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.


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!





Spanish Market Santa Fe

For lovers of art and heritage, the upcoming weekend promises many delights, as the 61st annual Santa Fe Spanish Market swings into the Plaza. With 183 artists in the Market, and an additional 52 youth artists exhibiting their work, this is an artistic and familial legacy that continues to grow in size and quality.

Spanish Market on the Santa Fe Plaza

Taking place on the historic Plaza, on Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29, from 8:30 am to 5 pm, the Market offers something for everyone, from straw applique to retablos to engraving to weaving and calaveras, too. If we’re lucky, we might even see some of that beautiful and increasingly rare colcha embroidery!

Calaveras con Corazon

And if your taste runs more to the cutting edge, the Contemporary Hispanic Market runs concurrently, spread along both sides of Lincoln Avenue, with 134 booths of art and artistry to peruse or purchase.

There will be food, of course, since it’s Santa Fe, and among other tasty events, there’s a cooking class with John Vollertsen, “Spanish Influence on New Mexico’s Norteno Cooking,” at Las Cosas on July 26 at 10 am.  And if you just can’t make time for that class, don’t forget that the Inn offers a Muy Sabrosa Cooking Experience with the experts from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, soon to be fully ensconced in their new location.

La Comida Muy Sabrosa!

Also on July 26, John Schaefer lectures on “Collecting Spanish Colonial Art” at Peyton Wright Gallery at 4:30 pm. On Friday July 27, at 9:30 am, Patina Gallery hosts a breakfast reception and lecture on the work of Enric Majoral.  On Friday evening, a Market Preview opens at the Santa Fe Convention Center at 7 pm.

Listen for “la musica,” not only during the Saturday-Sunday Market itself. On Thursday, July 26, the Santa Fe Bandstand series gets into the act with homegrown favorites, Andy Primm and Alex Maryol, performing on the Plaza from 6 to 9 pm. Performances by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival take place in St. Francis Auditorium on Thursday, July 26 at noon and 6 pm, Friday, July 27 at 6 pm, Saturday, July 27 at 6 pm, and Sunday, July 28 at 5 pm. The Santa Fe Desert Chorale offers a concert, “Celebrating the Centenery,” at 8 pm on Saturday, July 28 at the New Mexico History Museum.  The Santa Fe Opera serves up Giaochino Rossini’s Maometto II on Friday the 27th at 8:30 pm, and on Saturday the 28th, also at 8:30 pm, the premiere of Richard Strauss’ Arabella rounds out the season’s repertoire.

It looks like it will be a great weekend…will we see you there?

Santa Fe Art & Poetry at the Community Gallery

Santa Fe Community Gallery, 201 West Marcy Street, Santa Fe, NM

Hours: Tue-Fri 10a-5p, Sat 10a-4p through June 8, 2012

Did you know that the  Santa Fe Community Convention Center includes a Community Gallery? It’s a nice little secret to discover, especially since it provides a venue for artists who might otherwise not have an opportunity to show their work. So many Santa Fe galleries, but so many more artists than exhibit spaces!

Santa Fe Community Gallery inside the Convention Center

The exhibit currently on display at the Community Gallery, “Odes and Offerings,” is the brainchild of  Santa Fe’s Poet Laureate, Joan Logghe. (Yes, not only does Santa Fe have a community gallery, the City Different also has a Poet Laureate, pretty impressive for a city of 65,000!). To complete her poetry tenure, a project was devised for the Gallery whereby 36 writers were invited to collaborate with 36 visual artists to create works in tandem, paired up by Ms. Logghe and the Gallery’s Director, Rod Lambert.

Wish You Were Here: Artist, Donna Ruff; Haiku by Poet, Charles Trumbull

Each artist was supplied with two poems from the poets’ works and asked to incorporate a line, a phrase or a stanza into the completed work.  Logghe states that “The idea is not a poetry-inspired piece, but a piece where the text becomes part of the work or art.”

Detail Panel from The Archaeologist as Full Moon: Artist, S.K. Yeatts; Poem with the Same Title by Poet, James McGrath

The works run the gamut of media, from photographs to sculpture to giclee prints to film. In some works, the texts are utterly obscured and in others, words boldly confront the viewer/reader. The gallery has thoughtfully provided texts for all the poems, so one can wander through the exhibit with literature in hand, which significantly enhances the experience. The exhibit is peppered with names familiar to Santa Fe arts-lovers; artists such as Jane Shoenfeld, Charles Greeley, Gail Rieke , Ann Laser, and Andrew Keim are paired with writers like the late Witter Bynner, Judyth Hill, John Brandi, Dana Levin (who brings us the Muse x2 Poetry Series), and Henry Shukman, who wrote a lovely and ruminative piece on Santa Fe for the New York Times.

The Mesa the Shadow Built: Artist, Charles Greeley; Poem with the Same Title by Poet, Judyth Hill

A variety of public events will be held in conjunction with the exhibit:

“Words Away” a reading by three Santa Fe Poets Laureate, Joan Logghe, Valerie Martinez and Arthur Sze, taking place in the New Mexico History Museum Auditorium on April 27 at 6pm

A four-hour Poetry Workshop with Ms. Logghe on April 28 from 1-4pm at the Gallery

A two-hour Visual Arts Workshop with Sabra Moore at the Gallery on May 5, from 12-2pm

A Poetry Reading featuring approximately half of the participating poets on May 16 from 6-8pm at the Gallery

A tw-hour Visual Arts Workshop with Suzanne Vilmain at the Gallery on May 19 from 1-3pm

A Poetry Reading by the second group of participating poets at the Gallery on May 23 from 6-8pm,

A Final Poetry Reading by Joan Logghe, featuring works penned during her service as Poet Laureate on June 8 from 5-7pm

“Let the mind and the soul swap places for a while.” from Jack’s Creek Soliloquy by Tommy Archuleta

This exhibit is worth the time…and you have plenty of  time to see it, since it is up until June 8!


Look for It!

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.

SOFA Santa Fe

SOFA West Santa Fe 2010 takes place at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center located on the northeast corner of West Marcy and Grant Avenue from August 4-7.

No, no, not a seating arrangement…it’s an acronym for Sculptural Objects and Functional Art! And this exciting art fair returns this year to Santa Fe in August to add to the rich panoply of art that summer brings to us every year.

SOFA West returns to Santa Fe!

Taking place at our spacious Community Convention Center from August 4 through 7, SOFA West: Santa Fe is an opportunity for westerners and their art-loving visitors to see what other large art markets (read Chicago in November 2011 and New York in April 2012) deem as praise-worthy representations of the new and unusual in three-dimensional art objects. Last year’s outing was obviously a hit, since the show is up in dealer participation from last year’s 28 to this year’s 35 exhibitors.

The exhibit actually opens on the evening of Wednesday, August 3, 2011, with a frisson of exclusivity, an invitation-only “First Look” private preview for supporters of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation from 5-6:30 pm and SOFA VIPs beginning at 6:30 pm. The invite-only reception will be followed by a new Opening Night Public Preview which begins at 7 pm. Tickets are $50 and will be available on or at the door, and the Opening Night festivities continue until 9 pm. General admission to the fair begins on Thursday, August 4 and runs through Sunday, August 7, 2011, from 12 noon to 6pm daily. Tickets are $15 for a single day pass and, for those who just can’t get enough of a good thing, die-hard art aficionados can pay only $25 for the four-day run of the show.

Carol Naylor: Te Mata Peak, ZeST Contemporary Gallery

Jimin Kim: Tracks, Charon Kransen Arts

This year, the Art Fair Company also hosts an exciting addition to SOFA West, by welcoming the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art, which partnered with SOFA Chicago last fall. Outsider art continues to grow audiences with each exposure, and in a town like Santa Fe, with a historic folk art tradition, this show is sure to be of interest to viewers and collectors alike. The Museum of International Folk Art had a stunning outside art show several years ago, which included the work of Martin Ramirez and was a big local hit. The presence of  Intuit brings the leading dealers and galleries of self-taught art and outsider art, non-traditional folk art and visionary art to the exciting artistic mix that SOFA visitors already appreciate.

Martin Ramirez: Caballero on Horseback, Carl Hammer Gallery

Deborah Barrett: Stitched Portrait, The Ames Gallery

In conjunction with the exhibit, SOFA continues its tradition of informative lectures and artists’ demonstrations. There are also a number of special public events that sound quite inviting! On Tuesday, August 2, 2011, at an all-day affair from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, Dr. Bruce Bernstein, the Executive Director of SWAIA (the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, host organization of the annual Santa Fe Indian Market) will be leading a tour of the gorgeous Acoma Pueblo, 1 and 1/2 hours southwest of Santa Fe. While the $300 per person cost of the day trip may seem a bit pricey, combining the beauty and rich cultural history of Acoma with a erudite guide like Dr. Bernstein makes this a truly one-of-a-kind experience. For more information or to register, contact Recursos/Royal Road Tours at 505.577.9659.

Acoma, the Sky City

On Friday morning, August 5, 2011, a there will be a private  backstage tour of one of Santa Fe’s cultural mainstays, the Santa Fe Opera. You’ll visit the busy costume shop and props shop, and peer into the inner workings of the talented Opera staff first-hand. The tour begins with a 9:15 am coffee klatsch at SOFA West: Santa Fe, in the lobby of the Convention Center, and transportation to the Opera grounds is provided. This private event is limited to just 40 people, and tickets are $25 per person, obtained by contacting Julie Oimoen at

The Crosby Theatre, Santa Fe Opera: Photo Robert Reck

Also on Friday, August 5 at 2pm, gallery clients who have been fortunate enough to receive VIP cards can drop in to the VIP Lounge, where SOFA West welcomes Victoria Price, designer and art historian, for a lively talk about the adventures of collecting art. The daughter of actor Vincent Price and long-term resident of Santa Fe, Ms. Price’s past includes a stint appraising and selling art from various estates and collections, so she has a wealth of entertaining information to share.

SO, now that you know…get off your sofa or out of your hotel room and head to the SOFA West Santa Fe Expo, where your mind and your eyes will be treated to some cutting-edge art that can easily hang above your sofa, adorning your home and showing your art cred, when you get back home.

Gallery photos of artists’ works courtesy of the Press Room page of SOFA West: Santa Fe