It’s not news to most Santa Feans that there is a disproportionate amount of artistic output in this town in relation to the opportunities that exist to exhibit and potentially sell that output (and therefore potentially subsist as an artist). The commercial market in Santa Fe is undeniably one that caters to consumers of the regional Southwest aesthetic and repetitive, tourist-bait abstract painting to the exclusion of a lot of other tastes. As long as this commercial reality persists, artwork that challenges and questions remains overlooked, exhibited in so-called alternative spaces, temporary pop-ups, and other corners and shadows that never see the light of a patron’s pocketbook—with the occasional breakthrough to greater visibility. The current dynamic results in the much-begrudged and detrimental truth that the art world at large shrugs its shoulders at Santa Fe, victim of the perception of Santa Fe as an art destination only for tchotchkes and couch-matching canvases, a perception that glosses over the vibrant and thoughtful art on the ground.
David Richard Gallery, long an estimable resource for Postwar genres, including Op Art, Pop, Minimalism, Color Field painting, and other contemporary nonrepresentational work, has taken the initiative in beginning to bring New Mexico’s homegrown, truly contemporary work into focus on a larger scale by dedicating eight weeks of programming to The Santa Fe Art Project. The Project includes three rounds of paired exhibitions featuring some of Santa Fe’s best and brightest, fitting as many mid-career and emerging artists into the quickly rotating shows as seems possible (forty-five at press time).
Each of the three rotations includes an installation curated by gallerists David Eichholtz and Richard Barger alongside a guest-curated exhibition. Basins (September 9-24) was curated by John McKissick of alternate art space Radical Abacus. Currently on view is the five-woman show Women’s Work (September 30-October 15) curated by Santa Fe Collective operatives Jennifer Joseph and Chris Collins. Rounding out the trifecta will be Outer Local (October 21-November 6), curated by SCUBA collective artists Crockett Bodelson and Sandra Wang. The Project is accompanied by multipleartist talks and panel discussions—you can find dates and times in the calendar on page 31 and at thesantafeartproject.com. While it's an ambitious disruption of the norm, one can only hope that this kind of project graduates from temporary programming to a continuous fixture in Santa Fe’s commercial galleries.
Katherine Lee, Backdrop Study: Splinter, 2016, gouache, black screen print, oil paint on illustration board, 20 x 30 in.
Chris Collins, Sheet 8 and 9, 2016, found object, copper leaf, 32 x 20 x 18 in and 27 x 24 x 12 in.
Lucrecia Troncoso, Not Cut Out For This, 2015, paper towel, glitter, acrylic, 41 x 30 in.