In early May 2022, the Maxwell presented a new exhibition in our Center Gallery featuring photographs from our archive. The exhibition, titled In the Places of the Spirits: Photos of David Grant Noblem, was curated by Maxwell Archivist Diane Tyink and features a selection of stunning photographs from this new acquisition. The Maxwell is honored that this is one of only two exhibits in which Noble's work has been shown as a whole, as most of his photographs are dispersed in different galleries and/or publications. David Grant Noble is a photographer and writer whose focus is the history and archaeology of the American Southwest, though he has worked around the nation and around the globe.
On David Grant Noble
David Grant Noble was born and raised in Massachusetts, attended Yale University, served in the army in Vietnam, and was for many years on the staff of the School for Advanced Research. While in the army in the 1960s, Noble photographed Vietnam's Central Highlands. These were his first photographs and were recently published in his memoir, “Saigon to Pleiku: A Counterintelligence Agent in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, 1962-1963.” In 1970 and 1971, he photographed Mohawk ironworkers in New York City - some of those photographs featured in the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian 2002 exhibition Booming Out: Mohawk Ironworkers Build New York, co-curated by the Maxwell's own Curator of Exhibitions, Devorah Romanek. Noble's work includes a series on Ojibwe wild rice harvesters in Wisconsin and Minnesota, followed by his work in the Southwest.
He became interested in photographing the Southwest’s ancient cultural landscapes in 1972-1974, when he was the photographer on the School for Advanced Research’s excavations at Arroyo Hondo Pueblo, near Santa Fe. This job soon led to his writing and illustrating his archaeological guide, “Ancient Ruins and Rock Art of the Southwest,” which, in turn, led to “In the Places of the Spirits.” He has authored or edited a dozen books on the deep history of the American Southwest.
Noble’s photographs are in many collections, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Yale University’s Beinecke Library, The New York State Museum, and the Heard Museum, in addition to the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. Examples of his photography can be seen at his website. He lives in Santa Fe and is presently writing an archaeological murder mystery set in the Southwest.
This exhibit is sponsored by UNM's Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies.