In the fall, 516 ARTS put out a call for New Mexicans to submit pieces that would serve as the face of the gallery's five-year anniversary show. Nearly 300 artists responded with an eclectic range of works. 516 Executive Director Suzanne Sbarge decided to put the judging process in the hands of renowned critic Peter Frank, after they met while Frank was in town on assignment. He operates out of L.A. as associate editor of Fabrik magazine and as a contributor to the Huffington Post. Frank may not be local, but he says he has a soft spot and deep regard for art from the Southwest. He whittled down the pool of entrants to about 80 works, with each artist represented by one piece. It's the largest group show 516 has put on to date, with talent representing more than 30 cities statewide.
"It runs the gamut from outsider art to very sophisticated landscaping," Frank tells the Alibi. "From the most highly conceptual work to the most emphatically realist work." And in a nod to the feminist tradition that Frank sees as one of New Mexico's more proud points of art history, he handpicked seven women artists who had not submitted entries. He says he also tried to include as wide a range of viewpoints as possible. "What this show exemplifies is the variety of styles and subjects that New Mexico artists practice currently," he says. "It's going to be a potpourri, stylistically."
Frank will be on hand for the opening reception of New Mexico Showcase on Saturday. Awards will be handed out and country-rock band The Joneses will provide tunes.