Erica Lord, Multiple Myeloma (pink and blue), Center for Contemporary Art
Will Wilson, Auto Immune Response / Survey 1, Center
Untitled (Red Devil Mask with Hair), Museum of International Folk Art
Jimmie C. Fife, I See the Future, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
Tewa/Hopi jar (c. 1920), Grounded in Clay,
IAF.921, image courtesy School for Advanced Research
Max Cole, Ebony-Ivory III, SITE Santa Fe

Staff Writer
Erica Lord, Multiple Myeloma (pink and blue), Center for Contemporary Art
Will Wilson, Auto Immune Response / Survey 1, Center
Untitled (Red Devil Mask with Hair), Museum of International Folk Art
Jimmie C. Fife, I See the Future, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
Tewa/Hopi jar (c. 1920), Grounded in Clay,
IAF.921, image courtesy School for Advanced Research
Max Cole, Ebony-Ivory III, SITE Santa Fe
The summer of 2022 felt the way that summers used to feel: lots of people, art booths, Navajo tacos, and rain. But, in the wake of the pandemic, Santa Fe’s art scene never stopped flourishing behind the scenes, and the social and political tones were set. Santa Fean’s saw an intensive focus on Indigenous arts with the launch of several major exhibitions, including the reopening of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture’s (710 Camino Lejo, 505-476-1269, core permanent exhibition, Here, Now and Always, and the groundbreaking Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery, also on view at MIAC (through May 29).
But the pandemic and all it touched were the themes we couldn’t get away from. Exhibition after exhibition reflected a renewed search for meaning, connection, and identity. And heading into fall, local arts organizations continue to mount thoughtful exhibitions that help us understand, appreciate, and learn from the present moment.
In the coming season, SITE Santa Fe (1606 Paseo de Peralta, 505-989-1199, features works by prominent and emerging artists on the local, regional, and international scenes, and the Center for Contemporary Arts (1050 Old Pecos Trail, 505-982-1338, places an emphasis on regional talent and Indigenous artists with its current survey of contemporary Native artists, Self-Determined (through Nov. 27). Santa Fe’s state museums present arts that reflect the social, economic, and political realities of their makers, and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (108 Cathedral Place, 505-983-8900, promotes Indigenous artists central to the Indigenous Futurisms movement and who drive innovation on the contemporary scene in other ways. Arts by underrepresented artists from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities flourish at local venues.
P.O. Box 8372, 505-933-9146,
Founded in Santa Fe in 1994, Center supports socially and environmentally engaged photography projects. Center holds juried photography exhibits, and photographers are annually recognized with Project Launch Grants, Project Development Grants, Excellence in Multimedia Storytelling Awards, and others such awards. Center’s annual Review Santa Fe Photo Symposium and Portfolio Reviews brings upwards of 100 emerging photographers from around the world to Santa Fe each fall, where they have opportunities to meet with and share their work with professional photographers, curators, and other experts in the field.
The symposium goes through November and includes Project Presentations and The Democratic Lens Scholar Lecture series. Project Presentations start at noon on Oct. 25 and go through Oct. 28. The presentations are by Center award- and grant-winning artists who will be discussing their processes in conversation with independent editor, writer, and grant consultant Holly Stuart Hughes. Presentation topics include “Sequencing and Editing Multimedia for Clarity” with Center’s Environmental Award-winning photographer Esha Chiocchio and “Finding Your Personal Voice” with Multimedia Storytelling Award-winner Dan Fenstermacher. Eight artists participate over the four days.
The symposium concludes with a day-long series of Democratic Lens lectures starting at 10 a.m. Nov. 20 with “Photography and Restitution: The Civil Potential of the Image” by Laura Wexler, the Charles H. Farnam Professor of American Studies and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Yale University and acting co-chair of the Public Humanities Program at Yale.
TAKE NOTE: Portfolio Walk and Photographic Book Fair, 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18, Farmers’ Market Pavilion, 1607 Paseo De Peralta, free
Books and unique zines are available from participating publishers and venues, including photo-eye Bookstore, Gnomic Books, HurleyMedia, and Radius Books.
1050 Old Pecos Trail, 505-982-1338,
For more than 40 years, the Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) maintained a grassroots organizational approach to its support of local arts. Founded in 1979, CCA is one of the oldest artist-centered organizations in the Southwest and sponsors independent films, art exhibitions, performances, and public programs.
Regional artists, such as Judy Tuwaletstiwa and Tom Joyce, have been featured in solo exhibits, as well as renowned artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Goldsworthy, Jenny Holzer, James Luna, and others. Meow Wolf’s groundbreaking exhibition, The Due Return, premiered at CCA in 2011, and the in-house cinema has screened more than 4,000 films.
CCA’s current exhibit, Self-Determined: A Contemporary Survey of Native and Indigenous Artists (through Nov. 27), includes a 6 p.m. Oct. 6 presentation “The Native American Videotape Archives,” a look at never-before-seen selections from The Native American Videotape Archives, which contain 46 tribally directed video projects from 27 different tribal communities that were recorded in 1976 and 1977. Tickets are $15.
A Curator’s Tour and Artist Spotlight takes place at 1 p.m. on Oct. 8 ($15), led by curators Danyelle Means (Oglala Lakota) and Kiersten Fellrath. The tour is a comprehensive overview of the work in the exhibition.
Purchase tickets for these events at
TAKE NOTE: James Luna Film Festival, Nov. 13, time to be announced, Center for Contemporary Arts Cinema, free
Luna (1950-2018) was an influential Luiseño, Puyukitchum, Ipai, and Mexican American multimedia performance artist. The day-long symposium, co-sponsored by CCA and IAIA, draws from the extensive Luna Archive and includes his most pivotal and rarely seen short films, as well as panel discussions centered on Luna’s thematic elements, Indigenous storytelling, and influence on subsequent generations of artists.
108 Cathedral Place, 505-983-8900,
Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the Institute of American Indian Arts (83 Avan Nu Po Road, 505-424-2300, has been collecting contemporary art from its inception. Today, it maintains a collection of approximately 9,000 artworks by Indigenous artists, and the collection is still expanding.
IAIA relocated its Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) to downtown Santa Fe in 1992, and it’s dedicated exclusively to preserving, interpreting, and collecting diverse arts and educating and presenting to the public the history and practices of contemporary Native artists.
The museum’s current exhibitions include Art of Indigenous Fashion (through Jan. 8); Matrilineal: Legacies of Our Mothers (through Jan. 15), which presents the art of three generations of Mvskoke (Creek) mothers and daughters; and Athena LaTocha: Mesabi Redux (through Dec. 25), in which LaTocha (Lakota and Ojibwe) created a body of sculptural works inspired by the iron deposits in the Mesabi Mountain Range of northern Minnesota.
TAKE NOTE: The Stories We Carry, Sept. 30-Sept 30, 2024, $10 with discounts available
The exhibition of contemporary jewelry features work by more than 100 Indigenous artists. Guest curated by IAIA Assistant Professor Brian Fleetwood (Mvskoke Creek), the exhibition draws from the museum’s permanent collection, and each piece was selected for the unique story it tells of its maker, for the techniques used to create it, and the traditions behind it.
706 Camino Lejo, 505-476-1200,
Wealthy Chicago arts patron Florence Dibell Bartlett (1881-1954) founded the Museum of International Folk Art (MoIFA) in 1953 and donated her collection of 2,500 objects, which includes textiles, costumes, ceramics, wood carvings, paintings, and jewelry, to get it going. In the years since, the museum’s collection has grown to approximately 130,000 items, in large part due to the generosity of famed designer Alexander Girard (1907-1993), whose donated collection is housed in its own wing of the museum.
Curently on view: Dressing with Purpose: Belonging and Resistance in Scandinavia (through Feb. 19), which explores three Scandinavian dress traditions — Swedish folkdräkt, Norwegian bunad, and Sámi gákti — and traces their development during two centuries of social and political change.
TAKE NOTE: La Cartonería Mexicana / The Mexican Art of Paper and Paste, Jan. 29, 2023-June 30, 2024, $12, with discounts available
Opening this winter in the Hispanic Heritage Wing, the exhibit draws from Girard’s collection of the whimsical sculptures called cartoneria. The folk art form is made of paper, cardboard, paste, and similar items, which are fashioned into piñatas, dolls, Day of the Dead skeletons, and other fantastical forms. More than 100 historic examples, many of which have never been displayed, will be exhibited alongside the work of visiting contemporary cartoneros, who will be creating work on site.
113 Lincoln Ave., 505-476-5200,
Open since 2009, the New Mexico History Museum (NMHM) covers New Mexico’s history from pre-European contact to the present through exhibitions that reflect the evolution of the state and its culture. Located next to the iconic former seat of government in New Mexico, the 412-year-old Palace of the Governors, which is part of the museum campus, the NMHM maintains a photography collection of approximately one million items that documents the history and people of New Mexico. The museum’s holdings include 16,000 three-dimensional artifacts, such as farm equipment, toys, and the famous mid-18th-century Segesser hide paintings, which reference a 1720 battle and military expedition.
TAKE NOTE: Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II, reception 1 p.m., Oct. 23 (through December), $12, with discounts available
The exhibition, which was developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, probes the fraught history of U.S. and Japanese Americans during a period of forced relocation under Executive Order 9066 to internment camps in the wake of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The traveling exhibit was organized by the Smithsonian Institution and looks at immigration, prejudice, civil rights, and what it means to be an American through the use of historical photographs, personal narratives, and objects from the camps.
Between 1942 and 1946 approximately 4,500 people were incarcerated in Santa Fe’s own camp, which was located at what is now Frank S. Ortiz Park.
660 Garcia St., 505-954-7200,
What began as a center for archaeological research in 1907, the School for Advanced Research (SAR) now enjoys worldwide recognition as a premiere institution for the study of anthropology and related social sciences. Located on a 15-acre campus on Santa Fe’s historic East Side, the SAR continues to promote the social sciences through its programming, which includes a salon discussion series, artist residency, seminars, and colloquia.
SAR’s Indian Arts Research Center, along with other National arts organizations, co-created Guidelines for Collaboration, which offers cultural institutions a guide for working with Indigenous communities. And SAR, with New York’s Vilcek Foundation, was a driving force in organizing Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery (through May 29).
SAR’s free online Scholar Colloquia through the fall includes a presentation on by Paulla Ebron, associate professor, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University, and SAR’s 2022 Wenner-Gren fellow. Ebron’s presentation is on the Gullah-Geechee region of the southeastern United States and how it continues to shape Black culture (2 p.m., Oct. 5); Anand Taneja, assistant professor, Department of Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University, and SAR’s 2022 Weatherhead Fellow, presents “Indian Muslim Poetry, Ethics, and Politics in an Age of Hindu Nationalism,” a talk on Indian Muslim experiments with self-expression, inter-communal relationships, and political activism (2 p.m., Oct. 19).
TAKE NOTE: “Beyond the Trail of Broken Treaties: The International Native American Rights Movement, 1975-1980,” online presentation, 2 p.m. Nov. 2, free, register at
Jennifer O’Neal, assistant professor, Department of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon, and SAR’s 2022 Lamon fellow, presents “Beyond the Trail of Broken Treaties, in which she examines the transformative shift from localized, grassroots Native activism to international movements.
O’Neal’s talk explores the ways that the drive for sovereignty, self-determination, and human rights gained momentum after the Red Power movement of the 1970s and the role of Native activists in bringing this about through networking and international exchange.
1606 Paseo de Peralta, 505-989-1199,
Since its founding in 1995, SITE Santa Fe’s focus has been on innovative contemporary arts. A premier venue for international contemporary art biennials in the United States, the non-collecting museum launched an ambitious biennial series SITElines: New Perspectives on the Art of the Americas in 2014, which highlighted the work of artists along the Pan-American Highway.
This fall SITE features exhibitions by artists Max Cole (Oct. 7-Jan. 16) and Billie Zangewa (Nov. 13-Feb 13).
TAKE NOTE: Land of Dreams, reception 5 p.m., Oct. 7 (through Jan. 16)
A solo exhibition by Shirin Neshat, an Iranian-American artist and filmmaker living in exile, Land of Dreams is a multimedia installation that includes photographs of New Mexico residents, which the artist embellished with Farsi calligraphy and illustrations; a two-channel video that depicts a fictional Iranian photographer who solicits portraits of strangers while collecting their dreams; a feature length film that features actors Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Matt Dillon (Wayward Pines), and Isabella Rosallini (Blue Velvet); and Neshat’s Dreamer’s Trilogy (2013-2016), three short films inspired by her own recurring dreams. Collectively, the works explore the liminal space between dreams and waking life. Neshat’s photographs and video installations present charged narratives that question power dynamics, religion, race, gender, and the relationships between past and present and East and West. ◀

There are a lot of reasons to get out of the house in the coming months. Just look at the season schedules for local art and performance groups.
Staff Writer
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