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Cuentos Nuevomexicanos Exhibit Extended at MOCRA Through June 25

by Maggie Rotermund
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Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

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The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) at Saint Louis University presents work from artists Vicente Telles and Brandon Maldonado in the exhibition, “Cuentos Nuevomexicanos.”

The spring exhibition, slated to close May 21, has been extended through June. 25. 

Cuentos Nuevomexicanos

From left: Brandon Maldonado, La Boda Nuevo Mexicana (The New Mexican Wedding), 2023. Courtesy of the artist. Vicente Telles, San Sebastián (St. Sebastian), 2022; Ahí Viene Vicente (Here Comes Vicente), 2022. Images courtesy of the artists.

Santos (painted or sculpted images of saints) originated in Spain. The tradition was carried to territories that fell under Spanish colonial rule. New Mexican santeros (makers of santos) developed distinctive approaches that diverged from the models they found in imported oil paintings, statues, and devotional prints. The Santero tradition flourished from the mid-eighteenth to late-nineteenth centuries before falling into a period of decline. Yet it recovered and thrives today, responding to the needs of both religious devotees and art aficionados. 

Telles is firmly rooted in the Santero tradition, while Maldonado describes his work as being heavily inspired by New Mexican folk art. Both artists recognize the classic santeros as artists with agency, who made adaptive choices in response to complex social concerns and matters of faith for their communities. Telles and Maldonado similarly approach the interwoven threads of contemporary New Mexican culture as informed, thoughtful practitioners. Not content with reiterating the past, they passionately engage and adapt a living tradition to tell stories for our times.

Learn more and listen to an interview with the artists 


Saint Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) is the first museum to bring an interfaith focus to contemporary art. Officially opened in 1993, MOCRA is located in a spacious chapel that was used for over 35 years by Jesuits studying philosophy at Saint Louis University. Through exhibitions, collections, and educational programs, MOCRA highlights and explores the ways contemporary visual artists engage the religious and spiritual dimensions. MOCRA serves the diverse Saint Louis University community, and the wider public, by facilitating personal discovery, experience, and inspiration, while contributing to a wider culture of interfaith encounter and dialogue. More information at

Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 15,200 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.