SANTA FE REALLY heats up in summertime. The capital of New Mexico boasts the second-largest art market in the United States and is a meeting point for contemporary art and its Indian and Spanish cultural heritage. As Santa Fe celebrates its 400th anniversary, the wide variety of art events this summer reflects the dynamism of a city that embraces both its future and its past.
William Dillard's famous adage "location, location, location" rings true for this year's Art Santa Fe, which will return to downtown Santa Fe's convention center from July 16 8. The "green" building boasts 40,000 square feet of event space, allowing this year's show to really stretch its legs. The fair's coordinator, dealer Charlotte Jackson, says she is "especially excited" to celebrate Art Santa Fe's 10th anniversary in this new locale. "This is the first time we've had this much space- the additional space is going to make the show a really unique experience."
Part of what will make this year's experience unique is the show's new format. Attendees will be able to stroll along a 16-foot asile, or "grand concourse," as Jackson calls it, with booths, or "grand salons" arranged tangentially for easy browsing. Fair-goers will even be able to dine on site, at the show's very own pop-up restaurant, Café Arté.
Art Santa Fe has partnered with local artists to create "Conscious Acts," a series of large scale, installation pieces on display throughout the convention center. Beth Rekow's Veins will incorporate recycled plastic to simulate a web overtaking the building. Working with the state of New Mexico in efforts to develop ecotourism, Eileen Braziel has curated a multi-artist, multi-media installation piece centered around an 18-foot tipi built by Billy Valenzuela. The tipi functions as a backdrop for video artists Max Aalmy, Teri Yarbrow, Susanna Carlisle and Federico Muelas.
The show's special events strive to educate attendees about all forms of art-making and appreciation. The key-note speaker, Roberta Smith, art critic for the New York Times, will speak on the 17th, and back for its second year is the special exhibition "How Things Are Made." This series of educational demonstrations is scattered throughout the fair and will allow visitors to watch the making of art objects first-hand. Last year's participants, Landfall Press, will return to give a demonstration of etching techniques, which date back to medieval times. Bullseye Glass Co. will also be staging a kiln-forming glass program taught by Ted Sawyer.
Participants in Art Santa Fe include not only local galleries but dealers from around the world. Though the Monroe Gallery of Photography calls Santa Fe home, it is offering two color prints by Stephen Wilkes with New York subjects; Washington Square, Day into Night (2009) and the panoramic The High Line (2009). Berlin's Walter Bischoff Galerie will display Friederike Oeser's Was 1st Zu Sehen 1 (2008) in its booth, and Galerie Renate Bender of Munich will feature Network FR6 (16) (2007) by Peter Weber. All four pieces are estimated to sell between $5,000 and $10,000.
Jackson, who besides her duties at ART Santa Fe is also the owner of Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, a mainstay of Santa Fe's contemporary art scene, explains that "the show doesn't just happen here. Because of the beautiful site and strong historical commission, international exhibitors will come for the fair and make a vacation out of it. People come for the whole experience."
Also at the convention center from July 8-11 is SOFA West, the southwestern edition of New York and Chicago's premier show for contemporary decorative arts and design. Last year's inaugural show drew 10,000 visitors; this year the fair will return with 35 dealers and works by emerging and established artists. and designers worldwide.
Among the returnign dealers is Clark + Del Vecchio of Santa Fe (formerly Garth Clark Gallery of New York), showing sculpture and contemporary Native American ceramics by Christine McHorse. Among the first-timers is Joan Mirviss of New York, a specialist in contemporary Japanese ceramics, who will feature porcelain sculpture by Sakurai Yasuko. Also debuting is David Richard Contemporary, a new gallery in Santa Fe that represents glass artists including Laura de Santillana of Venice, whose Light Violet Bodhi of blown and silvered glass will be on display.