Year in Review: Arts & Lit
Year of the Rainbow
Art faves for 2010
By David Leigh
Albuquerque didn’t have a months-long Marina Abramovic show to torture us into art world obeisance (the “Grandmother of Performance Art” sat immobile for more than 700 hours in the Museum of Modern Art). But 2010 was a year of exhibitions, performances and people that have come to define the alternative position our city is carving out in the larger art world.
In no particular order:
Nonsence, J. Lynn Johnson at Revlis—Johnson’s retrospective this summer proved that she is a powerhouse when it comes to cranking out weirdly real figures that make you feel a little creepy and also a little happy. The show was made up of what seemed like thousands of drawings and paintings that filled every inch of Revlis’ sprawling exhibition space.
The rainbow drip on the side of the Anasazi building—in August, former Alibi Arts Editor Patricia Sauthoff interviewed the culprit/hero/vandal/artist who had the balls to plant the ROYGBIV tag on the upper east edge of the derelict Anasazi building. The tag really did something, brightening up every westbound walk on Central, ultimately becoming a lightning rod for conversation about public and private space, street art and vandalism, and whether something as dumbly beautiful as a rainbow has the power to make us rethink what graffiti is or could be.
Tamarind Institute’s 50th anniversary—The workshop and gallery celebrated five decades of lithography with a symposium and exhibition (Fabulous at 50). The symposium featured talks by founder June Wayne, conversations with artists Ed Ruscha and Jim Dine, and a panel discussion with various master printers who have used the Tamarind model to set up collaborative print shops around the world. It seemed overdue for Tamarind to shine a light on its long and famous history of bringing artists and master printers together. It was also a chance to show off its impressive new digs (including a dedicated gallery space) across the street from the University of New Mexico at 2500 Central SE.
2010 was a year of exhibitions, performances and people that have come to define the alternative position our city is carving out in the larger art world.
516 ARTS—Fresh off the heels of last year’s exhibition juggernaut LAND/ART, 516 ARTS consistently hit the mark in its broadly staged programming in 2010. Whether in Artificial Selection or in the Street Text exhibition (part of the larger STREET ARTS program), 516 Arts continued to explore topical content with a well-considered and varied roster of artists. What Suzanne Sbarge, Rhiannon Mercer and Francesca Searer have done, in effect, is create compelling art seminars that use performance, discussions and film—in addition to visual art—to deepen our interest in topics such as graffiti or the intersection of science and art.
Desire For Magic, Patrick Nagatani at the UNM Art Museum—What can you say about Nagatani’s photo constructions that hasn’t already been said? From his Chromotherapy series to his still-enchanting tape pieces, it was a good move by the art museum to make this the inaugural exhibition for its newly renovated space. Nagatani’s buried model cars, masking tape and Polaroids sucked you into his 30-year investigation of authorship, identity, history, politics, process and presentation. On a side note: The Raymond Jonson paintings downstairs were killer, too.
Dave Hickey—Though I’m not quite sure how to measure it yet, it’s a big deal that Dave Hickey is in Albuquerque. The critic-hero that brought us The Invisible Dragon and Air Guitar migrated from UNLV to the art department of UNM this fall.
Frederico Vigil at National Hispanic Cultural Center—The artist’s decade-in-the-making fresco, which opened in the Torreón (that tall, almost cylindrical building on the north side of NHCC) in early October, depicts about 3,000 years of Hispanic history. Enough said. After the end of the year, viewing hours should expand from its Sunday morning schedule. (I have to admit that I’ll be seeing the fresco for the first time this week.)
ShowOff 4.0: Curious Concoctions at Sister
A grown-up science fair and talent show featuring performances and science fair booth activities.
The King and I at Albuquerque Little Theatre
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