We think of artists as this rarefied species that splashes brilliantly into life like meteors, child prodigies of astonishing genius instantly recognizable. While the rest of us struggle to figure out who and what we want to grow up to do, they’ve known since the beginning—it’s the air they breathe! But not all artists arrive like meteors, and some breathe the same air we do. In fact, among the most daring and adventurous artists are those whose paths of discovery appear to them just like ours do, one clue at a time.
Terran Kipp Last Gun, 2016 graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, says, “I’ve always felt creative—I always did creative stuff. But I never felt like I was an artist, growing up.” His father, Terrance Guardipee Last Gun, is a painter and ledger artist, “so I grew up around it that way. And my dad always encouraged me,” he says. “But romanticized art—realism—that you see a lot of in Montana was just not intriguing to me.” Some adults from previous generations “didn’t want to be Indian or felt ashamed; they had almost no pride, just a sense of disconnect,” and Terran neither understood nor felt a part of the Catholic faith in which he was raised. But in fourth grade, he began attending the Lost Children immersion school on his reservation, founded partially by his great uncle Darrell Robes Kipp as part of the Piegan Institute, and there, Terran first learned the cultural narratives of his Piikani people and to speak the Blackfoot language. He continued through seventh grade and, although he didn’t know it at the time, that turned out to be his first step on his path to being an artist. Continue reading
It is hard to overestimate the influence and importance of the Santa Fe-based Institute of American Indian Arts on contemporary Native American culture, art and artists. The school, co-founded by Dr. George Boyce and Cherokee textile and fashion designer Lloyd Kiva New, opened its doors in the fall of 1962, with Boyce serving as superintendent and New as art director. It was established and funded by the United States Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs as a two-year high-school program, but today offers bachelor of arts degrees and a handful of master’s degrees. Its list of alumni and faculty reads like a who’s who in the field of contemporary Native arts.
One such IAIA graduate is Kevin Red Star. Over the course of a year researching this prominent Native artist for our book Kevin Red Star: Crow Indian Artist (Gibbs Smith, 2014), interviewing his peers, family, teachers, collectors, associates and Kevin himself, my wife—photographer Kitty Leaken—and I gained a deep respect for the man and admiration for his art. This included a lovely few weeks spent on his family ranch in south-central Montana, adjoining the vast Crow Reservation, where we were ensconced in a teepee. It was an experience we will always treasure. Continue reading
OK, so this isn’t in Albuquerque but…About 75 percent of all Native American art sold worldwide is made in the Gallup region, and for the first time, local artists have come together to create a showcase unlike any other. The first Gallup Native Arts Market is Aug. 10-12, deep in the landscape that has inspired and nurtured their art for generations, featuring artists selected by a commission of Navajo and Zuni master artists, creating the finest and best examples of Native art in the region. Spanning everything from jewelry to ceramics, and sculpture to weaving, the work on display and for sale is certain to connect powerfully with collectors and enthusiasts alike. It’s free and open to the public. More at galluprealtrue.com. Continue reading
How often do you get to shop for one-of-a-kind treasures and support a great charity at the same time? Not often enough, so don’t miss the Great Southwestern Antique Show’s Charity Sneak Preview, held Aug. 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Expo New Mexico. More than 175 dealers offer everything from Native American artifacts and antique Indian jewelry to ethnographic and early American art, furniture, vintage costumes, estate jewelry, pottery, decorative arts and more. Not only will you be able to shop the show before the doors open to the public for the weekend, you’ll feel good knowing that 100-percent of the event’s admission fees benefit New Mexico PBS.
“Because PBS is a really great partner, and because of the current political environment—with funding being cut for NPR and PBS—we felt strongly enough that we decided to continue with PBS as our major nonprofit,” says Terry Schurmeier, founder of the Great Southwestern Antique Show. “With our PBS endowment, we’ve raised more than $125,000 to help pay for New Mexico programs including Colores and New Mexico in Focus.” Continue reading
Two venues historically devoted to the contemporary side of the arts in Santa Fe are building on their reputations—artistically, and literally—with forward-looking exhibitions and additions to some already impressive innovations. Continue reading
While out to lunch with some local folks recently, I mentioned the 20th anniversary of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. To a person, each of my companions was astounded that only 20 years had gone by since the museum’s opening in July of 1997—everyone felt this most-visited Santa Fe Museum had been around much longer than that. One person even thought it had been more like 50 years.
Maria Chabot, Georgia O’Keeffe Hitching a Ride to Abiquiu with Maurice Grosser, 1945. Photographic print. Gift of Maria Chabot. Georgia O’Keefe Museum © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum [RC.2001.2.140.c]
Just as Georgia O’Keeffe herself made a tremendous impact on the art world, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has left its mark on the Santa Fe arts and culture scene to such an extent that many of us assumed the three-building complex in downtown Santa Fe has been around longer than two decades. Since 1997, more than 3.5 million visitors have wandered the military-barracks-turned-church-turned-galleries on Johnson Street; browsed the archives at the former military officers’ quarters and private residence Research Center on Grant Avenue; attended workshops in the Education Annex (a former Safeway); and toured the Abiquiu house and studio. (That last one was always a residence, by the way.) Tourism Santa Fe says one of the questions they most often receive is about the O’Keeffe Museum–where it is and how to get there. Continue reading