Experience the Santa Fe Summer of Art

Santa Fe is steeped in art. With over 200 galleries and a host of art museums it’s a haven for artists and collectors. This summer the museums and galleries have stepped up their game and we’ve dubbed the summer of 2017 the Santa Fe Summer of Art. The city’s museums have outdone themselves with a host of exhibitions that are part of the year-long Santa Fe Celebrate Global Art and Culture 2017. This summer The City Different is home to two international exhibitions as well as a show paying homage to Frida Kahlo and one that honors the misnamed genre of tramp art. In addition there are gallery shows and art markets to catch the interest of art aficionados of all kinds. And, if art isn’t your thing, there’s plenty more to keep you busy.

Frida Kahlo in Santa Fe

Santa Fe Summer of Art - Nickolas Muray's "Frida Kahlo with Magenta Rebozo" photo Steve Collins

Nickolas Muray’s “Frida Kahlo with Magenta Rebozo” photo/Steve Collins

We were blown away by Mirror, Mirror… Photographs of Frida Kahlo, at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. More than 50 photographs, lent by gallerist Spencer Throckmorton of Throckmorton Fine Art in NYC, trace the artist’s life from age 18 in 1925 to her death in 1954. Penelope Hunter-Stiebel, curator of the exhibit, arranged photos taken by Lola and Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Imogen Cunningham, Carl Van Vechten and Nickolas Murray among others,  in sections that reflect aspects the artist’s life and work. The result is both visually stunning and emotionally moving. The show chronicles Kahlo’s family life, her artistic career, her health issues (she had polio as a child and was severally injured in a 1925 bus accident) and her tempestuous relationship with muralist Diego Rivera. Two rooms add splashes of color to the mostly black and white exhibition. One is devoted to photos of Casa Azul, the Kahlo family home in the Coyoacán section of Mexico City, taken by Santa Fe photographer William Frej. The other is the room displaying the often whimsical pieces created by Spanish Market artists especially for this show in homage to Kahlo. The exhibition runs through Sunday, October 29th.

Prado Museum Show

Santa Fe Summer of Art - The Prado in Santa Fe in Cathedral Park, photo Steve Collins

The Prado in Santa Fe in Cathedral Park, photo/Steve Collins

We always love taking a leisurely stroll through Cathedral Park. It’s usually a quiet oasis in the middle of Santa Fe’s bustling downtown. This summer the park has come alive. The Prado, Madrid’s esteemed museum with its superb collection of art, has arrived in town, sort of. They’ve sent 92 full-scale mounted reproductions of masterpieces in their collection including work of Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French, and German painters from the 14th to 19th centuries. Paintings on view include Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation, Titian’s Philip II, Hieronymous Bosch’s masterwork The Garden of Earthly Delights and Francisco de Goya’s The 3rd of May 1808 in Madrid. It’s not quite like seeing these great works in person, but it’s fun. A pre-sunset stroll through the park is the perfect time to view these in the heat of summer. The light will still be good and the day will have cooled down. The Prado in Santa Fe runs through October.

British Museum drawings on view

Santa Fe summer of art - Exhibit curator Isabel Seligman of the Britins Museum with Giovanni Barrista Piranesi's "Interior of a Circular Building" photo Steve Collins

Exhibiion curator Isabel Seligman of the Britins Museum with Giovanni Barrista Piranesi’s “Interior of a Circular Building.” photo/Steve Collins

Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to Now: from the British Museum, currently at the New Mexico Museum of Art examines, according to the museum’s website, “the many ways artists have used drawing as a means of recording and provoking thought from the fifteenth century to today.” Santa Fe is one of only two United States cities to display the exhibition. In the past, whn I gave any thought to how a painting was created, I would picture an artist, brush in hand standing in front of a canvas contemplating what to do next. It never occurred to me how much planning goes into a work of art. After seeing this exhibit that has preliminary sketches for Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin and Christ Child with a Cat, and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as well as studies from Albrecht Dürer, Paul Cézanne and Henry Moore I realize that a lot of planning and preliminary drawing go into the finished work. There’s also work from British artist Bridget Riley whose Bridget Riley Art Foundation was the catalyst for this exhibition. It’s fascinating to walk through the exhibition, arranged into themes by the show’s curator Isabel Seligman, and see preliminary drawings for some of the most famous art in the world. Sadly, these drawings were kept in storage at the British Museum and will return there once the exhibition returns to London. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to view these sketches. The show runs through September 17th.

Tramp Art

Santa Fe summer of art - A spectacular piece of contemporary tramp art by Freeland Tanner, photo Steve Collins

A spectacular piece of contemporary tramp art by Freeland Tanner, photo Steve Collins

No Idle Hands: The Myths & Meanings of Tramp Art at the Museum of International Folk Art explores the misnamed genre of tramp art. Frances Lichten, the woman who came up with the name thought the pieces had been created by itinerants and hobos. It turns out she was wrong. Tramp art, which thrived between the 1870s and 1940s, was created mostly by immigrants using discarded materials, often cigar boxes and shipping crates. They notch-carved the wood along the edges and then layered to create usable objects and artworks. While this art form thrived around the world, it really took off in the United States. Although most of the more than 150 pieces in the show are from the US, there are also works from France, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Tramp art mostly died out in the 1940s but there are still a few practitioners. Don’t miss the spectacular contemporary examples of the genre by Napa artist, Freeland Tanner. The show runs through September 16, 2019.

The Counterculture in New Mexico

Santa Fe Summer of Art - Vintage VW bus from "Voices of Counter Culture," photo Steve Collins

Vintage VW bus (we had the identical one) from “Voices of Counter Culture,” photo/Steve Collins

Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest at the New Mexico History Museum chronicles the political climate of the times during the late 1960s into the 1970s in general with a focus on alternative life-styles in New Mexico in particular. Young people from around the country, often called “hippies,” arrived in Northern New Mexico to set up or join existing intentional communities. These communes, where they could live off the land together, or so they hoped, included New Buffalo, the Lama Foundation in Taos, the Hog Farm in Llano near Truchas on the High Road to Taos, Placitas, south of Santa Fe and the religion-based Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Ashram in Española north of Santa Fe. The exhibition uses archival footage, oral histories, photos, ephemera and artifacts such as clothing, a VW bus and a wood cook stove to examine this cultural revolution. For me, it was a visit to the past. It covered the Vietnam War protests with a photo of two that I took part in: one in NYC and one in Washington, DC as well as the infamous Woodstock where I planned to be until they closed the roads. This is a must-see for the boomer generation and the generations ahead of us. For us it’s a piece of our past. Later generations can enjoy this but for them it’s only a piece of history. The exhibition runs until February 11, 2019.

These museum exhibitions are the highlights of the Santa Fe summer of art, but they’re only the beginning. Three annual summer art markets (Folk Art Market, Spanish Market and Indian Market) bring visitors and art collectors from around the country and the world. In addition there are gallery shows, weekly art markets and other not-to-miss cultural events,such as the Santa Fe Opera and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. The Santa Fe summer of art is the perfect time to plan a visit. Will you heed the call?

More hot reasons to visit Santa Fe this summer.



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6 Responses to “Experience the Santa Fe Summer of Art”

  1. Ryan Biddulph
    June 19, 2019 at 7:42 am #

    Hi Billie,

    That 200 galleries number makes me think of NYC, where I am now on a Manhattan house sit. I am learning more about Sante Fe and the general region through your blog and yes, through my obsession with Better Call Saul as well as my former binge viewing of breaking bad. Also reading a cool novel now -Tyrannosaur Canyon - which covers the general region. In country-region, BIG square mile areas, of course 😉

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Billie Frank
      June 19, 2019 at 10:52 am #

      How great to have a Manhattan house-sit. Hope it’s in an interesting neighborhood. Santa Fe and Manhattan are polar opposites but there is a lot of art here. Love Better Call Saul but they did a better job of introducing Albuquerque than they did Santa Fe. You really need to come and visit.

  2. Lois Alter Mark
    June 19, 2019 at 9:55 am #

    Well, this might finally be the summer I get to New Mexico then! Art is always a big part of travel, for me, and these exhibits sound fantastic. I’d especially love to see Frida!
    Lois Alter Mark recently posted..pink shell beach resort & marina is a dream wedding setting!My Profile

    • Billie Frank
      June 19, 2019 at 10:55 am #

      There’s always great art here! This summer is especially amazing. The Frida exhibition is small but fab. You’d also enjoy the Counterculture show and Meow Wolf the city’s much-talked about immersive art experience.

  3. Cathy Sweeney
    June 22, 2019 at 7:00 pm #

    I knew Santa Fe was a big art town, but didn’t actually expect there to be over 200 galleries — impressive! I’d love each of these exhibitions. The Prado one is very interesting. I usually feel less than excited about reproductions, but I’m sure there are amazing if the Prado is providing them.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Sweeney Asks the Locals: Jane BlackerMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      June 23, 2019 at 1:30 pm #

      The reproductions are done through some kind of digital reproduction technique (I think). They were a little flat for my taste- Steve liked them more than I did. But it’s great fun to go to a park and see these famous works.

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