Professor of Art History and Scholar in Residence
PhD, University of Texas at Austin
MA, University of Texas at Austin
BA, Yale University
Villela specializes in the history of Pre-Columbian and Latin American art, and on the reception of ancient American culture in the modern world. He has curated exhibitions at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, the Miho Museum, Kyoto, Japan, and the New Mexico History Museum. Most recently he was consulting curator for Miguel Covarrubias: Drawing a Cosmopolitan Line, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (2014). He writes frequently for publications including New Mexico Magazine, ARTNews, Adobe Airstream, and he has a column in the Santa Fe New Mexican Pasatiempo section. He is the author of Ancient Civilizations of the Americas: Man, Nature, and Spirit in Precolumbian Art (Miho Museum, 2011); The Aztec Calendar Stone (with Mary Miller, Getty Publications, 2010); and Contemporary Mexican Architecture and Design (with Ellen Bradbury Reid and Logan Wagner, Gibbs Smith Publications, 2002). He is working on a book on the contributions of the Mexican artist, collector and curator Miguel Covarrubias to Pre-Columbian studies in US and Mexico in the mid-twentieth century. Another book project is the first publication of an album of 1860s-era photographs, the Souvenir of New Mexico, assembled by a US Army officer in New Mexico Territory. The album includes what may be the first photos of the Navajo, as well as important images of the Navajo captivity at Fort Sumner, NM.
At the Santa Fe University of Design, Villela offers courses in the general history of art, and more specialized classes in Pre-Columbian art, Latin American Art, and topics like the Anthropology of Art, and Landscape Engagement in the Americas: From theNazca Lines to Robert Heizer. In the 2015-2016 academic year, he is teaching Thinking About Art Now and a new course, Soma: The Body in Art.