Hunters + Gatherers

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The New Mexico Museum of Art

There is a building in downtown Santa Fe that houses a world class collection of contemporary art, a building that is itself an example of the cultural synthesis that defines Santa Fe style and New Mexico culture: The New Mexico Museum of Art.  Located within an easy walk to the Inn on the Alameda, the Museum offers exciting and challenging exhibits of contemporary art coupled with a permanent collection featuring many of the artists and artworks that define New Mexico.

The structure housing this collection is itself a work of art.   The incorporation of Santa Fe into the United States had brought architectural styles that were largely incongruous with the cultural surroundings.  The exposure of modern trained architects in the early 20th century to the organic forms of Puebloan architecture resulted in a revolutionary synthesis of styles known as Pueblo Revival. Consciously building on the historical innovations of the Spanish Colonial era and the Pueblo peoples’ monumental structures, the Pueblo Revival movement helped define Santa Fe for the coming 20th century.

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Martha Opdahl, “Arroyo Seco #3,” 2002 – showing in the exhibit

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a masterpiece of this movement.  Designed by Isaac Rapp, the New York born architect called the “creator of the Santa Fe style”, the 1917 building has become an iconic example of the Santa Fe style, melding elements of all the defining cultural influences in New Mexican society into a cohesive and attractive whole.

The permanent holdings of the collection are devoted to the history of contemporary New Mexican art.   They include the Cinco Pintores, Georgia O’Keefe, the Taos Society and Gustave Baumann.  The museum also has an extensive collection of American photography and multimedia works.

It is a world class artistic institution that has been home to numerous travelling shows challenging exhibits on the nature and function of contemporary artistic representation and media, and a continuance of their mission to expand their holdings.

Few exhibits better represent the complex and continuing mission of the museum than that of their current show: “Hunting + Gathering: New Additions to the Museum’s Collection”.  It is an illuminating exhibit designed to educate visitors to the complexity of the roles of “museum” and “observer”, the duty to challenge as well as curate, and the necessity to adapt and evolve to a very changing cultural and academic landscape.   Encompassing multiple forms, the exhibit highlights works of sculpture, photography, prints, textiles, painting and mixed media, and displays them in a way as to challenge the viewer.

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Joyce Neimanas, “Girl with Squirrel (from the series Dog Show),” 1999 – showing in the exhibit

“Classic” pieces such as Ansel Adam’s photographs and Gustave Baumann’s paintings are juxtaposed with more challenging items such as Barbara Diener’s hauntingly composed and staged photographs and Sarah Magnuson’s evocative structures made of butterfly wings preserved under glass.  These contrasts help to define for the viewer the paradoxes and challenges apparent within the collection, and hopefully, present a cohesive whole greater than the sum of their parts.  This cohesion is mirrored in the Pueblo Revival building that houses it.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a quick 5-minute drive or 10-minute walk from the Inn via Paseo de Peralta, a main thoroughfare on the north side of town. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays 10am-5pm and welcomes visitors for free admission on Friday’s from 5-8pm, May through October, and the first Friday of the month, November through March.

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Inn on the Alameda, That Enchanting Small Hotel in Old Santa Fe, proudly presents all historical blog posts written by Joe & Michael Schepps. Read about the authors here.

Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage in Santa Fe

Take a renowned portrait photographer, give her the time and opportunity to shoot some iconic artifacts and unique locations, and you end up with portraiture by proxy. The artist herself says it best: “It’s a big country out there. Go ahead, hit the road and find places and things that inspire and mean something to you.”  How fortunate that Santa Fe has some wonderful results of this advice on display!

An exhibition entitled Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage has just opened at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and it is so worth a visit. The promotion of great women artists has always been part of  the O’Keeffe’s mission, and Ms. Leibovitz was honored in 2010 as one of the Museum’s Women of Distinction. She has returned to the City Different with over 70 works, in an exhibit organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and sponsored in Santa Fe by a grant from The Burnett Foundation.

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Self Portrait © Annie Leibovitz

The exhibit is evocative and unexpected in equal measures. If you follow the curator’s path, you’ll start with a photo of a snake skeleton embedded in a banco at Georgia O’Keeffe’s home and end with an aerial view of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, both representations of a Celtic symbol believed to represent travel from the inner life to the outer soul or higher spirit forms.

The sense of a spiritual journey runs through the whole show, from the places and objects Leibovitz chose to shoot right through to the subtext the viewer intuits from the resulting images. A picture of the worn compass that Thomas Jefferson gave to the Lewis and Clark expedition is positioned across from an amusing shot of a small model of the Lincoln Monument perched alongside the giant foot of the monument itself. John Muir’s notebooks and Charles Darwin’s skeleton of a pigeon shine a light on a few of the curiosities that attract the scientific mind.

John Muir's Notebook, Annie Leibovitz, courtesy of the artist

Annie Leibovitz, John Muir botanical specimen, John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, California, 2011. © Annie Leibovitz. From “Pilgrimage” (Random House, 2011)

Notable women of history receive their due, with a panorama of a evening gown worn by opera singer, Marian Anderson, placed near a photo of Emily Dickinson’s simple white dress. Eleanor Roosevelt’s quiet domicile, Val-Kill, is full of the furniture she had manufactured. The desk of Virginia Woolf is swept clean, in contrast to the quote from her husband that she was “not merely untidy, but squalid.” In a nod to the artistic feminist past, 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (who, interestingly, was Virginia Woolf’s great-aunt) is represented by a piece depicting the garden door through which her famous neighbor, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was able to visit in secrecy (nothing shady, just avoiding his many fans). Both the hard and the soft sides of the famed sharp-shooter, Annie Oakley, are revealed by a bullet hole in the center of a heart.

There are artifacts and architecture of all kinds highlighting other artists, from Martha Graham’s iron gates juxtaposed with Isamu Noguchi’s props to Pete Seeger’s incredibly crowded home workshop to Ansel Adams’ glowing red darkroom. You can turn 180 degrees from a rumination on Sigmund Freud’s couch and see the Graceland graves of Elvis Presley’s family. Bet Freud would have a field day with that!

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Georgia O’Keeffe, Purple Hills Ghost Ranch-2 / Purple Hills No II, 1934. Oil on canvas affixed to Masonite, 16 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Of course, the visionary Georgia O’Keeffe herself is acknowledged through photos of her house, her studio daybed and her pastels. And you should definitely allow enough time to head back through the Museum to see Georgia O’Keeffe and and the Faraway: Nature and Image, which will be on display through May 5, 2013.

Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage will be on exhibit at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum through May 5, 2013. This is a pictorial journey worth taking!

 

 

 

 

Annie Leibovitz in Santa Fe at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum February 15-May 5, 2013

Self-Portrait, copyright, Annie Leibovitz

Self-Portrait, copyright, Annie Leibovitz

Since its inception, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has had as part of its mission the celebration of women artists. And this year, Santa Fe is in for a treat, as the Museum brings us “Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage,” an exhibition organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibit is comprised of photographs made between April 2009 and May 2011 and tours nationally to 8 different museums.

This renowned photographer has turned her talents towards subjects quite removed from the portraits for which she is so well-known. The work in this new exhibit is based purely on the artist being emotionally or intellectually moved by the subject. Over the course of two separate trips to New Mexico, Ms. Leibovitz captured images of O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu home, the stunning landscape at Ghost Ranch and its environs, and in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum vault itself.

And there’s an extra special event in conjunction with this exciting exhibit! Ms. Leibovitz will be speaking about her work on Tuesday, February 12, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in downtown Santa Fe. Tickets will be available at www.lensic.com

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is located at 217 Johnson Street in Santa Fe, NM.

Santa Fe Celebrates Georgia O’Keeffe 125th Anniversary

November 15 is a very special day for lovers of Georgia O’Keeffe, and the 125th anniversary of the birth of the famed New Mexico artist gave us a chance to do something different to celebrate!

The One and Only Georgia!

To mark the 125th anniversary of Georgia O’Keeffe’s birthday, the Inn invites lovers of O’Keefe to celebrate the date with a Santa Fe getaway! The Happy Birthday, Georgia Experience includes the following:

  • A four-night stay for two  in a Traditional 2-Queen accommodation
  • Museum passes for two for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
  • A 2-hour demonstration cooking class for two, based on some of Georgia O’Keeffe’s favorite recipes, at the Santa Fe School of Cooking
  • Ten (10) O’Keeffe postcards to send to those back home
  • An ample continental breakfast every morning
  • A relaxing wine hour every afternoon
  • Free parking, free local and toll-free calls, and complimentary wireless access

The discounted package is available only for the dates or 11/14-18/12, and guests must stay all four (4) nights.  Please note that the cooking class is limited to 18 people, so book early!

Above the Clouds, Oil on Canvas, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1962

Currently on exhibit at the Museum is Georgia O’Keeffe and the Faraway Image: Art and Nature, on view until May 5, 2013. The show drawings and paintings inspired by the Ghost ranch area beloved by O’Keeffe, as well as by outdoor excursions she made. Highlights of the exhibition include O’Keeffe’s paintings, photographs made by others of places she camped, and a recently made photographic panorama of the “Black Place” establishing a contextual reconstruction of a site where O’Keeffe camped in 1944.

Part of the Cliff, Georia O’Keeffe, Oil on Canvas, 1946

For the birthday celebration, the O’Keeffe Museum has put together a whole slate of events to mark the contribution that Georgia O’Keeffe made to the American art scene. All proceeds from events will support the Museum’s exhibitions, public and youth outreach programs. Take note of the following events:

On Wednesday, November 14, a screening of Jill Shapiro’s Bone Wind Fire takes place at the Museum’s Education Annex. Using the words of Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo, the film reveals and revels in the creative spark of each of these unique artists. The screening is free; no reservations required.

On Thursday, November 15, admission to the Museum will be free all day!

From 10am-1pm, on Thursday the 15th, the Museum partners with the Santa Fe School of Cooking to celebrate with food and stories that represent aspects of O’Keeffe’s life.

Also on the 15th,  at 6pm, the St. Francis Auditorium welcomes art historian,  Roxana Robinson, who will explore O’Keeffe’s rich and intriguing body of work in an informative illustrated lecture.

On Saturday, November 17, the O’Keeffe Education Annex hosts a family program from 1-4pm. And at 7pm that night, there will be a jazz concert with Grammy nominee Karrin Allyson at the Ballroom of La Posada.

Get away with Georgia and see the New Mexico that she loved!

SITE Santa Fe: Time-Lapse

Time-Lapse at SITE Santa Fe 1606 Paseo de Peralta (505) 989-1199

Exhibit runs from February 18-May 20,  2012

In addition to satisfying a taste for the the artistic permutations brought to us by our Museum of New Mexico system, with its panoply of offerings from folk art to photography, a hunger for the cutting-edge can be sated without a trip to the East or West Coast. How? SITE Santa Fe, of course!

SITE Santa Fe in the Railyard Arts District

Since its inception in 1995, SITE has become a valuable resource in the Santa Fe art world. The ample layout allows for installations and large-scale works, and the curatorial staff understands their mission well. February brought the opening of the newest offering from SITE, Time-Lapse 2012.

With an aim of demonstrating the mutability of art, Time-Lapse brings together four artists whose work are specifically intended to change over the course of the exhibition. And an opening event on February 17 also gave Santa Fe art-lovers the chance to enjoy the artistic antics of the Meow Wolf collective, a loose and exuberant confederation of multi-media artists who staged a happening (for lack of a better term) in the Time Capsule Lounge. They did not disappoint!

Meow Wolf: An Old-Fashioned Overhead Projector

Flash Theater by Meow Wolf

Curated by Irene Hofmann, Director and Chief Curator of the Phillips Collection, along with Assistant Curator, Janet Dees, and thanks to much-appreciated support by our local Barker Realty, this examination of change over time features work by artists Byron Kim, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Eve Sussman/Rufus Corporation and Mary Temple.

Ms. Temple engages the viewer immediately with her Currency Series, begun in 2007, and continued with a drawing every day, inspired by the current news and headlines. She creates a portrait of a news-worthy political figure and accompanies it with text that elucidates its relevance.  Laid out in a timeline, the drawings challenge us to remember what happened yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, and in so doing, remind us how quickly we consume the happenings of the day and move on. The drawings are proficient, and threads of content re-emerge as events wax or wane. A great concept, well-executed and well worth visiting, as the artist has committed to adding images throughout the run of the show!

A Familiar Face in the News

Byron Kim’s Sunday Paintings, have a similar intent, although his skyscapes have a weekly format, with a painting of the sky every Sunday in whatever locale he finds himself. The work was begun 25 weeks before the opening, and each week during the exhibition, he will send a new painting after it is completed. The skyscapes include a textual diary of his musings, and it will be interesting to see how the sky changes and to wonder where he has been.

Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is represented by two works from a body of tech-savvy pieces he calls Recorders, which invite viewer participation. While these artworks originated in the artist’s mind, the completed pieces depend on interaction from the viewers for their final content. An apt reflection of the digital world, his work asks for a commitment to engage and leave a ghost of oneself behind. Probably not for those already discomfited by the encroachment of social media!

Eve Sussman is repsented by whiteoinwhite: algorithmicnoir, the most recent of her films in collaboration with the Rufus Corporation. Highly experimental, the work runs continuously with a changing narrative that never presents the same juxtaposition of image and words. Edited in real time by a computer algorithm drawing on over 3000 film clips and assorted voice-overs and music, the film revolves around a protagonist named Mr. Holz, placed in an evocation of Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal film of 1956, Alphaville. Having seen a tantalizing tidbit from this work in NYC, I welcomed the opportunity to actually sit down and contemplate it more thoroughly. Advice: Sit in the front row of seats, in case someone tall plops down in front of you!

Look Into the Time Capsule!

The Time Capsule Lounge, comfortably outfitted with floor and stool seating and futuristic lighting, will be welcoming other public events: Musician Brian Mayhall will present a performance on March 30 at 5pm; Brendan Carn and Colin Woodford will perform a live/Skyped internet piece on May 4 at 5pm; and on May 12 at 11am, Axle Comtemporary Art celebrates a book launch for E Pluribus Unum, a composite portrait of Santa Fe. The Lounge also features a four “timely” films from the past, A Trip to the Moon (1902), La Jetee (1962), Powers of Ten (1977), and Primer (2004), organized by Jason Silverman of the CCA Cinematheque and screened continuously on a loop (thank you, Mr. Silverman, most enjoyable!).

Movies from Times Past

A final touch is added by our beloved Collected Works Books, which supplied a selection of science fiction books, curated by Cynthia Melchert, in the Time Capsule for visitors to read and ruminate on. If you don’t finish before you leave, some titles will be on sale at the SITE bookstore, so you can continue your time travel at home.

SITE Santa Fe consistently presents work that invites contemplation of modern issues that confront not just artists but all of us. I welcome these opportunities for consideration and am grateful for the free Fridays that let me return repeatedly to see such interesting work!

Free Fridays: a Great Time to Bring the Kids to SITE

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith at Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe

Jaune Quick-to-see-Smith at Georgia O’Keeffe Museum 217 Johnson Street Santa Fe NM

It’s actually hard to remember back before the O’Keeffe Museum was here. Of course, the Santa Fe lightbulb joke asks how many Santa Feans it takes to change a lightbulb (Answer: three, one to do it and two to reminisce about how it used to be!). But, truly, a trip to the O’Keeffe is so ingrained in a Santa Fe visit now, that it seems like the museum has always been here….and for that we are very grateful.

Georgia On My Mind, Oil 1986, Collection of Yellowstone Art Museum

We are also grateful that the O’Keeffe continues to highlight the work of contemporary women artists, a commitment that one imagines O’Keeffe herself would approve. On January 26, the fourth exhibition of the Living Artists of Distinction series, entitled “Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Landscapes of an American Modernist,” opened in the rear galleries of the museum. How perfect that exhibit shows that Smith had Georgia on her mind!

The Great Divide, Oil 1987; Collection of St. Paul Travelers

A Native American artist from the Salish band of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai nation of the Northwest, Ms. Smith was born in 1940, received an M.A. at the University of New Mexico, and is a familiar presence to art-going public of the Southwest. Her modernist impulse is played out in active brushwork and expressive imagery, vastly different from O’Keeffe’s technique, but still posssessing that same sense of place found in the still landscapes painted by O’Keeffe.

Like O’Keeffe, Smith works in a variety of media, and the pastels and oils on display present a compelling demonstration of her abilities.  The artist says, “My work comes from a visceral place – deep, deep…,” and the work says so.

Trees are Burning, Pastel 1991; Courtesy LewAllen Contemporary

No doubt, viewers will have favorites.  The pastels appear more restrained, both in palette and and activity, while the large oil paintings feel agitated and full of color. I found myself in reverie by the Wallowa Water Hole pastels, with their more limited palette and simple lines. And I enjoyed the contrast of colors between two large canvases, Playground, which is painted in the primary, clear colors to which children most easily respond, juxtaposed against the lively Great Divide, soaked in the rich pinks and turqouise associated with our desert landscape.

Playground, Oil 1987; Private Collection

When I viewed the show, I headed directly to the galleries, so as to see the work with fresh eyes, then wandered back through the O’Keeffe’s. One of the things that is so enjoyable about these exhibits is how they make one notice different O’Keeffe works that one my not have been pulled to previously. After spending time in the Smith exhibit, a deceptively simple O’Keeffe watercolor and graphite piece from 1918, House with Tree – Green, suddenly drew me to a halt. Fresh eyes are a good thing!

Go see the Jaune Quick-to-See Smith show…it’s up until April 29, so you can make more than one trip and discover for yourself the pleasures of this small museum and its big mission.