Walter Bambrook’s work shows at Hanging Tree Gallery
In the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration, the economic stimulus of its day, included artwork commissions. And though Hanging Tree Gallery hosts work by contemporary Albuquerque artists like Hector Morales, it also houses work by New Mexico WPA-era artists like Walter Bambrook and Ben Turner.
Owner Reggie Sawyer says that the WPA art at Hanging Tree is an often-neglected part of the state's art history. Student-made furniture from the era is made from pine and it's primitive, says Sawyer, but still an important artifact from Albuquerque's 300-year history.
Hanging Tree Gallery's name came with the move to its current Old Town location. The gallery was then called Adobe House Antiques, confusing to people who came in looking for Adobe Gallery, which was only across the street. Sawyer says while searching unfruitfully for a name, he asked two life-long Old Town residents about the area's biggest cotton tree. The women answered, "That's the hanging tree." Though Sawyer says he doubts anyone was hanged in Old Town outside of the trap doors at the plaza, the name stuck.