Professor of Art History in the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico, specializing in the history of Spanish Colonial Art and Architecture. His primary courses focus on the visual and material cultures of the Spanish American territories from 1496 through 1898, with research concentrations, geographically, in New Spain/Mexico/U.S. Southwest, and historically, in the 18th- and 19th centuries, including new work on U.S. Latinx art. Among the various courses he offers outside of the colonial area are included, Arts of Nineteenth-Century Mexico, Baroque Art and Architecture, Arts of Spain, Chicano and Latinx art, Arts of Sub-Saharan Africa and the African Diaspora, LGBTQ History and Visual Culture, and Museum Studies.



His work appears in such publications as, Cuban Studies, Revista de História da Arte e Arqueologia, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide: Visual Cultures of the Nineteenth Century, Nineteenth-Century Studies: The Interdisciplinary Journal of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, Hacia otra historia del arte en México: De la estructuración colonial a la exigencia nacional (1780–1860), Religion as Art, Woman and Art in Early Modern Latin America, Buen Gusto and Classicism in the Visual Cultures of Latin America (1780–1910), The Oxford Handbook of the Aztecs, The Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, and Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society, and Culture, among others. His book, The Academy of San Carlos and Mexican Art History: Politics, History, and Art in Nineteenth-Century Mexico (Routledge, 2017) will be followed by an edited volume, A Routledge Companion to U.S. Latinx Art, for which he will serve as co-editor with Carmen Ramos, Ph.D. (The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Ph.D. (Ford Foundation, NYC).


Museum Work:

Ray’s Museum experience began in 1989, as an undergraduate intern in the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photography at the Huntington Gallery of the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked with Jonathan Bober, Ph.D., currently, A.W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. As an M.A. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ray then served as a curator for the Wisconsin Union Directorate Art Galleries. In fall 1991, he co-curated the exhibit, “Beyond the Motif: Midwestern Latino Artists” and in fall 1992, he curated, “Images of Death/A Celebration of Life: The Mexican Day of the Dead,” which included, a speaker series, a catalogue, and gallery tours. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago, Ray worked in Museum Education at the Smart Museum in 1995. In 1996, he was offered an internship in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1997 he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, which funded his position as curatorial fellow in P&D from 1997 through 1999. After his fellowship ended, he was offered a position as Curatorial Assistant in 1999 which he filled for one year. During his tenure at the AIC, he curated three exhibitions: “New Contemporary Works on Paper from Lannan Foundation” (fall 1997), “(un)conscious articulations: fifty drawings by arturo herrera” (fall 1998) and “Contemporary American Realist Drawings from the Richard and Jalane Davidson Collection” (fall 1999), co-curated with Mark Pascale and that included a catalogue.


As an Assistant Professor at UNM, Ray co-curated with graduate students in his Museum Studies seminar a colonial art exhibition at the UNM Art Museum in 2006–2007. The show was titled, “Body and Soul: Ibero-American Colonial Art in Context” and included a gallery guide and a speaker series funded by the Gale Memorial Fund. In summer 2013, he was invited to lead two seminar sessions, one with Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Ph.D. (Curator at El Museo el Barrio, NYC) for the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program, of which he and Rocío are alumni. From 2014–2016, Ray then served as Interim Curator at the UNM Art Museum where he curated five exhibitions, “Pure Feeling: Raymond Jonson in Albuquerque, 1934–1978,” “Sowing Seeds in the Garden: The John Mulvany and Family Collection of African Art at the University of New Mexico,” which included a scholarly catalogue, a speaker series funded by the Gale Memorial Fund, and was co-curated with graduate students in his Museum Studies seminars, and “Out of Many, One: New Work by Studio Faculty at the University of New Mexico,” co-curated with Native American Art Historian, Joyce Szabo and included a catalogue. As Interim Curator at the UNM Art Museum, he also collaborated with guest jurors to co-curate two M.F.A. juried shows, including, “Connectivity: The 21st Annual Juried Graduate Exhibition” with Jim Ballinger and “What is There That We Cannot See? The 22nd Annual Juried Graduate Exhibition” with Courtney Fink. In 2016, Ray was invited to serve as guest curator for the biennial at El Museo del Barrio in New York City.


In 2017, Ray was appointed Program Director for the 15th annual Way Out West Film Festival, which is held each October in Albuquerque, and curated an exhibition at the Sanitary Tortilla Factory, titled, “The Alchemical Trace: Transformation and Resilience in Recent Work by LGBTQIA Artists,” including a catalogue, a speaker series, and a lecture at the UNM Art Museum. In 2018, he was invited to curate an exhibition of photography by L.A.-based undocumented photographer, Blue Green, titled, “’Illegal’ Lives: Immigrant/Refugee Struggles for Love and Freedom” at the John Sommers Gallery in the Department of Art at UNM. Most recently, Ray has been working on an exhibition and exhibition catalog with Irene Vásquez, Ph.D. (Chair of The Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and Director of the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute at UNM) featuring artwork by a group of first generation New Mexican Chicana and Chicano artists. The show, which will include a scholarly catalogue and educational programming, is titled, “Voces del Pueblo: Eight Artists of the Levantamiento Chicano en Nuevo México, 1970–1980” and will open in spring 2025 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.


Conferences and Presentations:

Ray has lectured at universities and museums in the U.S. and internationally. In New Mexico, he has presented at the Latin American and Iberian Institute, University of New Mexico Art Museum, UNM Center for International Studies, Albuquerque International Association, Albuquerque Museum, Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, and Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, also in Santa Fe. Among the institutions outside of New Mexico where he has been invited to speak or participate in symposia are included, the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, Germany; The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, U.K.; Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador; The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts; the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts/The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Art Institute of Chicago; Denver Art Museum; San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas; The Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Southern Methodist University; Michigan State University; California State University, Fresno; and Texas State University, San Marcos.


Conferences in which he has participated as session chair, panelist, respondent, and/or organizer include, College Art Association, Midwest Art History Society, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, Association of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies, Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Coloquio Internacional del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, L’Association d’art des universités du Canada, Latin American Studies Association, American Studies Association, Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, and Texas State Historical Association. At UNM, Ray has organized a series of conferences under the auspices of the Latin American and Iberian Institute and the Colonial Studies Working Group, including, two Interdisciplinary Methods in Colonial Studies conferences (“Approaches to the Study of Text, Image, and Space” and “Nature and Society in the Americas”) and two Richard E. Greenleaf Colonial Studies conferences (“Africans and their Descendants in the Early Modern Ibero-American World” and “Authority and Identity in Colonial Ibero-America”). In 2019, he co-organized a symposium titled, “On the Liberation and Empowerment of Communities of Color in New Mexico” at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice and the University of New Mexico. In 2022–2023, he was a member of the program committee for the Texas State Historical Association and helped organize the 2023 TSHA conference held in El Paso, Texas in March 2023.



Ray has been the recipient of various awards throughout his academic career, including, a Title VI F.L.A.S. Fellowship to study Portuguese in Brazil, a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Fellowship to study and conduct research in Nigeria, a second Title VI F.L.A.S. Fellowship to study Yoruba at UW-Madison, an African Studies Fellowship, a Latin American and Iberian Studies Travel Grant to conduct research in Haiti, a Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellowship to conduct research in Mexico City, a MacArthur Fellowship to fund his position in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago, a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to support a speaker series on colonial art, a Fulcrum Fund grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation to support the production of an exhibition catalogue and a speaker series for the 2017 Way Out West Film Festival, and most recently, two Cultural Affairs Grants from the City of Albuquerque for exhibition planning support, one for $30,000.00 (2019) and the other for $25,000.00 (2022).


Affiliations and Service:

At UNM, Ray is a Faculty Affiliate of the Latin American and Iberian Institute, Latin American Studies, The Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, and The Department of Africana Studies, Museum Studies, and Faculty Research Associate of the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute. He served as Interim Curator at the University of New Mexico Art Museum (2014–2016) and was a member of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society Spanish Market Standards Committee in Santa Fe (2018–2021). Nationally, he was a member of the College Art Association Conference Committee (2010–2013), the AP Art History Development Committee (2008–2012); and he was one of 8 specialists who designed the new AP Art History course taught across the United States, as a member of the AP Art History Curriculum Review Committee (2010–2012). Ray co-founded the Colonial Studies Working Group and the Interdisciplinary Methods in Colonial Studies colloquium, both, with support from the LAII. In 2007–2008, he helped found the graduate student journal, Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas, which is produced in the Department of Art and for which he has served as chief editor and is faculty advisor. He is also chief co-editor of the journal, Chamisa: A Journal of Literary, Performance, and Visual Arts of the Greater Southwest, which he co-founded with support from the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute and the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies.