It’s more than a visual documentation, more than graffiti taking on the moniker of a “legitimate” art piece (not that graffiti isn’t legitimate art in itself). It’s a community project that embraces the quirky world of artistic triumph. Put together by 516 ARTS and the Wells Park Neighborhood Association, in appropriate partnership with The City of Albuquerque Public Art & Urban Enhancement Program, these organizations added two new murals to the existing Wells Park Rail Runner Mural Project.
Jamison “Chas” Banks in action
The project started in 2012, with four murals going up (the lead artists were Larry Bob Phillips, David Leigh, Nani Chacon, Nettrice Gaskins and Laurie Marion). Now it’s adding two new murals by Frank Buffalo Hyde and Jamison “Chas” Banks. Drawing on their Native American heritages, both artists sought to show work that not only symbolizes their cultures, but also represents the interconnectedness of artistic appreciation and the shared experience of being able to view these works forever. The newly completed murals are located in the Rail Runner Corridor, north of Downtown Albuquerque, between Mountain Rd. and I-40 along First Street.
“Inland Empire: A Suspended Animation” by Jamison “Chas” Banks
Been feeling controversial lately? Maybe even censoring yourself? Do you have a need to break free of the rusty confinement that's holding you hostage in the mundane? It's understandable—but not permanent. Just ask Tera Muskrat or Nacho Jaramillo, the two artists who are showcasing their frowned-upon and censored artwork at El Chante (804 Park SW) on Saturday, July 27.
These two artists have felt the sting of galleries and town halls turning their work away because it was deemed “inappropriate.” However the point of art is to expose the inappropriate and political. For viewers, it expresses a previously unseen vision of the world.
But instead of faltering under the mighty thumb of “the man,” Jaramillo and Muskrat are exhibiting works new and old to showcase their accomplishments and push the boundaries of what is considered art and who makes that decision. These artists' work is described as “expressions of the human body, daily life, New Mexican women, comadres and rucas assisting their comadre on her journey to Chimayo or a night out at the Saints and Sinners bar to the faces of raza, Chicanos, Matachines and compadres deep in emotion where their eyes speak of life experiences.”
New Mexico Calendar Girls
Jaramillo's Los Ojos Hablan exhibition showcases multiple iterations of his contemporary eye, from the use of simplistic brush strokes to 3D panels and “androgynous characters that consume you with their eyes.” And Muskrat's New Mexico Calendar Girls exhibition takes the traditional female form of yesteryear and places them within a contemporary setting to show the authentic beauty and multi-faceted integrity that lies within the natural New Mexican woman.
The opening reception starts at 6 p.m. and ends around 8:30 p.m. So, if you're in the mood to see some artwork that'll make you think, make you question and ultimately make you proud of this beautiful, crazy state we live in, make sure you get there on time. Oh, and there's gonna be “food, music y mas.” Can't beat that. The show runs through August 11.
Artists famously drink to stimulate inspiration. However, at ArtBar, the money artists spend goes into the community and perhaps back into their own pockets as well.
ArtBar, an arm of Catalyst Club Inc., is a members-only performance space and bar created to support local art. They accomplish this by donating their annual net profits to various art-based nonprofits around New Mexico. (See previous Alibi coverage here.) It’s a unique idea that came to fruition last week when ArtBar opened its doors on July 11 to its founding members.
The venue was spacious, accentuated by high ceilings and sizeable windows that skirted much of the building. A large chandelier hung near the stage, refracting light onto excited art lovers, sponsors, organizers and artistes alike. The alluring aroma of Lobster Mac n Cheese drifted from a small kitchen operated by The Supper Truck. Large black comfy couches provided space to sip Bulleit Bourbon and people watch: skinny jeans-wearing hipsters, artsy girls in bright summer dresses, suited professionals and sandal-wearing vacation types. A well-stocked bar, despite its small beer selection, quenched the thirst of members as they danced to Carlos the Tall, a local cover band.
Though the opening night party went off without a hitch, ArtBar is still finding its footing in terms of target audience. The decor felt a little sterile, aside from a cool red light along the bar and a few paintings. It was suggested to me that the lack of original music and art on display represented a missed opportunity to get the local art community involved. Striking a balance between a youthful, beer-drinking, artistic crowd and an older and likely wealthier one will be essential to ArtBar’s survival. Hopefully, further artist involvement will become an integral part of this balance as they continue to grow.
With membership at $30 per year, ArtBar is an easy way to give back to the art community. A membership can be purchased at the door or from their website. I mean really, where else can you practice philanthropy by simply drinking a delicious beverage?
50,000 artwork bones were laid at Fourth and Central in 2011
Nearly two years ago, Alibi writer Summer Olsson told you about the One Million Bones art exhibition, an ambitious large-scale project designed to honor victims and survivors of genocide in Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma and Somalia. Both a disturbing reminder of the human cost of mass atrocities and a fundraiser to anti-genocide organizations, the project is finally coming to a head this weekend in Washington D.C., where one million bones will be laid out in the National Mall.
On August 27, 2011, a preview installation of 50,000 bones was placed at the intersection of Fourth and Central by Albuquerque volunteers. Now, after three years of planning, education and hard work, the complete exhibit will unfold June 8 through 10 in our nation's capital. Each one of the million artwork bones, handmade by students, artists and activists from around the world, "represents a call to action, a story, a voice."
The One Million Bones Albuquerque event in 2011
The project, which was born in Albuquerque, is headed by Naomi Natale. Speakers and performers, including Albuquerque's Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy, will be present, and a candlelight vigil will take place Sunday evening.
You'll need to stand in the middle of 2nd St. to see this
My good friend Pierre LaFarge rides his Mexican-Italian bicycle through the intersection of Copper and 2nd Street just about everyday, so when he says this Toynbee Tile was not there last week, I am inclined to agree. The message reads:
HOUSE OF HADES
ONE MAN VERSUS
IN SOCIETY '2011
The tag below the tile may indicate that this tile was laid down a couple years after being made (i.e. in 2011):
well its getting kind of late
cut [sic] its been fun!!!
The tile is in the northbound lane of 2nd Street just north of Copper:
I really wanted an iced coffee earlier and walked over to the Hyatt to get one. On my way there I noticed the trees were electric blue. My first thought was "won't they die?" Nope. Not unless they're "sensitive" according to this person. Turns out the blue trees are an art project Alibi staff writer Mark Lopez wrote about a couple weeks ago.
The Blue Mesa Review, UNM’s literary journal that I happen to be an editor for, has fallen on hard times. Last year, for the first time since Rudolfo Anaya founded it in 1983, the magazine had its university supplied budget entirely eliminated and is now forced to fend for itself in order to survive.
This year’s Blue Mesa Review will be published exclusively online, but even that costs money. In order to gain the funds to do so, and to continue publishing new fiction, non-fiction and poetry in the future, the organization will be holding a fundraiser tonight at Blackbird Buvette. It’s a Geeks Who Drink trivia contest, with prizes and everything, and it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.
Come on down, have a few beers, reveal to the world just how much you know about the Star Wars universe, and help keep this valuable literary institution alive.
Starts at 7 p.m. Cover is $5. All proceeds go to supporting Blue Mesa Review.
A group of political illustrators is coming to talk about process today at Small Engine Gallery at 6 p.m. Read up on the collective’s pollination of the grassroots and then head down there this evening. The talk is free. For more on the event, go to bit.ly/BeeMind. For more on the nonprofit, all-volunteer, art organization, check out beehivecollective.org.
What would happen if Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis sat down to debate? A play put on by the Fusion Theatre Company asks just that. It will be in Albuquerque tonight and tomorrow night at 8 p.m. at the South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE). Then, it moves onto The Lensic Theater in Santa Fe (211 West San Francisco). Alibi theater critic Leigh Hile’s got the scoop.