New Mexico artist featured in Oval Office


NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A statue created by a New Mexico artist in the ’90s is now on display on a very prestigious bookshelf. Allan Houser has work on display in 80 museums across the United States and in Europe. Now, one of his statues, created in the 90’s is on display in the Oval Office.

“Allan Houser is an incredible American sculptor of the 20th century,” said Andrew Connors, Director of the Albuquerque Museum.

Now, one of Houser’s statues sits on a bookshelf in President Joe Biden’s office. “President Biden seemed to want to show the diversity of American heritage and American culture,” said Connors.

The Chiricahua Apache artist has deep ties to New Mexico. He’s known for his sculptures and paintings portraying Native American culture. He created Swift Messenger in 1992. “It’s a warrior who has an urgent message for the rest of the tribe,” said David Rettig, the Currator of Collections at Allan Houser Inc.

Swift Messenger was gifted to Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye who worked to create the National Museum of the American Indian. When Senator Inouye passed away, Swift Messenger was donated to that museum, now it’s on loan to the White House.

Swift Messenger joins a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Cesar Chavez in the Oval Office. Rettig says it’s an honor for Houser’s work to be on display. “We’re very pleased to have Allan represent Native American heritage and history,” said Rettig.

Rettig says placing Swift Messenger on one of the shelves is a huge contrast from the previous administration’s display of Andrew Jackson. “Of course in Indian Country, Jackson is perhaps the most disposed of all presidents,” said Rettig.

The Albuqeurque Museum showcases two of Houser’s sculptures, along with one of his watercolor works.

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