Mainstream media often overlook the fact that Native people are a dominant force in pop culture. In the rare instance that Native Americans are spotlighted, the focus is typically confined to regalia, traditional arts and history. This is true even for New Mexico media outlets, which should, theoretically, offer a better-developed snapshot of people who live here.
A multi-artist exhibit at Eggman and Walrus in Santa Fe addresses this issue. Low-Rez: Native American Lowbrow Art culls together works of pop surrealism—pinup, comic, collage, ads—to tackle the stereotype of the noble savage and reclaim icons co-opted by the likes of Walt Disney, George Lucas and Warner Bros.: “Trickster Rabbit as Bugs Bunny, Princess Leia’s Hopi butterfly whorl hairdo, Taos Pueblo artist Pop Chalee’s blue deer paintings transformed by Walt Disney into Bambi.” Those are some of the examples cited on the Low-Rez website (ahalenia.com/lowrez).
Participants hail from New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona and Illinois—and represent many tribes. The opening of the show coincided with Indian Market in Santa Fe, which draws thousands of Natives, tourists and art collectors to New Mexico every year. (Hope those collectors were paying attention to these contemporary artists.)
Low-Rez is up through August. Viewing hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. If you haven’t yet taken in this complex, engaging and often humorous commentary on modern Native life, get over to Eggman and Walrus’ two locations near the Plaza (131 West San Francisco Street and 130 West Palace Street).
Alibi Love—Our birthday’s creeping up on us: This alternative newsweekly is turning 20. If it were a person, it’d almost be allowed to order a beer. We’re celebrating all month long. First, on Sunday, Sept. 2, a collection of our best cover art goes up at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW). Read more about that show in this week’s music section. Artists who participated in the 2012 Art Box Contest will hang artworks in Boro Gallery (317 Gold SW), which you can check out at a First Friday opening on Sept. 7 starting 5 p.m. Then, on Saturday, Sept. 22, we’ll celebrate proper with a bash at Boro that includes an unveiling of the revamped distribution boxes. ¡Alibi por vida!