Collecting. New Mexico

By Gangelhoff, Bonnie | Southwest Art, January 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

Collecting. New Mexico


Gangelhoff, Bonnie, Southwest Art


WELCOME to New Mexico-a land blessed with an enchanting magic, a place where both the heavens and the earth offer a wide canvas for artistic experience. The sky is an ever-changing swath of dramatic reds, blues, and purples. The cities and small towns that lie below it attract visitors with their rich blend of cultures and history.

The art and culture here is a spicy brew of ancient Native, Hispanic, and European traditions. Visitors to New Mexico experience the aroma of pinon fire, the haunting howl of the coyote, and the sight of ristras (chiles) hanging from storefronts and cafes. It's no surprise that in the past the state's beauty has lured artists and writers from around the world-Georgia O'Keeffe, Nicolai Fechin, D.H. Lawrence, and Willa Cather, to name a few.

Today their creative legacy continues-artists still come here from farflung corners of the globe. And they are fond of saying that they have found their spiritual home in this uniquely sublime oasis. Breathtaking vistas abound, from the desert terrain of Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the south to the brilliant red Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the north.

There are two major urban centers in New Mexico, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Among the smallest state capitals in the country, Santa Fe is known for its serpentine streets dotted with galleries, trendy restaurants, and specialty boutiques. The city is regularly listed as one of the top art markets in the country. Canyon Road, nicknamed the "art and soul" of Santa Fe because of its many galleries, is a good place to experience the art scene. Dozens of galleries line the street, a pleasant walk from the picturesque downtown Plaza. The Plaza is also dotted with many fine galleries. On any given Friday, there's an art opening for every taste in Santa Fe, ranging from Native American pottery to contemporary abstract paintings.

The city also boasts many excellent museums. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum near the Plaza is the newest kid on the art block and displays an ever-changing array of the artist's works. There are several other must-sees, including the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Institute of American Indian Art, the Museum of Fine Art, the International Museum of Folk Art, and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Every August Santa Fe hosts Indian Market, a premier juried show that features some of the best Native American art in the country. The show attracts tens of thousands of art lovers from around the world.

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