Navajo Artist and "Women Warrior" Jolene Nenibah YazzieSanta Fe, New Mexico lives somewhere between the second and fourth largest art market in the world - it's also more or less the indisputable capital of Native American art in the US. Artists from many tribes (and races, for that matter) flock here to Make Stuff - but is there an Native Underground here? And if there is, what does it do and what unique challenges does it face?
Tonight, five young Native artists - bead worker Kenneth Williams, weaver Melissa Cody, jeweler Wayne Nez Gaussion, glass artist Ira Lujan, painter Hoka Skenadore and skateboard artist Jolene Nenibah Yazzie, along with moderator/Santa Clara potter Jason Garcia (aka "the man in black") will form a panel at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture on Museum Hill in Santa Fe to dicuss these pressing issues.
The panel discussion, which is open to the public and sponsored in part by the "Avant Garde" young people in art appreciation group, will begin at 7pm. Admission is free for students and Avant Garde members - $5 for everyone else. Following the panel will be food, drink, and a special performance by Santa Fe's favorite Portishead-esque band The Chocolate Helicopters. (Definitely worth $5, ya cheapskate.)
On Saturday night, DO NOT MISS the opening reception for America Meredith's new show at the Wheelright Museum (and hey, while you're at it, check out my piece on her in the new issue of the The New Mex's WinterLife supplement.) Recently tied to first place in a San Francisco Weekly critic's poll for the Bay Area's best artist, Meredith is a deliriously talented painter whose thematic approaches to dealing with issues of Native inclusion just keep getting better and better with every passing show. For this latest show, Meredith offers 18 fresh new portraits of Native American folk, ranging from historical figures like Belle Hattie Balenti to the portrait above, of my Navajo pal Ray just doing his job as a bike messenger in San Francisco.
The opening is from 5-7pm on Saturday at the Wheelwright Museum on Museum Hill in Santa Fe. There will also be a catalogue signing the following day from 1-3pm.
For more on Ms. Meredith, dig me quoting my own story:
(from the NMex WinterLife supplement story)
"Belle Hattie Belenti is inspired by a photograph I found that showed that very portrait, complete with the blonde hair," she said. "She grew up on the Cheyenne reservation with mixed parentage, German-American and Cheyenne-Arapahoe. There is some confusion as to whether this particular child was named "Belle" or "Hattie" so I included both names in the title. What's interesting is that the photograph was also fairly straight-forward, showing that while it probably did not go unnoticed that this little girl was blonde and living on a reservation, she was certainly part of the culture, accepted like other children by the people around her."
Each of the paintings in this series has its own stories, that of the subject within the frame and how the artist chose that particular person and their story to incorporate into this show. Some of these are really quite rich tales, but each painting stands on its own, without subtext, as testament to a quality artist working through interesting issues using the variety of stylistic lenses available to her.
“My paintings are inspired by medieval manuscript illumination, the Arts and Crafts movement, Mississippian shell engravings, 60’s television cartoons, and the Bacone School of Art.“ She adds that common threads run through these schools of art, and that she endeavors “to incorporate these different traditions and connect them to my own life and times.”
And finally, we have the Press Clipping Coup of the Week, wherein we ask (and answer) the question of "Whose PR department worked overtime this week to Get Killer Ink for a New Mexico arts and/or tourism?"
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science scored a Killer Feature in Wired News this weekend for the opening of its new permanent exhibition "Start-Up: Albuquerque & the Personal Computer Revolution." Spearheaded by Paul Allen and funded by his Vulcan Group along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the show examines the early years of Microsoft in Albuquerque, the development of the fabled Altair 6, and lots of stuff about how our lives are just so much neater since the personal computer came to be. (A notion with which I must heartily concur.) I must admit I Have Not Yet Seen This Exhibit Yet, as it only opened this past week and only to assorted grand-poohbahs. (Okay, I probably *coulda* gone, but I hate crowds ;-) Nevertheless, Wired News makes it sound damn cool - I'll be making a visit there sometime soon and You Should Too.