2017

Rooted In History

As I enter the Palace of the Governors, I often stop at the doorway on the left. It opens onto an austere room—the Office of the Governors—where locally made wooden chairs sit around a table, representing long gone administrations: Spanish, Mexican, Territorial. [...]

Drawing Near To The Divine

"SUPPOSE ONE COULD CATCH THEM BEFORE they become ‘works of art?’ Catch them hot & sudden as they rise in the mind.” In her diary, Virginia Woolf examined the stuff of thought, its shape and contours as well as its inherent slipperiness. While she was largely concerned with literature, her questions apply just as well to the visual arts. What does an idea look like before it is labored over, crafted, and shaped into a finished piece? [...]

Picturing the Future

Cultivating, weaving, and dyeing cotton were regular parts of Mo Aiqun’s childhood. Born in 1958 in the Zhuang village of Sanbao (Tian’e County, Guangxi), she began learning to sew and embroider when she was thirteen. Like many young women in her community, she arrived at her new husband’s home with quilts she made for her dowry. [...]

The Art Of Listening

What is a need? Lama founder Barbara Durkee (now Asha Greer), speaking about the 1967 founding of Lama Commune just north of Taos, explains that she knew there was a need for water, and hot water at that; here in New Mexico there is always a need for water. Her needs did not extend much beyond that. Experiencing a back-tothe land lifestyle on the side of a mountain was the real need she was attempting to fulfill. The pursuit of this desire was one of the many products of the rise of the 1960s and 1960s counterculture in the American Southwest. [...]

Defining Moments

In 1919, a Native art show at Santa Fe’s Museum of Art just happened to revolutionize American modernism. [...]

A Certain Point of View

I’ve noticed that we don’t witness anything firsthand any longer. Our first reaction to anything that happens in real life is to record it, post it, snap it, share it. [...]

Misunderstood, Maligned, and Divine

Some people consider tramp art one of the homeliest dust-gatherers that the human mind and hand have concocted,” Michael Cornish noted in a 1993 essay titled “Tramp Art: A Personal Appreciation.” [...]

Vietnam 1968

Vietnam, the televised war, the war that divided us, the war we did not win. Some of us unavoidably served in it, others protested it, many young men died. There is no shortage of photographs documenting the horrors of this “police action.” Military photographers and the free press took millions of photographs of the Vietnam conflict between 1962 and 1975. [...]

Trunk Show

I have watched as visitors to the Museum of International Folk Art stop in their tracks before a wall of cut-paper silhouettes, intrigued and perplexed. Perhaps they are recalling the snowflakes they made in grade school by folding and snipping paper in simple patterns. They recognize that this is something else, not only in the complexity of design, but also in the content of the imagery. [...]
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