Santa Fe’s art scene is now in high season, offering a plethora of fairs and exhibitions dedicated to works local, national, and international.
Cool things just happen in Santa Fe; it’s that kind of place. Last year, Game of Thrones author and Santa Fe resident George R.R. Martin agreed to bankroll a project by the Meow Wolf art collective to transform a defunct bowling alley into an art complex. Santa Fe is a year-round art destination, but it comes into its own during the summer, when it is alive with museum exhibitions, gallery shows, fairs, and indigenous arts markets.
At the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum throughout the summer (closing October 30) is “Georgia O’Keeffe’s Far Wide Texas,” devoted to a series of watercolors she painted while teaching in Canyon, Tex., from 1916 to 1918. The product of about two years of effort, “Far Wide Texas” represents the largest public display of these early O’Keeffe watercolors in a long time, and possibly ever. It looks at a period of the artist’s life that would later be overshadowed by her time in New Mexico, when she was fresh from Columbia University and “alive with the possibilities of abstraction,” says curator Carolyn Kastner. The watercolors on view include Evening Star No. VI, a sunset landscape from a 1917 series of eight that is rendered entirely in primary colors.
Car culture will be celebrated at The New Mexico Museum of Art with “Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders” (through October 9), a show of photographs, paintings, sculptures, and videos by New Mexico artists, including Lawrence Baca, Ron Rodriguez, Justin Favela, Miguel Gandert, Alex Harris, Nicholas Herrera, Arthur Lopez, Norman Mauskopf, and El Moisés. Through images of the customized, hydraulically enhanced vehicles beloved by generations of Latino New Mexicans, they explore a variety of serious issues such as family, heritage, gender, and religion. “The works in the show confirm what we in New Mexico already know to be true, that lowriders are an extraordinary art form in their own right as well as being a significant cultural icon that ignites the imaginations of people all over the world,” says curator Katherine Ware. Also at the museum this summer is “Finding a Contemporary Voice: the Legacy of Lloyd Kiva New and IAIA” (through October 10). The exhibition features work by New, cofounder of Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts, as well as by faculty and alumni.
All summer long, Santa Fe is awash in gallery shows. The Addison Rowe Gallery at 229 East Marcy Street will host “Louis Catusco & Lawrence Calcagno: Not Famous, But Important” through August 19. Between 20 and 30 works appear in the show and include pieces such as Constellation of the Inner Eye No. 38, a 1977 oil on paper by Calcagno that captures a lush meditation in blue. Representing Catusco is Untitled No. 3, an undated multicolor mixed media with pen work. “The contrast between these two guys is very exciting,” says Matthew Rowe. “It’s really exciting to show an aspect of American art that people aren’t familiar with. It’s an opportunity to see something you wouldn’t expect.”
Through August 12, the Ellsworth Gallery on 215 E. Palace Ave. is showing “Form and Fruition: Introducing new works by Jeff Juhlin, Karolina Maszkiewicz, and Kim Piotrowski.” All three are American abstract artists, and Maszkiewicz and Piotrowski will make their Ellsworth Gallery debuts in this show. Barry Ellsworth says that Jangle, a mixed media on panel by Piotrowski, provides a fine introduction to the artist. “Her work, for me, is almost like pure, exuberant energy, like water splashing on a rock,” he says, adding, “All the pieces [in the three-person show] are strong and work together beautifully.”
LewAllen Galleries, located at 1613 Paseo de Peralta, will enjoy a busy summer season. On July 22, Bulgarian-born glass artist Latchezar Boyadjiev will make his LewAllen Galleries debut alongside glass sculptor Lucy Lyon, in show that continues through August 15. Tom Palmore’s intriguing portraits of animals and birds will remain on display until August 21. Especially charming is The Royal Family, a group of meerkats rendered in oil and acrylic on canvas. And contemporary landscape artist Woody Gwyn returns with a show that opens on July 29 and closes on September 5.
Nedra Matteucci Galleries, at 1075 Paseo de Peralta, welcomes the summer with “Natural Wonders: Paintings by Chris Morel and Sculpture by Dan Ostermiller,” which opened on June 25 and runs through July 16. It will be the first joint exhibition by the two artists at the galleries. Morel, a master of oils, fills the gallery walls with landscapes like St. Francis in Snow, a winter vista that radiates warmth and light, while Ostermiller delivers lively bronzes such as When Mama Calls, a scene of two baby elephants marching toward their unseen mother. Ostermiller will contribute a dozen new bronzes, including three that are on a monumental scale; Morel’s 30 paintings capture vistas in northern New Mexico and Colorado. “Their respective work explores the natural world, but they approach it from two very different perspectives in subject and medium that are a wonderful juxtaposition of nature itself,” says owner Nedra Matteucci.
On August 13, Matteucci will open “John Moyers and Terri Kelly Moyers: Time-honored Traditions in Painting.” It is the gallery’s fifth annual exhibition devoted to the husband and wife plein air painters, who embrace old-school techniques and pursue their own distinctive paths. The pair will create between 30 and 40 works for the show. Terri Kelly’s Afternoon At San Gabriel showcases her command of light, portraiture, and fine costume details; John’s Interstate Through His World testifies to his talent for portraying images of Native Americans with restrained emotion. “Terri enjoys a very classical, figurative style in her work that emphasizes women, and John, long a student of Western history, most often paints Pueblo Indian and includes Mexican cowboy subjects. Their plein air paintings complement each other as they paint together but even then, their unique palette and style is evident,” Matteucci says. The Moyers show will close on September 10.
136 Grant, at 136 Grant Ave., will have a full slate of seasonal programming. Its series of summer open houses began on June 30 with an event for the Santa Fe Opera House and continues on July 7 with an open house for the Folk Art Market and on August 13 with an open house for the Indian and Spanish markets. Its Salon Series, held on the third Friday of the month, features John Kania on collecting antique American Indian baskets in July and Mark Blackburn and Tad Dale on the collecting life in August. 136 Grant’s Meet the Artist series takes place on the third Saturday of the month and will feature Greta Ruiz on recent clay work at the Spanish Market in July and Caroline Blackburn on the fine art of jewelry design in August. In addition, 136 Grant will mount a show of 30 to 40 works from the late Santa Fe printmaker Willard Clark, spanning six decades of his output. Opening on the fourth or the fifth of August and continuing until the end of the month, it will also feature watercolors, paintings, works on paper maybe a wood block or two, and an original copy of his memoir of 1920s Santa Fe life that he printed on his own press. The show will appear at El Zaguan, a historic property on Canyon Road. Both 136 Grant and El Zaguan are administered by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation. 136 Grant will donate a portion of the profits from art sales at the August show to the foundation.
Gallery 901, located at 708 Canyon Road, will unveil “Adelita: Women Soldiers of the Mexican Revolution” on July 1 and continue it until July 26. Angel Wynn, who works with encaustic, or pigmented wax, and photographs, explores the phenomenon of the adelitas, women who followed men to the battlefields of the Mexican revolution and sometimes fought alongside them. In September, Gallery 901 will present another show by Wynn: “Greetings from New Mexico” will run from September 2 to September 27. The gallery will mount at least two shows in August. Eddy Shorty, a Navajo sculptor, stars in a show that opens on August 19 and closes on September 9. Landscape painter Dean Mabe will enjoy his debut outing at Gallery 901 with “Other Times and Places,” which will take place from August 19 through September 9.
The Gerald Peters Gallery, at 1005 Paseo de Peralta, always has intriguing summer shows, and 2016 is no exception. From July 29–August 20, the gallery will feature a two-man exhibition by painter Don Stinson and sculptor Randall Wilson. It came about after Stinson showed Evan Feldman, the gallery’s director of contemporary art, a cell-phone image of a sculpture that his old friend Wilson had recently finished. Pleased by what she saw, Feldman pursued a dual show of Stinson’s stirring Western landscapes and Wilson’s retablo-inspired wooden creations. “Their work is very different, but it complements each other in a nice way,” she says. Also making its debut on July 29 (through September 24) is “The Wild Bunch: G. Russell Case, Logan Maxwell Hagege, and Mark Maggiori,” which spotlights a younger generation of contemporary Western artists. The three complement each other in more ways than the obvious ones. “I wanted to put them together because they work together, they like each other, and their painting styles are all very different,” says Maria Hajic, director of naturalism at the gallery.
“The Art of Chris Maynard” runs through July 23, and celebrates the work of a unique artist. Maynard’s medium is bird feathers, and his preferred tools are many of the same implements found in an eye surgeon’s operating room. “He’s enamored with birds,” says Hajic. “He tries to capture the essence of birds. That’s what it’s about for him. I don’t have another artist like him. When people come into the gallery, his is the first piece they go to. They’re mesmerized.” The precision Maynard brings to his shadow boxes carries through to the identifying information for each: Red Racers is not merely comprised of feathers, but specifically a mute swan’s under-wing feather and the tail feather of a female red-tailed black cockatoo. “Because he is a birder, he wants to be as specific as possible, and he wants to educate people about birds,” Hajic says, adding that the artist stresses that he never harms birds in pursuit of his materials.
Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, located at 554 S. Guadalupe, meets the summer heat with “Jeremy Thomas: Grown Cold,” the artist’s fifth solo show with the gallery and his sixth overall. It will open on July 1 and close on August 1. The title refers to the cold inflation process Thomas relies on to shape his larger steel pieces such as Bijou Blue. On August 5, “Heiner Theil and Michael Post: Vicissitudes of Color” fills the gallery. Both artists are Germans with a penchant for creating brightly-hued wall pieces out of metal. Theil’s anodized aluminum shapes revel in light and handily withstand the Southwestern rays. “The orange ones are like burning embers,” Jackson says. Post’s acrylics on fiberglass over steel play with color in a different way, glowing from beneath when the light hits them. Jackson notes that both Theil’s and Post’s artworks sell quickly. “It’s exciting, it’s fresh, it’s new, and people love it,” she says. The Theil and Post show will close on September 5.
Ruhlen-Owen Contemporary at 225 Canyon Road will display “Flowers and Fields: Mary Long | Daniel Phill” from July 1–14. It is the gallery’s first duo show of the season, and each artist will contribute a dozen works. Long has favored the medium of encaustic for more than a decade, producing evocative works that seem like landscapes photographed from the air. Phill specializes in abstracts that have a distinctly botanical feel. “His colors in general are very vibrant,” says Tim Owen, the gallery’s owner. Ruhlen-Owen Contemporary will follow “Flowers and Fields” with another duo show of the works of Martha Rea Baker and Pauline Ziegen. It runs from September 16–29.
Starting on August 10, Morning Star Gallery at 513 Canyon Road shines a spotlight on the art of war with a show of the same name. Among its two dozen items, most of which were used by Plains Indians warriors between 1780 and 1875, is a Plains quilled bow case and quiver that utterly delighted gallery director Henry Monahan. “I’ve been doing this for 31 years and my heart stopped for a second,” he said of the case and quiver, which is embellished with porcupine quills and red cloth originally imported from England. “I’ve literally never seen anything like it in my life. It’s been a decade since I had one [a bow case and quiver set] and I never had one this fine.” The lack of beads and the technique used for the quill work (look for the white sections at the extremes of the quiver) point to a date of circa 1850. “The bottom of the bow case has a perfect usage patina,” he says. “It’s not beat to crap, but it’s lived a life.”
The show also features a tomahawk from a Western Plains tribe. Its patina, tack decorations, and unusually large head point to a circa-1860s date. The fact of the head itself—it had to have been made by a blacksmith, not a tribesman—and its magnificent details, such as a seven-point star decoration, speak to the wealth and trading prowess of its owner. “It’s a lethal weapon,” says gallery director Henry Monahan. “A lot of times [tomahawks] were a symbol of office and authority, but if they had to, they would use it.” “The Art of War” will remain on view through September 5.
Also on view in Santa Fe is the Messenger Art Collection, a 5,000-strong archive of artworks originally commissioned for advertising purposes. Much of it was acquired, starting in 1913, by Frank Messenger, who produced advertising in the Midwest during the 1940s and ’50s. Current owner Al Babbitt bought the collection in 2010 with the intention of restoring it and offering it for viewing and for sale. There will be an open house on Friday, July 8, from 5–7 p.m. at the collection’s showroom at 2538 Camino Entrada. Visitors may also contact the showroom to schedule a private viewing.
Among the marquee pieces on display is Century of Progress, a 1933 oil on canvas that served as the original art for a poster. Frank Robert Harper painted it to celebrate the Chicago World’s Fair as well as the first time electric lights blazed on the shore of Lake Michigan. A multi-year restoration effort returned the rare surviving canvas to its former glory. Other Messenger prizes include a complete set of 31 hand-colored etchings of scenes from Shakespeare plays, produced by the 18th-century English printmaker and entrepreneur John Boydell, and the centerpiece of the collection, a group of 21 original color separations that comprise the famous 1949 “Red Velvet” nude photo shoot by Tom Kelley Jr., that turned Marilyn Monroe into a superstar. Images from the session enlivened a 1953 calendar that sold eight million copies (not to mention countless knockoffs) and supplied Hugh Hefner with the inaugural centerfold in Playboy magazine.
Fairs are an essential aspect of Santa Fe’s summer art season. This summer Art Santa Fe returns to the Santa Fe Convention Center for its 16th edition, under new ownership. The fair, which takes place from July 7–10, now belongs to the Redwood Media Group, which also owns Spectrum Miami and Artexpo New York. Its 45 exhibitors will include Catenary Art Gallery of 616 ½ Canyon Road, which will bring lyrical images by Bulgarian-born photographer Rumi Vesselinova. They will enjoy a show that is literally larger, with bigger booths. The theme of this year’s Art Santa Fe is “horizon,” a notion explored by the Art Lab project of Jorge Cavalier, a series of oversized acrylics on silk and canvas hung from the ceiling. “Jorge’s work takes you on a journey. You walk physically toward a horizon,” says Linda Mariano of the Redwood Group. “You walk through the horizon to reach the horizon.” Another Art Lab project is aimed at younger visitors. Switzerland-based artist Kelly Fischer will create a 16-canvas mural based on her new children’s book, The Most Beautiful Color of All. The mural will also be rendered as a smaller wooden set of images that will allow children to make up their own story with them, and they can also avail themselves of art supplies and create their own murals. Art Santa Fe intends to offer this Art Lab program on afternoons from Friday to Sunday during the show. Art & Antiques will support Art Santa Fe by continuing to be the fair’s lead media sponsor.
The 13th annual International Folk Art Market returns to Santa Fe from July 8–10, located on Museum Hill. Almost 200 artists from more than 60 countries will attend, and 40 percent of the exhibitors will be newcomers to the market. Works on offer will include paintings, sculpture, glasswork, ceramics, carvings, basketry, beadwork, musical instruments, textiles, mixed media, jewelry, and more. Among the artists showing work will be Serge Jolimeau of Haiti, who makes recycled oil drum sculptures; Abdulaziz Alimamad Khatri of India, who makes bandhani dyed scarves and shawls; and Joy Ndungutse and Pricila Kankindi of Rwanda, who make handwoven sisal baskets, ikangara wall hangings, bracelets, and earrings.
SITE Santa Fe continues its SITElines series with its 2016 biennial, much wider than a line, an exhibition that features more than 35 artists from 11 countries exploring a range of border-transcending ideas that stem from the interconnectedness of the Americas. Aaron Dysart’s Preserve 2 (2015) pokes fun at man’s attempts to control and improve nature, taking it to an extreme by wrapping a section of a branch in aluminum foil. Juana Valdez’s Colored China Rags (2012), employs porcelain, a long-treasured luxury good, to replicate the shapes of mundane cleaning rags, painted to resemble a range of flesh tones. The SITE curators selected six Valdez porcelain rags for the show, which opens on July 16 and continues through January 8, 2017.
The Spanish Colonial Arts Society presents the 65th annual Traditional Spanish Market on Santa Fe Plaza on July 30–31. Roughly 250 masters of woodcarving, tinwork, hide painting, furniture, weaving, jewelry, and other time-honored arts will attend. Last year’s treasures included pots by Alfred Blea and One Hundred Madonnas by Marie Romero Cash, an intriguing and engaging take on the bulto, or carved and painted figures of saints.
Objects of Art Santa Fe will be held in El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe in the Railyard District from August 12–14. J. Compton of Wimberly, Tex., will offer a dozen paintings by the late Larry John Palsson, a Seattle outsider artist whom the gallery brought to prominence. Palsson was apparently autistic and self-taught, adorning whatever was on hand, be it cereal boxes or car brochures, with compelling, colorful visions done in acrylics that betray no evidence of brush strokes. Palsson never named or dated his paintings, but gallery owner Jean Compton has given them titles and has sleuthed out likely dates for some. She was able to pinpoint when he made Daisies, a bold abstract with a space-age starburst ringed by daisy-like blooms, by turning it over and discovering he had painted it on a brochure that touted the 1988 Lincoln Continental. “This is one of my most exciting finds,” she says of the 600-strong stash of works. “It’s been a huge process just to go through it and curate it.”
The H. Malcolm Grimmer gallery is preparing to unveil a stunning exhibition of Plains Indians moccasins at the Antique American Indian Art Show Santa Fe, which also takes place at El Museo, from August 17–19 (with an opening night celebration on August 16). Titled “The Path to Beauty: The Art of Plains Indian Moccasins,” Grimmer’s installation will feature as many as 40 pairs of magnificently decorated footwear fashioned by the women of 19th-century Plains Indian tribes. Most come from a single decades-old collection. “Moccasins are a unique object in Indian art. It’s two-dimensional and three-dimensional art, and we’re trying to build a show that explores that,” says gallery director Tom Cleary. Though Plains Indian men, women, and children all wore bead-decorated moccasins, high-ranking males donned the most resplendent pairs. One sharp-dressed man in the Assiniboine tribe in the Montana region, circa 1880, stood tall in moccasins decorated all over with beads—soles included. “They were probably seldom worn and used for special occasions, like a wedding dress in today’s society,” says Cleary. Almost as exquisite is a pair made by a Kiowa tribeswoman around 1870 in Oklahoma or Texas. Their beads display the colors that collectors want most in a Kiowa work of art (pink, crimson, and blue), and the flaps around the ankles, known as cuffs, are graced with beads and deerskin fringe. “To make a pair like that would have taken months,” Cleary says. “To acquire the beads alone would have taken time.” He and his gallery colleagues are understandably excited over the show. “It’s going to be fun to put them on a wall and see how they play with each other,” he says.
Also at the Antique American Indian Art Show, dealer Trotta-Bono of Shrub Oak, N.Y., will make a memorable debut. Among its offerings will be an exceptional veteran’s quilt dating to the World War II era and stitched by an unknown Cherokee in Oklahoma. Rather than a single, dominant image, the white-and-robin’s-egg-blue quilt contains several symbols, some Native American and some not—hearts, fleurs-de-lis, arrows, peyote buttons, bombs, and a thunderbird—that together suggest it was made for a veteran who fought in France during the war, perhaps with the 45th Armored Division, which took the thunderbird as its logo.
And for the third year in a row, the Antique American Indian Art Show and Objects of Art Santa Fe will share a non-selling exhibition: “Woven in Beauty: 100 Years of Navajo Master Weavers from The Toadlena/Two Grey Hills Region” brings together between 30 and 40 textiles woven by Navajos after 1900, the time when the design elements start to differentiate and coalesce around the trading posts in the area. Weavings on view includes a circa 1940 sheep’s wool rug that is typical of Toadlena/Two Grey Hills in its use of diamond motifs and undyed fibers, and atypical in that it was woven by a man. The exhibition runs August 11–19.
The great-grandfather among the arts events in the city, the Santa Fe Indian Market, fills the Downtown Plaza August 20–21. Produced by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), the market will stage its 95th edition in 2016. More than 150,000 visitors are expected to view and purchase works by more than 1,100 Native American artists from the United States and Canada. Standouts from 2015 included Nancy Youngblood, of the Santa Clara Pueblo, who took Best in Class for pottery with her black-on-black stone-polished pot titled Horse Running through the Lightning and Rain, and Ernest Benally, a Navajo who won Best in Class for jewelry with a bolo tie fashioned from sterling silver, inlaid gemstones and shells, and handmade leather.
By Sheila Gibson Stoodley