20th century Sculptor
(July 30, 1940–June 13, 2006)
Luis Jimenez, son of Mexican immigrants born in El Paso, Texas, died
Jimenez, a prominent sculptor who was a part of the Roswell Artist in
Residence program and had attended a recent reception at a local museum, was
66 years old.
Shortly before noon Tuesday, the Hondo emergency medical service responded
to a report at Jimenez Studios of an apparent industrial accident, the
Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said.
Sheriff's detectives learned that Jimenez and two of his employees had been
moving a large piece of statuary with a hoist when the piece became loose,
pinning Jimenez to a steel support, a sheriff's office news release said.
Jimenez was taken to the emergency room at Lincoln County Medical Center,
where he was pronounced dead, the release added.
The incident was being investigated by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office
and the state Office of the Medical Investigator.
Don Anderson, founder and president of the Anderson Museum of Contemporary
Art, said Jimenez not only was a wonderful artist but a wonderful person as
"He was a warn, wonderful person," Anderson said. "He was a supporter of so
many young artists. He'd encourage them and motivate them."
Anderson Museum programs and publications coordinator Nancy Fleming, whose
husband Stephen is the Roswell Artists in Residence program director, said
she and Stephen were shocked at the news.
"Luis just attended one of our artist's openings," Nancy Fleming said. "The
art world has lost a very creative man."
Roswell Museum and Art Center director Laurie Rufe said Jimenez was one of
the greats in the art world.
"I think it's a great loss to the art world," Rufe said. "It's too bad he
won't be making any more of those sculptures."
For Brinkman Randle, board member of the Roswell Artist in Residence
program, Jimenez's greatest achievement was in creating a new medium.
"He basically created a new medium with fiberglass," Randle said. "He took
an industrial material and turned it into an art material. He was truly a
pioneer in fiberglass sculpture."
Jimenez got his start in art growing up working in his father's neon sign
shop in El Paso. After high school, Jimenez went to the University of Texas
in Austin, where he studied architecture but also took art courses. He
created sculptures using wood, steel and fiberglass at a time when
fiberglass was not an acceptable medium.
In 1964, Jimenez received his bachelor of science degree in art from Texas
and continued his studies at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in
Mexico City. Two years later, he moved to New York City, where he worked as
an assistant to sculptor Seymour Lipton. In 1972, Jimenez moved to Hondo to
work in sculpting, drawings, prints and lithographs.
Cultural and border themes were important in Jimenez's work, as well as
popular culture and cultural differences.
Jimenez's work has been featured prominently in many museums, including the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Museum of Modern Art in New
York City, the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., the Chicago Art
Institute and the Denver Art Museum.
He was named Texas Artist of the Year in 1998 by the Houston Art League. In
1999, his sculpture "Southwest Pieta" was named a National Treasure by first
lady Hillary Clinton.
Jimenez leaves a wife, Susan, and children Elisa, Adan, Orion and Xochil.