"Freedom Fighter" sculpture
Freedom Fighter (1992), Melvin Edwards. Welded steel, 13 x 10 1/2 x 8". Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, NY, Melvin Edwards / Artist’s Rights Society, NY.

University of New Mexico Art Museum presents “Necessary Force: Art in the Police State,” Friday, Sept. 11 through Saturday, Dec. 12 in Center for the Arts building. The exhibition probes the systemic forces in our past and in our society that continue the violation of civil rights in our nation.

An opening reception is being held Friday, Sept. 11 from 6 – 8 p.m. for this show and “Sowing Seeds in the Garden: The Mulvany Family Collection of African Art at UNM,” also opening Friday.

The exhibition includes seminal photographs documenting the civil rights movement from the museum’s own collection. In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum will host a diverse program of public events with the participation of artists, scholars and local organizations to discuss some of the foremost civil rights issues facing our communities and nation today.

The contemporary artists in the exhibition address a range of issues including surveillance and imprisonment, poverty, police brutality, gun violence, racial profiling, as well as the power of collective protest and collective healing.

Kymberly Pinder, interim director and dean of the College of Fine Arts explains, “The artists in this show are responding to what’s happening around them—they want to create discussion about these difficult issues through art.”