Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day in Santa Fe--Museums & Galleries


New Mexico Museum of Art
Cafe Pasqual's interior
Without a doubt, the visual arts are alive and well in Santa Fe.

After a hearty breakfast at Cafe Pasquals near the old historic plaza in Santa Fe,  A. Paul & I strolled to nearby New Mexico Museum of Art.  The pueblo-style museum was built in 1917 and has served as a hub to New Mexico's art to this day.  Its open door policy, in its earliest days, enticed artists from afar to NM, strengthening the foundations of Santa Fe's art community.Today, the New Mexico Museum of Art is one of four institutes that comprise the Museum of New Mexico.  The other three museums which round out the Museum of New Mexico are the Palace of the Governors, located in the state capitol building, the Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the latter two located on Museum Hill.

Pueblo Dancer (Matachina)
Jan Matulka (1890-1972)
Once in the museum the first exhibit encountered on the lower gallery level, How the West is One: The Art of New Mexico, illustrates the changes and evolutions in southwestern art. The exhibit includes works by Native Americans, European-Americans and Hispanic artists. The works provide an insight to major shifts in southwestern art, exploring cultural imagery, evolution of modernism, rejection of cultural assimilation, and impacts of war on southwestern culture.

At the top the second level landing of the museum one will find the iconic works of Georgia O'Keeffe. O'Keeffe, though originally from Wisconsin, first visited New Mexico in 1917, later making it her home.  Here, O'Keeffe drew upon the natural landscape forms and hues which became the basis of much of her works on display at the New Mexico Museum of Art.  Not far from the NM Museum of Art is the O'Keeffee Museum which displays the legacy of her life and works in New Mexico.

"Black Mesa Landscape" at
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
 In addition to the O'Keeffe works, two galleries are filled with the drypoint etchings and lesser known lithographs of Gene Kloss and B.J.O. Nordfeldt, respectively.  Kloss works explore th cultural festivites of the area whereas Nordfeldt works examine life in the southwest during the depression.   We found another wonderful grouping of these two artists' works in private collections at the Zaplin/Lambert Gallery on Canyon Road.   You can read about these two artists as well as visit the rest of the New Mexico Museum artists and exhibits at

Andrea Fisher (L) with Kerry (R)
at Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery
 Across from the museum, A. Paul & I were lured into the Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery Gallery by the exquisite pottery in the window.  Here, Andrea Fisher and her staff provided us an overview of the surrounding pueblos, styles, and nuances of interactions between the art community and artisans of the Native communities.
You can view these beautiful works of art at

A. Paul & I agreed that we would need a lot more time in Santa Fe to explore all the arts that it has to offer.  We strolled the historic plaza after departing the Andrea Fisher's gallery and made our way to the Canyon Road Art District, where over 150 galleries dot the road. 

"Swish" M. Morrison
On Canyon Road, many galleries were preparing the walls with new works for this Friday night's openings.  At the Alexandra Stevens Gallery of Fine Art, we were entranced by the light and movement of the featured artist of tomorrow's opening, E. Melinda Morrison.  You can see more of her and other represented artists at

In back of the Stevens gallery, art teacher/artist McCreery Jordan was putting finishing touches on her expressive, sculpted works.  Jordan, though classically trained as a realist, creates a diverse collection of works ranging in realist to abstract expressionism working in bronze, mixed media, acrylics and oils.
McCreery Jordan (L) and Kerry (R)

A. Paul & I spent several hours visiting the various galleries along Canyon Road, realizing that it would be impossible to visit them all in such a short period of time.  We were welcomed and engaged in conversation in all of the galleries we did visit and know that Santa Fe will be on our return list for a future visit.

We quickly made our way back to grab the car and head up to Museum Hill to catch the sun setting over the Santa Fe landscape.  I leave you this evening with a slideshow of artwork and the sunset hoping to entice you to visit Santa Fe.  It is without a doubt an art mecca that is a must see for any art collector and/or artist.

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