Best of 2012: Santa Fe
Just in case the Mayan Calendar holds true, A2 recognizes the cream of Santa Fe for making 2012 so splendidly arty.
The New Mexico Museum of Arts began their Alcove Shows in March of 2012 and will complete them in April of 2013. Their five recessed bays (6.5’ deep and 14’ wide to 11′ deep by almost 19’ wide) have enlivened Santa Fe’s art life with their intimate settings and fresh work. Curator Merry Scully handpicked 45 emerging and established artists from New Mexico to show in a series of nine exhibitions. These alcoves provide a taster menu of artists’ work, generally new and previously unexhibited, where viewers may mingle at artists’ talks or brunches while consuming art in manageable bites. An Alcove Show happens every five weeks and are intended as a less formal opportunity to engage in dialogue with the artists and the community. Highlights include Miguel Gandert, Lawrence Fodor, Scuba’s The World is Flat, Harmony Hammond, and a showcase of SFUAD faculty.
Facing the 100th anniversary of New Mexico’s statehood as well as the museum’s, the Alcove Shows reimagine what started in 1917 as the founding of the museum’s Art Gallery. In the 1950’s, 1980’s and 1990’s, the museum hosted small one-person exhibitions in these same gallery alcoves. Scully has not shied away from surprising “the general public with conceptual projects like Louis Schalk’s, Museum of Reaccession and Toadhouse’s Pond with Lotus made of plungers.” With only two exhibitions left, Scully’s grand feat of curating 45 of our state’s finest artists within one year will come to a close and New Mexico’s art fans will once again wait for history to repeat.
SCUBA may be the best thing to happen to Santa Fe since Trader Joe’s. In 2012, Santa Fe art definitely got a facelift and partly due to these undercover transplants, Sandra Wang and Crockett Bodelson. Although Bodelson grew up here, the couple relocated to sunny Santa Fe from San Francisco in May 2011 and in September of that year THE magazine gave them a “Persons of Interest” feature. Indeed, their involvement in the community warrants interest. Just after Meow Wolf’s Due Return peaked, SCUBA arrived as the new kids in town with an exotic big city approach that made Santa Fe feel hip, cool and reinvigorated.
SCUBA started Caldera, a gallery on Baca Street that has since closed. Hide & Seek was their first curated show in 2012 and sought to overthrow the traditional gallery exhibition with a citywide treasure hunt for art made by over 30 artists. P.S. I Love You made Santa Fe remember mail art and performance art and SCUBA’s recent inclusion in Alcove 12.5 formally embraced them among New Mexico artists. Caldera may be closed but Bodelson informs A2 that their next big show will be at CCA in December 2013. With no plans to move, it seems that Scuba is still on the up but not on the out. Thank you, SCUBA and P.S. I love you.
Arrhythmic Visions – Jamie Hamilton
Last Spring, Jamie Hamilton reinvented the flying machine in the CCA’s Muñoz Waxman Gallery and the artist informs A2 that come spring, he himself will become a man on wire. First a recap of Arrhythmic Visions, opened alongside Alison Keogh, that now stands as a definitive precursor to Hamilton’s future “rope dancing” endeavors. Arrhythmic Visions was tied in suspense as Hamilton’s steampunk aesthetic and monochromatic palette twirled around the gallery in steel and polycarbonate. White spandex got pulled taut like sails ready to catch wind.
When asked about upcoming projects, Hamilton replied with fervency. Planned to take place in a “majestic gorge near Santa Fe,” Hamilton describes:
I balance upon a wire strung high above the ground in a quest for movements so still, so subtle they leave hardly a trace. Dancing on the high wire immersed not in a bath of power, but in a state of vulnerability and humility, I battle nothing more than myself. How scared and small I am prisoner of the small morsel of “ground” a cable less than 1” in diameter. Vertiginous space falls away in every direction, […].
Thanatos used rock-climbing pulleys and now Hamilton is busy splicing wire and nylon rope for something Leonardo never dared.
The artistic selections for SITE Santa Fe’s group show, More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness, clearly tugs the heartstrings of truth but it’s the show’s concept that is truly memorable. Opened on July 8, 2012 and running through January 6, 2013, More Real? unabashedly derives its whole raison d’être from The Colbert Report. The New York Times mentions that at the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society (A.D.S.) right here in Albuquerque, just a few months after its debut on “The Colbert Report,” “truthiness” was selected as the 2005 Word of the Year. Truthiness even made the archives, appearing in the 2006 Merriam-Webster’s with a tribute to Stephen Colbert.
As in television, politics, entertainment and the likes, things at SITE Santa Fe aren’t always what they seem, but truthiness plays the devil’s advocate and without prying too deep into these works, the viewer may never know the truth. A pair of old boxing gloves by Dario Robleto is actually made from melted vinyl records, crushed bones and more. Eve Sussman’s 89 Seconds at Alcazar reenacts the “truth” behind one of the most enigmatic paintings in art history, Las Meninas. The New York Times Special Edition by The Yes Men claims a bold headline: “Iraq War Ends.” Now that’s truthiness. Ultimately More Real? does what art has done forever—take the cultural temperature.