Last summer’s most diverse and compelling art event in Santa Fe was the Santa Fe Art Trifecta, an extraordinary alliance between three highly original arts organizations: ART Santa Fe international contemporary art fair, the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, and SITE Santa Fe contemporary art center. In a city globally known for its depth and quality of art, the Santa Fe Art Trifecta –Ten Days in Santa Fe–stood out as the city’s most memorable collection of art events all summer.
ART Santa Fe is an internationally recognized art fair offering an exceptional overview of contemporary and modern art from the finest galleries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. As part of the 15th anniversary celebration, ART Santa Fe welcomed the PUZZLE PROJECT, a special art installation by artist Takashi Inaba, consisting of individually made puzzle piece shaped canvases given to different artists from all over the world. Radius Books' publisher and designer, David Chickey, presented “Do Books Matter,” a talk about what it takes to publish in today’s world. A highlight of the 2015 fair was a showcase of Cuban art, featuring first time fair participant Conde Contemporary, based in the Little Havana section of Miami, with works recently featured in the Wall Street Journal and Aurora Molina’s kinetic sculpture “Los Pioneros” A documentary feature film, Alumbrones, looks at the work and lives of twelve contemporary Cuban artists. Topping off the weekend was a keynote speech by Don Bacigalupi, founding president of the exciting new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago. The museum, which has a stunning futuristic architectural design, opens in 2019. Opening night Vernissage began the fair and the new VIP lounge provided a spot to relax in the center of the action.
The International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe is a colorful, cultural, outdoor gathering presented annually by the International Folk Art Alliance, bringing to Santa Fe master artists from every corner of the world to show and sell their remarkable handmade art. The 12th annual market took place on Milner Plaza atop Museum Hill, and included traditional foods and music. More than 150 artists from 57 countries were selected to attend the event, an experience that has often been likened to shopping the world in a weekend. It is the largest market of its kind where over 20,000 people come to meet the artists and buy beautiful cultural treasures with the knowledge that the money the artists bring home will do great things for their families and their communities. As Pakistani artist Surendar Valasai puts it, “For us it’s a miracle.”
SITE Santa Fe celebrated its 20th anniversary throughout 2015 with 20 Years/20 Shows, a yearlong series of exhibitions commemorating SITE’s dynamic exhibition history by reconnecting with 20 artists who previously exhibited at SITE and return to present new work. The summer portion of SITE’s 20th Anniversary series featured a collaborative project by Janine Antoni with choreographer Stephen Petronio, an installation by Amy Cutler with musician Emily Wells, an installation by Ann Hamilton, most recently on view at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, new work by Harmony Hammond in conversation with works by sculptor Francis Cape, and an installation by Dario Robleto in collaboration with sound historian Patrick Feaster and Lance Ledbetter of Dust-to-Digital Records. Also opening on July 18 was Unsuspected Possibilities: Leonardo Drew, Sarah Oppenheimer, Marie Watt. The three artists presented new, collaborative, large-scale installations that were responsive to each other.
Santa Fe is one of America’s most important art cities recognized for its vibrant galleries, well-known resident artists and inspiring light and surroundings. There may be no U.S. city more defined historically, culturally or creatively by art than Santa Fe. With more than 250 galleries, Santa Fe is ranked as the third largest art market in the country; this in a town of 82,000. Santa Fe is continually rated as one of the best small cities in America and a top travel destination with a tradition of refined hospitality, sophisticated relaxation, outstanding dining and a summer calendar bursting with choices.
ART Santa Fe 2015 wqs thrilled to offer fair-goers the chance to view the award-winning documentary film, Alumbrones, by filmmaker Bruce Donnelly and Lost Boy Productions and DKR Films. This film focuses on the life and work of a dozen contemporary Cuban artists, offering a rare view into the struggles, vibrancy, and turbulence of Cuba’s history and culture. The timing of this documentary, at the cusp of a rush of great changes due to the shifting relationship between Cuba and the United States in the past year, was particularly significant.
Bruce Donnelly, a South African born filmmaker who moved to New York in 2006 to pursue his film career, was fascinated with Cuba from a very early age. On a trip to Boston, Donnelly made a fortuitous trip into an art gallery featuring the work of Cuban artists. His interest was piqued and the idea for a documentary film about Cuba as seen through the lens of its contemporary artists began to develop. Donnelly immediately began to research and plan. About a year later he made his first trip to Cuba, meeting some of the artists he had been in contact with. A few months later Donnelly returned with a small crew and the filming of the documentary began.
Logistically, filming in Cuba presented numerous challenges to overcome, however, Donnelly and his crew found richness and complexity in the world they encountered which made any struggles well worth it. The title of the film itself reflects a distinctive attitude and humor which they encountered. Alumbrones was a term coined to mean “unexpected, short-lived bursts of light,” as opposed to apagones which is word for blackouts. Blackouts were so frequent in Cuba, particularly during the “Special Period” following the collapse of the Soviet Union, that blackouts were more the norm and alumbrones, brief periods of electricity, were the exception.
Although their art is quite diverse, there is something which seems to unify the twelve artists (Pedro Pablo Oliva, Sandra Dooley, Luis Rodriguez NOA, Eduardo Guerra, Orestes Gaulhiac, Isolina Limonta, Yamile Pardo, Edel Bordón, Darian Rodriguez Medevos, Luis Toledo del Rio, Luis Miguel Perez Ilanez, and Raimon Rodriguez Moya) interviewed in Alumbrones, who range in age from their mid 60’s to late teens and early 20’s. Through the words and images of these artists, Alumbrones illuminates the spirit of Cuba, its history, its challenges and unique perspective.
The presentation of Alumbrones was just one part of ART Santa Fe’s ongoing project to create a truly international art experience at the fair. Fair-goers were pleased to discover the work of several of the artists featured in the film at ART Santa Fe at the booth of Conde Contemporary of Miami.
DO BOOKS MATTER?
Interest in art books has never been greater, with artists, photographers and curators seeing the book as the central form of expression for their work. Collectors and the general public can’t seem to get enough. And while some parts of the publishing world are struggling, the demand for art and photo books is exploding. Radius Books' publisher and designer, David Chickey, talked about the process of what it takes to publish in today’s world and how an art publisher selects and creates books with artists.
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