August 6, 2004

Santa Fe

I think, right now, that Santa Fe might be the best place in the world for a Sunday painter to see a lot of interesting new art. The city is absolutely packed with wonderful galleries that range from tiny labors of love to massive enterprises. The variety is immense, and there's not an overwhelming layer of schlock. (Yes, there's plenty of cowboy art, but it's much better art than the Lighthouse Porn that dominates the Maine coast)

Santa Fe has a long tradition of modernism, and also a long tradition of representational art, going back to Mabel Dodge Luhann and the Taos School and to a postwar suspicion of pretentious intellectualism Back East. That works nicely for me, anyway, because I overdose quickly on Minimalism and can only take so much Conceptual Art at a time.

Here in Santa Fe, you can walk from an exquisite collection of Two Grey Hills rugs to a striking show of Bateman's wildlife art, from a gallery filled with Brassai and Ansel Adams to some Picasso and on to some nifty new bronze sculpture, not all of which is sentimental. Lots of very fine work in pastel, a few memorable watercolors, and lots of great figures and portraits.