Sodbuster: San Isidro

The Sodbuster: San Isidro sculpture is the showpiece in the Museum's lobby.

Unveiled in its new location on May 18, 2018, the dramatic, fiberglass piece was created by Luis Jiménez in 1995 and is on loan from Russell Tether.

Luis Jiménez (1940-2006) was an artist famed for his larger-than-life polychromatic fiberglass sculptures. Working from everyday materials like fiberglass and spray paint, his subject matter often reflected the lives of working-class people. Jiménez’ art was controversial not only for his unconventional choice of medium, but also for the strongly Southwestern and Hispanic themes expressed in his work.

Seen here is the last of six copies made of Sodbuster, San Isidro. The first was commissioned in 1983 for the City of Fargo, North Dakota, and celebrated how immigrants and native peoples had worked to turn the hardscrabble Great Plains into one of the great food-producing regions of the world.

On another level, the title refers to St. Isadore the Farmer (or St. Isadore the Laborer), the Roman Catholic patron saint of farmers. The story of St. Isadore (San Ysidro or San Isidro in Spanish), a farm laborer known for his piety and love of animals, is familiar in his native Spain and here in New Mexico.

Inscribed as the artist proof, this copy of Sodbuster, San Isidro was commissioned in 1995 and first shown at the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. It was then displayed at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas for a number of years before being acquired by the current owner in 2014.

(c) Luis A. Jimenez, Jr. Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY,NY.

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