NM Artist Profiles – Gustave Baumann

NM Artist Profiles – Gustave Baumann

There’s no shortage of natural beauty to explore here in Santa Fe and in the neighboring Pecos Wilderness. But our region has much more to offer than just natural beauty, and we highly recommend exploring Santa Fe’s art museums while you are here, particularly the work of artists who lived and worked here. One such artist, Gustave Baumann, lived in Santa Fe for more than 50 years and became widely known and appreciated for his work in color woodblock prints.

Baumann was born in Germany, and his family emigrated to the U.S. in 1891 when he was ten years old. He studied engraving at the Art Institute of Chicago and eventually moved to New Mexico. He originally came for the art community in Taos, but he found it too crowded and social. On his way out of Taos, his train stopped in Santa Fe where the curator of the newly created New Mexico Museum of Art persuaded him to stay.

During his time in Santa Fe, Baumann became a well-known artist. He created oil paintings, sculptures and hand-crafted wood marionettes. He continued his early work with engraving and print making, and that was always what he was most known for. Baumann is considered one of the key leaders of the American color woodcut revival, an art technique that involves carving an image into the surface of a block of wood and then using it to make a print.

Baumann’s prints depict many of his favorite places in New Mexico. His work features desert landscapes and the regional traditions that inspired him, including scenes of Pueblo life, Native American Indian petroglyphs and lush private gardens. Many of Baumann’s works are on display in the permanent collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art, located just off the plaza in Santa Fe.

There are many ways to explore Santa Fe’s history and arts community. The excellent New Mexico Museum of Art and many other notable museums and galleries are a short walk from the Inn on the Alameda.

To learn more about all that Santa Fe has to offer, or for help planning your trip to Santa Fe, visit our website.

To learn more about all that Santa Fe has to offer, or for help planning your trip to Santa Fe

New Mexico History – Palace of the Governors

New Mexico History – Palace of the Governors

No trip to Santa Fe would be complete without a visit to the city’s famed historic Plaza, and we highly recommend making the historic Palace of the Governors part of your visit. The Spanish government built the Palace of the Governors in 1610 as the main government building for the territory, which included most of the Southwestern United States at that time. This coincided with the founding of Santa Fe, which makes it the oldest capital city in the country.

The Palace of the Governors has been used by various governments for hundreds of years, and is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the country. Today, the building is a National Historic Landmark and a designated national treasure. It houses the New Mexico History Museum and sits at the hub of modern Santa Fe life.

On any given day, visitors may find cultural events, live music and art shows in the Santa Fe Plaza. One of the plaza’s greatest attractions is the Native American artisans who sell jewelry in the colonnade out in front of the Palace of the Governors daily. 

This is widely considered one of the best places to purchase Native American jewelry because you can find a genuine piece at a fair price.

Once inside the Palace of the Governors, you’ll find objects and artifacts of New Mexico and Santa Fe’s history. As you explore the museum’s collection, you will see ancient arrowheads, the armor of colonial soldiers and family artifacts from the earliest Spanish settlers. The museum offers free self-guided and docent-led tours as well as seasonal walking tours of the area for $10.

If you’re exploring the area on your own, you’ll find many boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and even more history to explore. Santa Fe’s Plaza and the Palace of the Governors are a short walk from the Inn on the Alameda, and the Palace itself is a great way to spend part of a day in Santa Fe.

We hope this has piqued your interest in Santa Fe’s colorful history.

To learn more about all that Santa Fe has to offer, or for help planning your trip to Santa Fe

Oh, Georgia!

Oh, Georgia!

 

Miles and miles of blue sky, towering mesas, native plants, and the rocky desert landscape instantly inspired American painter Georgia O’Keefe when she first visited Abiquiu in the late 1920s. She came back time and again, and eventually moved to the area in 1949, where she lived until her death in 1986.

Abiquiu’s stark landscape, indigenous art, and unique adobe architecture prompted O’Keeffe to take her artwork in a new direction. She shifted from New York City cityscapes to the flowers, bones, natural landscapes, and colorful shapes of northern New Mexico. She referred to this imagery as “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.”

The beautiful, unique landscapes that inspired O’Keeffe’s world-renowned pieces of art can only be found in New Mexico, and you can come see the inspiration in person. The majestic, red-rock formations and rich history of the area will inspire you to take out your easel and paint your own masterpiece.

About an hour drive from Santa Fe, the Abiquiu village bridges the past and the present. Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic home and studio in the village is open seasonally from March to November for public tours with advance reservations. O’Keeffe purchased the home in 1945, and visitors can see how she lived and worked, and how her lifestyle inspired her art.

And, while you’re in Santa Fe, don’t forget to stop by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, featuring a vast permanent collection of her work and changing exhibitions of her work and work by her contemporaries.

But Georgia isn’t the only artist to call Abiquiu home. The Abiquiu Art Project features other artists who are living and working in the Abiquiu area. Teresa Toole has created this project to offer private or small group tours year-round to visit the private studios of 4 of Abiquiu’s most internationally known artists, offering you a feel for both this special area of New Mexico and also the art and artists that choose to call this area home.

Inspired to find your own inner artist? You can schedule an art lesson during your stay here at the Inn! We are a proud sponsor of local artist Lisa Flynn’s Inner Artist Workshop. Ask us about this local workshop.

Take a Detour into Meow Wolf’s Multiverse

All photos by Kate Russell, courtesy of Meow Wolf

Grandparents go there with their kids and grandkids. Tour buses full of Australians and New Zealanders, Japanese and Chinese (basically, people from all over the world and many of them shuttled in via the Road Scholar travel company) arrive almost daily. Locals return again and again. And hipsters, artists, techheads, nerds and outsiders of all stripes practically live (and work) there.

The “there” in this case being Meow Wolf, Santa Fe’s artistic version of the otherwise pure-science-focused Exploratorium of San Francisco. Only here what you get instead of an experiential science learning lab is an immersive science fiction art installation that encourages if not demands to be touched—and run through and around and tugged on, sat on and interacted with in almost every physical way possible.

Built in an old bowling alley, with help from Game of Thrones creator (and Santa Fe resident) George R.R. Martin, Meow Wolf is actually the name of the arts collective that oversees what is their performative coup de grace: their 20,000-square-foot House of Eternal Return, which they debuted as a fictionalized no-matter-where-you-go-there-you-are spaceship back in 2008, but which they updated and relaunched in their current permanent space last spring as a kind of time-travel-y home to the Seligs, an imaginary Swiss Robinson-like family of space explorers. (A family who up and disappeared, and whose mysterious disappearance, mid-supper, so it seems, is part of the allure of this interactive space, and the “job” of all visitors to reconstruct just who it is the Seligs seemed to be and why they suddenly went AWOL.)

So. Now that the House has been up and running for over a year, the Meow Wolf collective, a collaborative of over 100 artists, technicians and performers (all of whom contributed to the House’s creation and construction) have embarked on an equally ambitious summer venture, one in keeping with the Outer Limits vibe of the entire space.

Billed as their “Summer in the Multiverse,” this summerlong vacation destination celebration will feature over 100 different performing artists: musicians, magicians, acrobats, fencers, lighthouse keepers, belly dancers, snake dancers, firewalkers, stiltwalkers, drag queens, and whoever else might fall down from the sky. All there at the Meow Wolf space, in an area now rightfully self-designated as Santa Fe’s Innovation District, from 10:30 in the morning till closing time.

“We’ll have everything from an intergalactic space-bug hunter leading kids on scavenger hunts to Spanish story hour to somebody playing the tuba in the caves for a couple hours,” says Alexandra Renzo, the Multiverse’s artistic director (who also starred in the Adobe Rose Theatre’s recent production of Time Stands Still, with Broadway Drama Desk nominee Kevin Kilner).

“You might bump into a cosmic fortune teller or a Sno-Cone reader (instead of a tea leaf reader),” says Renzo, who has lured back many of the performers from last Fall’s House of Halloween extravaganza as well other entertainers from Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Colorado. Plus, Meow Wolf has partnered up with Santa Fe’s animal-free circus troupe, Wise Fool, who’ll be around 24-7.

“This is for the child in all of us,” adds Renzo. “We’re all about bringing in creative ideas and activities that are offbeat and sci-fi-ish. And we like to combine all these skill sets people have and embrace them.”

As Joseph Campbell put it in The Hero with a Thousand Faces: “Mythology [which is at the heart of what the folks at Meow Wolf are up to] is eminently untragical. Indeed, whenever the mythological mood prevails, tragedy is impossible. A quality rather of dream prevails. [And] as in dream, the images range from the sublime to the ridiculous. The mind is not permitted to rest with its normal evaluations, but is continually insulted and shocked out of the assurance that now, at last, it has understood.”

“To watch adults get excited about doing something new,” says Renzo, “that’s what it’s all about. And when the space is alive, that’s how it’s meant to be.”

Mike’s Blog: Turquoise, a Defining Element of the Southwest

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One of the most defining artistic and symbolic elements of the Southwest is turquoise, a stone that possesses a captivating quality to natives and passers-through alike. The name “Turquoise” is an iteration of “Turkey,” the country from which the first turquoise imports to Europe came. This greenish blue mineral, consisting of hydrous phosphate, copper and iron, first emerged in ancient Egypt, where it was placed in tombs around 3000 BC.

In both old and new world cultures, turquoise was/is considered a holy stone – used for protection against unnatural death and hailed as a symbol of healing for both the body and the sacred land.

In the Southwest in particular, its hue is reminiscent of rain, essential to life and rebirth in the Puebloan tradition.

 

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The story of turquoise in Santa Fe dates back over a thousand years (perhaps further), and is a complex one. The evidence of vast trade networks, connecting thousands of miles of land through multiple states and diverse cultural groups, has been recently uncovered by new archaeological techniques. Sharon Hull, a noted archaeologist, has spearheaded this endeavor by identifying clear evidence of pre-Columbian trade, stretching all the way from Nevada to the Cerrillos hills of Santa Fe.

While turquoise can be acquired today much easier than our ancestors’ methods, purchasing a piece of turquoise in Santa Fe ties you to the deep tradition of the bartering system of times passed. Most new turquoise jewelry sold today comes from mines in Nevada or Arizona, but the modern manufacturing tradition derives largely from the work of Fred Harvey and his collaboration with native New Mexican artisans. One of the fathers of modern tourism, Harvey pioneered many aspects of modern-day tourism. His handshake deal with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad to build inns, restaurants, and shops with organized tours of native performers, along the various railway stops helped shape our conception of current cultural tourism. This led to what’s been called ‘the first chain restaurants,’ as well as helped define and create the modern demand for southwestern styled silver and turquoise jewelry. Examples of this antique jewelry can be found in galleries throughout town.

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Buying turquoise jewelry can be rewarding and intimidating all at once. Buying jewelry directly from native artisans at the Palace of the Governors located on the Santa Fe Plaza is one option. You can meet the artisans first hand and discuss the quality and history of the jewelry directly with the Native Americans who crafted it, placing yourself in an historical continuum of hundreds of years. The difference in cost between two roughly similar shaped and sized pieces can be thousands of dollars depending on whether the stone is natural or reconstituted and stabilized. Other options are to visit many well known and established shops in town that can take out most of the guesswork, and if you wish to read up on determining the quality of turquoise yourself, read through this guide that the Santa Fe Reporter wrote.

 

In addition to the native artisans present at the plaza, there are several Canyon Road galleries, located close to the Inn on the Alameda, that sell wearable turquoise art. For authentic Fred Harvey wares, Canyon Road offers the buyer many opportunities, including The Adobe Gallery and the Medicine Man gallery. Sessels on San Francisco St. and Keshi on Paseo de Peralta are additional shopping venues located close to the hotel.

The Inn on the Alameda strives to be the perfect ‘base camp’ for any shopping expedition and we would be happy to point you in the right direction based on your shopping desires.

March is Santa Fe DIY!

We know that many of you out there are celebrating the imminent arrival of warm weather with a spring break getaway. Thinking ahead of ways to make a Santa Fe vacation into a unique experience, the City Different has partnered with Santa Fe Creative Tourism to offer a whole month of artistic adventures.

Interested in photography? See the best of northern New Mexico with Craig Varjabedian, who will share secrets on how best to capture the Land and Light of Santa Fe.

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If textiles are your thing, start with the basics and learn to spin with the help of Santa Fe Buffalo Designs.

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Fused glass? We love it, and you will too, in a March 16 glass class with Erik Whittemore of Bullseye Glass. No experience is necessary, and beginners are welcome!

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Heidi Loewen Porcelain Gallery will send you home much more educated about the art of ceramics, and all you need to bring is a sense of adventure and a smile.

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There is tin-smithing with Sharon Candelario available daily, pysanky or what we locally call Southwestern egg-decorating with Elizabeth Mesh, Venetian plaster with Sandra Duran Wilson, and the list goes on and on and on.

Sound like fun? Then it’s about time you turned your hand and eye to making art in Santa Fe!

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