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Best Art Museum 

Tucson Museum of Art

Readers Pick

Talking Birds, Plumed Serpents and Painted Women may sound like a barker's spiel about characters under the big top, but it's really the title given to artworks that cavorted in the TMA last winter. Herded into the galleries by now-ex-curator Joanne Stuhr, the cavalcade of ceramic creatures from Chihuahua's 1200 A.D. Casas Grandes culture formed an exhibition as charming as it was scholarly. Stuhr's was the first-ever museum show to investigate the meanings of these curving pre-Columbian pots painted in red and black, and shaped into grinning snakes and smiling cats. Fellow curator Julie Sasse was no slouch either, mounting a handsome Stonewall show of the enigmatic resin sculptures of Phoenix artist Mayme Kratz and a rainbow-colored exhibition of the mixed-media paintings of part-time Arizonan Terence LaNoue.

Runners up:

2. TIE UA Center for Creative Photography, 1077 N. Highland Ave.

2. TIE UA Museum of Art, 1031 N. Olive Road

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