Friday, December 05, 2008
SWAIA Executive Director Bruce Bernstein Announces Intention to Continue to Create New and Expanded Opportunities for Contemporary and New Media Artis
SWAIA Executive Director Bruce Bernstein Announces Intention to Continue to Create New and Expanded Opportunities – Possibly Whole New Shows – for Contemporary and New Media Artists
What began as a rumor – that SWAIA might be looking into the possibility of creating a whole new show for contemporary and New Media artists – was confirmed Wednesday night via telephone interview with SWAIA executive director Bruce Bernstein.
Bernstein said he is interested in all ideas that would expand the horizons for what people consider to be viable Indian art. He said he’s sees the horizon in Santa Fe as potentially limitless in the kinds of art that can be brought to Indian Market.
“Why wouldn’t SWAIA at least want to have the discussion of having new venues for artists who work in mediums that don’t fit in a booth?” he said. “We’re interested in looking at the viability of showing performance, installation, and digital art to the people who normally convene each year for Indian Market.”
But he didn’t rule out the possibility that a contemporary or New Media show might have its own venue at a time other than the standard Indian Market festival which convenes each August in downtown Santa Fe.
““First thing I want everyone to know is that the presence of Santa Fe Indian Market on the Plaza in Santa Fe is immutable,” said Bernstein. “That having been said, I also want it known that as the director of SWAIA, I’m wholeheartedly invested in making sure that we continue to represent the artists that we are known to represent,” he said. “But what we’re also interested in is in making sure that all the art forms that Indian people engage in are shown. This may require a separate show for Indian arts that don’t fall in line with what we’re calling ‘the portable arts’ – i.e. work that can only fit in a booth.”
Bernstein said he was bothered by terms like ‘authentic’, ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ and said that he was trying to steer clear of such terms because in the long run, they just don’t mean much when it comes to describing Native art forms.
“We know from the historical record that what was once ‘contemporary’ becomes ‘traditional’ later on,” he said. “There’s a sorry perception that all that Market does is churn out traditional work, but the fact of the matter is that what’s traditional and contemporary is always evolving as Market evolves. Indian Market is a living entity, one that balances contemporary and traditional and one that is now actively seeking to include all the art forms that Native artists are working in, regardless of portability.”
The announcement brought enthusiasm from two stalwarts of Native American contemporary art, 2008 poster artist & Cochiti painter Mateo Romero and award-winning Cherokee painter America Meredith.
“It’s important to recognize that what we’re talking about here isn’t so much a ghetto-ization of contemporary and New Media artists,” said Romero. “This is about taking artists to other venues outside the country and around the world.”
“I’m impressed by SWAIA’s vision insofar as looking to create new possibilities for Native arts,” said Meredith. “It seems that there a techtonic shift in Indian art these days and I’m impressed with their ambition in trying to address these changes through new shows and new approaches to showing art.”
The announcement comes on the eve of the Grand Opening of another SWAIA venture – that of the partnering with the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino on the opening of a SWAIA retail store inside the casino, where the wares of SWAIA artists will be available for purchase year-round. Scheduled to run from 5-8 in front of the store on the second floor of BTR & C, the Grand Opening will feature a fashion show of coats made by Native artists, as well as a show of Christmas ornaments made by artists and their children.
ps: the above illustration is a new charcoal drawing by artist Monty Singer. If any artist is interested in showing their work on these pages, please feel free to send me images at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by by gregoryp(tm) aka Gregory Pleshaw at 10:33 AM