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Defining the New Southwest
hatâ€™s the ideal interior to accommodate a quiet retreat lifestyle for homeowners with European and South American heritage, global taste, and an extensive art collection? The answer emerged as the owners of this newly constructed Santa Fe ridge top home shared their vision with designer Chris Hanks of Ernest Thompson Furniture and builder Erin Williams Collaborative. Ernest Thompson designed and produced cabinetry for the entire house, including highly contemporary grey-washed Walnut kitchen cabinets that complement a palette of warm greys and whites. The kitchen upper horizontal-grained matched doors open electronically and easily close with a simple touch. Historically known for furniture and a traditional aesthetic, Ernest Thompson reveals its diversity in a contemporary look that feels truly at home in the Southwest. Visit or call our Albuquerque and Santa Fe showrooms today for hand made furniture, entry doors and cabinetry.
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features Spring 2015 Albuquerque TREND
Defying all odds and conventional wisdom, the Gruet family has turned locally made sparkling wine into a go-to favorite.
The Pueblo on the Mesa The University of New Mexico’s campus mirrors Albuquerque’s growth from dusty settlement to modern metropolis.
By Nancy Zimmerman | Photos by Robert Reck
It Takes a Village The traditional farming community of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque looks to its roots to grow its future.
By Gussie Fauntleroy
Champagne Wishes, New Mexico Dreams By Nancy Zimmerman
By Rena D istasio | Photos by Robert Reck
A Northeast Heights couple falls under the spell of a Bart Prince–designed home.
— Oscar Wilde
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34 FROM THE EDITOR 36 CONTRIBUTORS 38 FLASH Albuquerque Museum show kicks up its heels; Shumakolowa.com offers Native American art buyers the real deal. 42 IN THE Q Photographer Eric Thelander finds inspiration in the accidental ruin of Albuquerque’s rail yards. By Bill Nevins | Photos by Jeannette Allen 48 STATE OF THE ARTS A citywide show exploring ABQ’s art scene past and present raises the question of just what the scene is—and could turn into. Several local arts cognoscenti weigh in. By Heidi Utz 56 ART MATTERS For Albuquerque’s homeless, ArtStreet is more than just a refuge. It’s a place where they can rebuild their lives by exploring their creativity and connecting to community. By Heidi Utz | Photos by K ate Russell 66 CONSCIOUS BUILDING Albuquerque-based developer Jim Long translates his passion for New Mexico’s Native heritage into some of the state’s most exciting hotels and resorts. By Nancy Zimmerman
128 124 ARTIST STUDIO Lucy Maki’s shape paintings balance Zen quietude with an edgy exploration of the boundaries of the rectangle; photographer Oscar Lozoya explores the juncture between glamour and grit in his darkly compelling portraiture and tableaux vivants. By Ellen Berkovitch | Photos by K ate Russell 135 CITY BY DESIGN Not just a weekend warrior pastime, biking Burque is serious business for a growing number of commuters, for whom the ride will soon become easier and more efficient. By Keiko Ohnuma | Photos by Boril R adoykov 144 END QUOTE
ON THE COVER: Albuquerque’s Bear Canyon Arroyo Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge, with its multitude of colorful LED lights.
Photo by Boril R adoykov
CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: COURTESY OF LUCY MAKI, BORIL RADOYKOV, KATE RUSSELL
Spring 2015 Albuquerque TREND
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PUBLISHER Cynthia Marie Canyon EDITOR Rena Distasio ART DIRECTOR & GRAPHIC DESIGNER Janine Lehmann COPY CHIEF Heidi Utz PRODUCTION MANAGER Jeanne Lambert PHOTO PRODUCTION Boncratious REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Judith Leyba, 505-988-5007 SALES Nigel Rudlin, 505-470-6442 MARKETING AND ABQ DISTRIBUTION Isabel Hees, 505-988-5007
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ellen Berkovitch, Rena Distasio, Gussie Fauntleroy, Bill Nevins, Keiko Ohuma, Heidi Utz, Nancy Zimmerman CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ARTISTS Jeannette Allen, Boncratious, Kirk Gittings, Boril Radoykov, Robert Reck, Kate Russell, Sergio Salvador NORTH AMERICAN DISTRIBUTION Disticor Magazine Distribution Services, disticor.com NEW MEXICO DISTRIBUTION Andy Otterstrom, 505-920-6370 ACCOUNTING Danna Cooper SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Knock Knock Social
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SUBSCRIPTIONS Visit trendmagazineglobal.com and click “Subscribe,” call 505-988-5007, or send $24.99 for one year (four issues) to Trend, P.O. Box 1951, Santa Fe, NM 87504 -1951.
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Manufactured and printed in the United States. Copyright 2015 by Santa Fe Trend LLC. All rights reserved. No part of Trend may be reproduced in any form without prior written consent from the publisher. For reprint information, please call 505-988-5007, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Trend art + design + architecture + cuisine ISSN 2161-4229 is published 4 times a year, with Spring (circulation 25,000), Summer (25,000), Fall (25,000), and Winter (35,000) issues distributed throughout New Mexico and the nation at premium outlets. Ask your local newsstand (anywhere worldwide) to carry Trend. Like us on Facebook at Trend art + design + architecture + cuisine magazine. Editorial inquiries to email@example.com. Trend, P.O. Box 1951, Santa Fe, NM 87504-1951 505-988-5007
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Rena Distasio, Editor 34
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COURTESY OF THE ESTATE OF GARRY WINOGRAND
n the late 1950s, photographer Garry Winogrand snapped what would become one of his most iconic photographs: a toddler emerging from the gloom of a single-car garage, a tricycle abandoned in the driveway of the flat-roofed home, the kind whose style was popular during Albuquerque’s midcentury suburban building boom. Instead of a neat yard of green lawns and shrubbery, the home is surrounded by a weed-dotted expanse of desert that stretches toward the distant Sandia Mountains, the sky above a froth of storm clouds. Titled Albuquerque, 1957, the photo is both hopeful and ominous, emblematic of a town on the verge of becoming a city—why else would anyone plop themselves down in such stark surroundings if not for the belief that they would soon be surrounded by civilization? When civilization did come, it did so in typical Sunbelt fashion, with little rhyme or reason to the jumble of strip malls and gas stations and fast-food chains and slapped-up stucco houses that defined what would soon become Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights. But to me, there’s beauty in Albuquerque’s seeming aesthetic chaos. What originated as a sleepy agricultural village along the banks of the Rio Grande quickly outgrew those bounds, like a gigantic toddler still not quite steady on its feet. As a result, the city’s planners have always had to temper their reach with what they could actually grasp, balancing ambition with the tug of history and the reality of geographic constraint. The resulting contrast makes Albuquerque unique in the pantheon of Western boomtowns-turned-modern cities: a place of concrete and steel surrounded by mountains and river and desert, checked in its growth by Native lands to the north, monolithic granite to the east, and a military base to the south. Only to the west does it sprawl relatively unfettered, begging the question: “Just how far can we go?” Over the past 100 years or so, Albuquerque has become New Mexico’s economic and educational locus. But it is not just a haven for the left-brained. Many artists have left, and continue to leave, their marks on this landscape. We at Trend are excited to showcase them for you in this, our introductory issue, devoted to the Duke City. From Nancy Zimmerman’s informative piece about UNM’s architectural history to Gussie Fauntleroy’s account of a traditional village embracing modern-day growth to Heidi Utz’s look at a unique initiative that melds advocacy and the arts, it is clear that there is an aesthetic depth to this city equal to its industrious breadth.
CONTRIBUTORS Robert Reck is an internationally recognized architectural and interior design photographer whose work is distinguished by a masterful use of light, strong composition, and a passion for the design found in nature and the built environment. He holds a master’s degree in art from the University of New Mexico. Reck was a staff photographer for Architectural Digest and has contributed to dozens of publications globally. He was the lead photographer for Santa Fe Style, published by Rizzoli International.
Boril Radoykov comes from four generations of artists and actors in Bulgaria, a country with a longstanding support of the arts. With a background in fine art and film education, Radoykov is now based in Santa Fe. A painter, he works to integrate his knowledge of composition and light into his digital media.
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Keiko Ohnuma is a former editor of Trend and likewise lapsed sculptor, cultural theorist, world traveler, and marathoner, who spends her time these days rolling around on two wheels and publishing The Bosque Beast, a bimonthly newspaper for New Mexico animal lovers. She lives in Corrales without a horse, goats, donkeys, chickens, alpacas, or anything else a gal needs to be truly happy, except perhaps for her brutish hubby and two very spoiled terriers.
Bill Nevins writes from Albuquerque, where he has lived since 1996. His work is regularly featured in Trend, EcoSource, RootsWorld, Local iQ, Z, and other publications. His book of poetry, Heartbreak Ridge, was published by Swimming with Elephants Publications in 2014. In addition to teaching Mass Communication, Public Speaking, Creative Writing, and Introduction to Screenwriting at UNM Valencia and West campuses, he curates the New Mexico Film Festival at UNM VC and the Resolana performance series at the South Broadway Cultural Center.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: KATE RUSSELL, MARY ELKINS, NANCY ZIMMERMAN, JEANNETTE ALLEN, KIM JEW, BORIL RADOYKOV
Kate Russell is a nationally recognized photographer based in Santa Fe. Known for her ability to create evocative images and elevate simplicity, Russell’s sensitivity to light and the moment can be seen in her photos. Her work has appeared in numerous local and national publications, including The New York Times, Western Interiors, the Santa Fean, and the books Old World Interiors, by David Naylor, and Designers Here and There, by Michele Keith. Kate’s work with a traveling circus and the arts brought her to the world of photography, and they continue to provide inspiration for projects both near and far.
Nancy Zimmerman is a freelance writer, editor, and translator who reports frequently on art, design, architecture, travel, and cuisine. Her experience includes stints as editor-in-chief of Trend, editor-inchief/associate publisher of Islands, executive editor of Outside magazine’s annual adventure travel issues, and Southwest editor for Sunset. She is also a scriptwriter and video producer.
PHOTO BY: ROBERT RECK
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Albuquerque Museum show kicks up its heels
ashion fans may recall the moment Naomi Campbell stepped onto a Paris runway in an outrageous pair of purple Vivienne Westwood pumps—and fell. Was she suffering for the sake of art, or merely suffering? It’s a question visitors can ponder at a new show called Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, opening May 30 at the Albuquerque Museum. The first leg of the Brooklyn Museum’s touring exhibition, the Albuquerque show will highlight the long and storied history of insanely high shoes, from Egyptian royals to Mongolian horse warriors to 15th-century Venetian ladies who wore platform shoes so tall that they needed an assistant to support them. Such footwear historically indicated elevated social status, says Andrew Connors, curator of art with the Albuquerque Museum. And while the high heel’s merging of art and artifice has many saying “ouch,” its cultural and artistic appeal is nonetheless compelling, he points out. “As a guy, I tend to think of them as ridiculous, and I don’t understand why women would subject themselves to this pain and torture,” Connors says. “But when you look at them as sculptural objects and understand the history of them, they take on a whole new relevance.” Furthermore, he adds, this fashion fostered astounding creativity, not only by shoe designers but also by architects and artists. Killer Heels will highlight a spectrum of work, including those famous Westwood pumps and the iconic shoe hat created in 1937 by Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Salvador Dalí. The show also touches on the
Winde Rienstra, Bamboo Heel (2012), bamboo, glue, and plastic cable ties
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COURTESY OF BROOKLYN MUSEUM
Manchu woman’s shoe, 19th-century China, cotton and embroidered satin-weave silk. From the Brooklyn Museum Collection.
male tradition of high heels in the British and French courts. The bulk of the exhibition, however, is made up of more recent examples, including a pair of Lady Gaga’s black stilettos that sports tiny, anatomically correct bronze men climbing up the heels. While the exhibition focuses heavily on East Coast and European artists and designers, Connors says that the addition of several New Mexicans will diversify the Albuquerque lineup. “There are some important designers in New Mexico who are pushing the envelope in great directions,” he says. Perhaps the most visible is Virgil Ortiz, a Cochiti Pueblo artist and fashion designer who has collaborated with Donna Karan and Cartier. A fan of sci-fi movies and television shows, Ortiz is known for his futuristic retelling of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt through pottery, sculpture, and clothing. Setting his tale 500 years in the future, he populates the action with elaborately costumed historic figures who have attained the status of superheroes. For Killer Heels, Ortiz plans to exhibit shoes and clothing that reflect his Pueblo Revolt themes. “It’s awesome that they asked me to be part of [the show],” he says. “Just to be included with Manolo [Blahnik], Prada, and Tom Ford—I can’t wait.” Other local artists include Mary Janice Ortiz, Virgil’s sister, who will exhibit a pair of ceramic high heels made in the Cochiti pottery tradition; Teri Greeves, a Kiowa, Comanche, and Italian beadworker; bootmaker Deana McGuffin; Diné silversmith Cody Sanderson; and Albuquerque native and “glitter artist” Goldie Garcia. —Megan Kamerick
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very several years like clockwork, fashion editors proclaim turquoise jewelry the season’s “in” accessory, filling their magazine pages with photos of models bedecked in squash blossoms and waving arms laden with turquoise-encrusted cuffs. Longtime collectors always have a good laugh. It’s all a matter of degree, but Native American arts and crafts don’t ever really go out of style. Their popularity is as enduring as the traditions that govern their craftsmanship. Still, that popularity can be a two-edged sword. High demand encourages artisans to expand their offerings and up the quality of their workmanship, but it’s also proven a boon to opportunistic purveyors, who shill cheap knockoffs to unsuspecting buyers. A new website, Shumakolowa.com, owned and operated by the 19 pueblo tribes of New Mexico, has improved this situation, allowing buyers to shop directly from Native artists without leaving their homes. This alliance between Albuquerque’s Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) and the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), which stages the annual Santa Fe Indian Market and Winter Indian Market, offers a broad range of Native arts and crafts, all guaranteed authentic. “This partnership is designed to take the guesswork out of buying Native,” says Ira Wilson, a buyer for the site as well as manager of IPCC’s gift shop, long a reliable source of high-quality Native arts and crafts. “We wanted to create a place where we could support and showcase the work of Native artisans, that promotes their dignity and respect for their
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The Real Deal
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Ernest Rangel, Sleeping Beauty turquoise cuff. Opposite: Julia Pete, Teec Nos Pos Navajo rug.
talents, and that encourages a high level of quality work.” The carefully curated site features sculpture, painting, jewelry, pottery, weavings, carvings, baskets, Pendleton blankets, and musical instruments, all purchased directly from the artists by three buyers with more than 50 years of experience among them. Artists come from all of New Mexico’s pueblos, the Navajo and Hopi tribes, and, on occasion, the West Coast, Alaska, and Canada. “We want to establish ongoing, personal relationships,” says Wilson. “And we’re also trying to find those young artists who are interested in continuing their traditions.” As such, the site provides a home for established names like painter Yellowman and sculptor Clifford Fragua, as well as for up-and-comers like jeweler Ken Romero and weaver Julia Pete. Works range from traditional to contemporary. Developed by site manager Nick Pecastaing and a team of Web designers and social media experts, Shumakolowa, which means “dragonfly” in Zuni, was built to ensure a comprehensive, user-friendly experience against a backdrop of modern, eye-appealing design. High-resolution photos, informational videos, artist bios, explanations of techniques, and books for sale further help buyers make informed purchases. “There isn’t another site like this anywhere,” Pecastaing says, “not one that offers this comprehensive an overview of Native art and artisans.” “Native American art and jewelry is continually cool,” says Wilson. And now it’s easier than ever to purchase a bit of that cool without worrying about getting burned. —Rena Distasio
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BY BILL NEVINS | PHOTOS BY JEANNETTE ALLEN
Accidental Beauty Eric Thelander finds inspiration in the industrial ruin of Albuquerqueâ€™s rail yards
hird generation Albuquerquean Eric Thelander has had a lifelong aesthetic love affair with the rail yards that were once a vital part of the community in which he now lives. Like many romantic relationships, it has not been without turmoil, uncertainty, even danger. “I used to sneak in with pals by shimmying under the chain-link fence starting when I was about 13 years old, and climb on those shaky roofs, which were not exactly the safest places to play—but we did it often, and we didn’t die.” Over the years, Thelander has also been drawn to photographing the ruined grounds and has so far amassed at least 2,000 images of this vast, 27-acre, 18-building industrial semi-ruin at the edge of the Barelas neighborhood in Southeast Albuquerque, now officially known as the Yards. A welder by trade, Thelander, 35, is also a visual artist who has worked for years to refine his steel-engraving technique. Among his etchings of mechanical objects and nature scenes is an extended series specifically devoted to the rail yards. The project began to evolve several years ago, when he attempted to make etchings from some of his rail-yard images. “I had been fascinated for some time by the idea of an all-metal photograph,” Thelander says. Meeting Joel-Peter Witkin in 2012 got him thinking further about the possibilities of creating limited-edition prints using an esoteric process, and he began to experiment in earnest. The process he has developed shares similarities with screen and intaglio printmaking, though metal is the canvas. Using photo emulsion to make a negative “mask” of his image on transparency film, Thelander applies acid to etch the image onto a piece of rusted galvanized steel. The resulting pieces are part photograph, part etching, and part sculptural object, investing a place of ruin with an otherworldly beauty. After graduating from Sandia High School in 1997, Thelander took business, art, and technical courses at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM). He then learned to weld as an apprentice at Rocky Mountain Stone. But he was drawn TREND Spring 2015
Eric Thelander in his home studio. Top: In one of Thelander’s photos of the rail yards’ machine shop, modern-day grafitti is transformed into a kind of otherworldly hieroglyphics. Thelander likens the design of the shop to one of Henry Ford’s factories, webbed with gantries that once supported the lifts that moved the massive steam engines. 44
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to the fine arts as well, first as a painter (despite being color-blind) and then as a sculptor, while working for famed Albuquerque artist Evelyn Rosenberg. Rosenberg taught Thelander the art of detonography, in which plastic explosives are used to make bas-relief sculptures in brass and copper sheet metal. The experience inspired him, leading first to a sequence of public artworks, including a series of large metal and concrete benches for Salt Lake City’s Sugar House district. Sage Tree Grill in Nob Hill holds one of his pieces, an etched steel mural of an abandoned motorcycle “bone yard,” and his “solar tree” is a current
finalist for a public-art commission in Los Alamos. He describes the project as a stainless-steel fabricated tree powered by solar gain that provides daytime shade and nighttime light. What Thelander calls the “accidental beauties” of the rail yards and their post-apocalyptic connotations continue to inspire his work. During the Yards’ soldout May 3, 2014, inauguration—a posh fete that included a concert by the Chatter Quartet—the artist was invited to display his pieces in the site’s oldest building. Since the inauguration, his engravings have been selling briskly (several hang in the office of Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, a
COURTESY OF ERIC THELANDER (2)
rail yard–development advocate), and he is pleased to be part of the effort to honor and preserve the site. “I think of the rail yards as a sort of museum of Industrial Age architecture and as Albuquerque’s cathedral,” he says, “both because of its beauty and because it is a once-functional workplace that connects Albuquerque with its past and its future. It is a fact that the work here was dangerous and many people died here, but it also provided good livings for the folks of surrounding communities.” Another Yards’ champion, and a Barelas native, city councilor Eric Griego, agrees with that assessment. “This is a place that is truly grounded in New Mexico, and it is like no other industrial site in the U.S. in terms of its historical weight, its inherent beauty, and its meaning to the nearby communities. It deserves to be saved,” he says. Built in the 1880s of largely wooden construction and rebuilt around 1918 in its present structural form, the rail yards comprised the only large-scale plant west of the Mississippi dedicated to the repair and refurbishment of steam-railroad rolling stock, up to 40 engines per month. In 1919 at least one-quarter of Albuquerque’s workers were employed here by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, which owned the complex. Operations continued until about 1970, when, with diesel trains firmly established, the site was abandoned and largely neglected until the City of Albuquerque purchased it in the 1980s. During subsequent decades, the city considered and rejected many proposals for modification and use of the complex: big-box stores, a convention center, and film studios, among others. In fact, in recent years, both independent and big-studio film companies have flocked to the site, and such blockbusters as The Avengers and The Terminator sequels were shot there. Additionally, the Wheels Museum, celebrating New Mexico’s prosperous railroad past and other aspects of wheeled vehicle
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A patchwork of “accidental beauty”: As the machine shop’s original clear glass windows broke, they were replaced with colored glass, which better protected the workers from the searing rays of the sun. Top: the empty machine shop as it stands today, ready to be renovated into something exciting for the future. 46
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history, is now under development in a publicly accessible southwest corner of the property. Because of his work, Thelander has joined a loose alliance of community activists, politicians, and ordinary citizens motivated by a desire to preserve an important part of Albuquerque’s heritage. “If I didn’t have the inspiration of the rail yards, I might never have developed the type of etching that I have,” he says. Albuquerque has thus far spent at least $1 million to make the rail yards’ former blacksmith shop safe for community use. And the future development plan, submitted by California-based firms, in partnership with the city, includes possible office and residential space, a public performance area, elevated walkways to connect the Yards to the surrounding communities, and a roof canopy over much of the complex. While Mayor Berry speaks glowingly of the yards as the spiritual and symbolic heart of the city, he readily admits it will be expensive. “This is most definitely a work in progress, and it may be a long time to completion.” However, even without the renovations, the Yards has become an events hot spot. Since its inauguration, the blacksmith shop has hosted a Blues & Brews beersampling, a cage-fighting demonstration, and a standing-room-only OneBeat world music concert. In addition, the popular Rail Yards Market, held each Sunday during warm-weather months, will be a permanent feature. “Whatever finally happens, there will be a market somewhere on the grounds,” says Councilor Griego. “The community will insist on that.” Thelander has his own dreams for the property’s future, dreams that include the market’s continuation and, perhaps, condos with live/work space to attract artisans like himself who value a shared sense of community and history. And just as the rails have inspired him, Eric Thelander’s fascinating metal images are sure to draw attention not only to the burgeoning rail-yard scene but also to the expanding vision of an inspired young New Mexico artist. R TREND Spring 2015
The Delgado House courtyard was once a vegetable garden. Now this wonderful space, with working fountain is available for events. If you are seeking a slice of historic Santa Fe for weddings, parties, other events call Sheryle Moon to discuss. Lacuna Galleries 124 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe p: 505.467.8424 cell: 505.919.8932 www.lacunagalleries.com
BY HEIDI UTZ
Local, Real, and Raw A citywide art event aims to put Albuquerqueâ€™s art scene on the map
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COURTESY OF WESTBUND WEST
STATE OF THE ARTS
TOP: COURTESY OF TAMARIND INSTITUTE; RIGHT: COURTESY 516 ARTS
rive through New Mexico’s largest city, and color hits you right between the eyes: mosaics, murals, sculpture-suffused public spaces, illuminated bridges and tunnels, miles of neon—breaking up the endless stretches of strip malls and stucco in staccato bursts, intimating a boldly creative place with an exuberant, thriving arts scene. Yet for those who don’t know the city well, it can remain a mystery: What exactly is the scene here, and who’s creating the work most worth seeing? Why isn’t a town this size with this many artists better known nationally and internationally? Why does all the glory tend to go to its picturesque neighbors to the north? And does the lack of fanfare mean the work produced here is somehow less worthy? Seeking to address some of these queries is a citywide exhibition titled On the Map: Unfolding Albuquerque Art + Design. Since January, the show, whose events run through June 2015, has pooled the offerings of 21 venues, including 516 ARTS, Richard Levy Gallery, Harwood Art Center, the Tamarind Institute, and the Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) and Owings Gallery in Santa Fe, to explore both the history and present of Albuquerque art—a creative legacy that may surprise and intrigue even longtime local residents. “The Albuquerque collaborators developed the On the Map project first as a way of celebrating the artistic vitality that we all knew was moving along boldly in our community,” says Andrew Connors, curator of art at the Albuquerque Museum. “However, we also wanted to learn more about the aesthetic soul of this place, to discover new ideas, uncover little-known artists, and figure out what art-making really means to creative types living here.” Exhibiting the most macro take is the museum show Visualizing Albuquerque, in which curator Joseph Traugott circles back through 14,000 years in the Middle Rio Grande Basin while incorporating some fascinating history of the decades after WWII. An accompanying book addresses such topics as cycles of cultural domination, the region’s art as a spiritual force, and the role of art as a healing antidote to specific challenges Albuquerque residents face. To understand Albuquerque’s vibrant and diverse scene and how it differs from
those of Santa Fe and Taos, it’s important to return to the early days of the city’s founding. While Albuquerque’s roots are as solidly agricultural as its sisters’ to the north, things began to change in the late 19th century, as business leaders pursued their fortunes in industry and commerce, establishing the city as a fulcrum for agriculture, banking, railroads, and lumber. But in a sea of possibilities, one clear identity never emerged. Its subsequent prominence as railroad boomtown, a Route 66 play strip, and a business-cozy Sunbelt metropolis added to the confusion. “Trade, industry, and the modern world had been the focus of business and politics here,” Connors says. “[Historically] Albuquerque never thought to even ask how arts and culture mattered in an economic sense. Not when you’ve got lots of paved sidewalks, electric lights, a rail station, and a constantly expanding university to attract attention.” Yet despite these factors, Albuquerque has evolved an arts scene that comprises prominent arts organizations, affordable work and living spaces, the University of
Top: Karen Beckwith, Open All Night (1997), lithograph. Featured in Foodie: On Eats, Eating and Eateries in Albuquerque, Tamarind Institute. Bottom: Jeff Krueger, A Study In Lemon: group of four (2006), ceramic. Featured in From the Ground Up: Design Here + Now at 516 ARTS. Opposite: Katya Crawford, South Valley Habitat 1 (2014), mixed-media collage. Featured in Bits & Pieces, a show of collages about Albuquerque at Westbund West in conjunction with a March collage workshop at 516 ARTS.
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HOW WE LIVE STATE OF THE ARTS
New Mexico’s arts programs, accessible galleries and museums, grassroots initiatives, artist-run spaces, and tightly knit creative subcommunities. The lack of a significant art market has also helped foster some undeniably edgy work by artists who feel no need to match a buyer’s living-room set, leaving them free to experiment and innovate—sometimes wildly. Think Joel-Peter Witkin, Patrick Nagatani, Betty Hahn, Thomas Barrow, and paradigm-busting architects like Bart Prince and Antoine Predock. (Both architects had shows of their drawings and models at On the Map venues.) The city has even been praised by the likes of international art critic Peter Frank, who, in a Huffington Post piece, declared Albuquerque the region’s “new artistic heart.” 516 ARTS director Suzanne Sbarge, who created From the Ground Up: Design Here + Now, an exhibition of contemporary architecture and design for On the Map, concurs. “I’ve felt that Albuquerque has been the artistic heart for a long time. I’ve lived here for 25 years, and
have always felt part of a thriving arts community, and the scene being more about mutual support than competition.” Sbarge points to the highest concentration of artists in the state as well as those regularly emerging from both UNM and CNM, who enjoy a scene that’s both more tolerant of art outside the box and easier to break into, as smaller, alternative galleries and other low-rent venues are willing Left: Damian Velasquez, Chair No. 35 (2014), from the to gamble on lesser known artists. Half13 Collection, powderSo why has Albuquerque not gained an art-world reputacoated stainless steel. Featured tion equal to that of Santa Fe or Taos? One reason could be in From the Ground Up: Design Here + Now, 516 ARTS. its diversity. “It’s pretty much impossible to say that there is an Albuquerque aesthetic,” Connors says. He cites the city’s history as a crossroads, host to a highly disparate creative population—from those who pursued traditional Native American pueblo arts to those postwar pioneers who experimented with new technologies, high-performance computing, and the development of film, video, and highspeed photography. “It’s hard to market art that doesn’t have a unified identity, style, or subject matter,” he concludes. Compounding the issue is the fact that some of Albuquerque’s preeminent postwar artists weren’t viewed as distinctly New Mexican artists, but simply as innovative creators within the contemporary international art world. For example, Frederick Hammersley, whose elegant abstracts 50
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TOP: COURTESY OF WESTBUND WEST; LEFT: COURTESY 516 ARTS
Ed Garman, 1914−2004, Painting #231 (1941), oil on canvas, Albuquerque Museum, gift of Trell Garman. Featured in Visualizing Albuquerque at the Albuquerque Museum.
TOP: COURTESY OF INPOST ARTSPACE; BOTTOM: COURTESY CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE PUBLIC ART URBAN ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM, © CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE
Heidi Pollard, Lifeboat (2014), gouache on shaped museum board. Part of her solo show Gone Fishing at Inpost Artspace. Bottom: Michael Whiting, Kick Flip Sequence (2009), steel. Featured in All Over the Map: The Ongoing Dialogue of Public Art, presented by the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Public Art Programs at the Albuquerque Museum.
gained prominence in national exhibitions during the 1970s and ’80s, was usually identified as a contemporary painter, not an Albuquerque painter. Other factors have come into play as well. As Albuquerque grew from its origins in Old Town, urban planning became notably lax, with few building codes or predefined aesthetics, unlike Santa Fe’s ubiquitous adobe facades. The sprawl of commercial strips and overnight developments has served to confound outsiders—and the city lacks a true arts focal point beyond Old Town’s more traditional offerings. While visitors may question if sophistication prevails within the pockets of condo villages, stuccoed smoke shops, and ad hoc tax-prep storefronts, beneath this exterior exists a city brimming with the “messy vitality” that architectural philosopher Robert Venturi deems more riveting than the “obvious unity” of the artificial. Additionally, observes Katya Crawford, a 14-year Albuquerque resident and curator for the 516 From the Ground Up show,
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Top: Antoine Predock, process work for the Tacoma Art Museum (circa 2002), mixed media. Featured in Antoine Predock: Strata at Richard Levy Gallery. Left: Emi Ozawa, Giraffe (1991), walnut. Featured in From the Ground Up: Design Here + Now at 516 ARTS. Bottom: Joseph M. Collombin, mid-19th to mid-20th century, Portrait of Francisco Armijo y Otero and his Wife, Margarita (detail) (1906), oil on canvas. Albuquerque Museum, lent by Evangeline D. Hernandez. Featured in Visualizing Albuquerque at the Albuquerque Museum.
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TOP: COURTESY OF RICHARD LEVY GALLERY; LEFT: COURTESY OF 516 ARTS; BOTTOM: COURTESY OF ALBUQUERQUE MUSEUM
STATE OF THE ARTS
WHAT: On the Map: Unfolding Albuquerque Art + Design An expansive collaboration celebrating the history of Albuquerque art through present day WHEN: January through June 2015
TOP LEFT: COURTESY OF CENTRAL FEATURES; TOP RIGHT: COURTESY OF 516 ARTS
Andrea Polli, featured in Visible Sound at Central Features. Right: Danielle Rae Miller, Dove (2014), felted wool, from the series Volary. Featured in From the Ground Up: Design Here + Now at 516 ARTS.
Albuquerque artists seem less ambitious about marketing themselves. “Self-promotion takes an entirely different kind of energy. Artists need help in this area, but they think they don’t have the resources to do it.” This diffidence seems a significant departure from the capital city, whose near-obsession with marketing can be traced back to its founding. As Chris Wilson describes in his 1997 book, The Myth of Santa Fe, much of the town’s arts identity was carefully cultivated by newly arrived transplants who were very attached to the idea of making it “the city different” and overtly billed it as an exotic tourist destination. And while the strategy worked, and the art-seeking hordes did arrive, such intensive marketing efforts can backfire. Erin Elder, visual arts director for the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, explains: “Santa Fe and Taos have the double edge of being known but also, possibly, being stuck. The stereotype of what makes Santa Fe special draws tourists, but I also believe it keeps artists in a prescriptive box. A town with a less scripted identity like Albuquerque seems to have more opportunities
to reinvent itself, and for artists to be a part of that ever-changing, full-of-surprises kind of place-making.” Authenticity is a word that gets plenty of play in discussions about Albuquerque’s arts scene. With so many urban communities hell-bent on homogenization, it’s surprising how much Albuquerque has been able to hang onto its own culture— turn a corner and you’ll find thousands of people celebrating Día de los Muertos in intricate calaca costumes, or walk into almost any neighborhood during the holiday season to find dozens of homes lit with luminarias. And while, for instance, the site of what was once considered a landmark might now host a Mickey D’s, you can view a community mural project with a powerful message from the drive-thru. As local composer/ artist Raven Chacon has observed, “Albuquerque doesn’t wear masks, rather it just smears around the paint on its funny face. It embraces the real and rejects fantasies and dreams, and this is our own circular freedom.” Albuquerque’s lack of arts philanthropy and tight resources overall have fueled something of a DIY culture and also
WHERE: Multiple venues including the Albuquerque Museum, 516 ARTS, Harwood Art Center, KiMo Theatre Gallery, Richard Levy Gallery, National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum, South Broadway Cultural Center, Tamarind Institute, UNM Art Museum, and more SHOWS INCLUDE: From the Ground Up: Design Here + Now (through April 11) • 516 ARTS A showcase of work by established and energing Albuquerque-area designers and architects Visualizing Albuquerque (through May 3) • Albuquerque Museum As the anchor for On the Map, investigates the unique history of central New Mexico art Visible Sound (April 24–June 6) • Central Features An exhibition of contemporary visual art objects, audible installations, and artistled “soundwalks” through Albuquerque Foodie: On Eats, Eating, and Eateries in Albuquerque (through April 5) • Tamarind Institute Lithographs on food and food culture by local artists For info and to confirm dates: www.ABQonthemap.com
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STATE OF THE ARTS
engendered more frequent communion among artists and arts organizations. “The organizations in Albuquerque are a huge part of its increased dynamism,” says Elder. “516 facilitates amazing collaboration and has really helped assert Albuquerque as a nationally recognized art center. I love how they share the limelight and bring other organizations into it.” For example, many cite 2012’s International Symposium on Electronic Art as a key initiatory event in drawing global recognition. “When 516 ARTS produced ISEA 2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness, we had visitors from 37 countries, and that international crowd expressed plentiful responses about Albuquerque as an exciting arts city,” Sbarge says. In recent years, the community has produced a number of such multivenue collaborations, such as the LAND/ART, Digital Latin America, and Heart of the City shows. This year, On the Map again brings heterogeneous artists together to define and refine the whole. And with the intention and commitment that seems to be building in this geode-like city, this may just be Albuquerque’s moment to claim a serious niche for itself within the global art world, on its own terms. R 54
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KORIE ELIZABETH TATUM
Lea Anderson, STIMULATOR (Red) (2013), paper, foam, fabric, mixed media. Featured in Encompass: 7th & Mountain at the Harwood Art Center.
Mark White Fine Art Wind-driven kinetic sculpture in the heart of Santa Fe.
414 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM, 505.982.2073 Learn more at www.markwhitefineart.com!
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BY HEIDI UTZ | PHOTOS BY KATE RUSSELL
SURVIVAL A unique Albuquerque initiative addresses homelessness through pencils, paint, and purpose
or 27 years, Jimmy Lujan was an active member of the community, running his funeral home in Taos and playing guitar in a rock band on weekends. But when a close family member was murdered in 2006, life as he knew it ended. Lujan began to experience mania, depression, nightmares. He couldn’t focus enough to hold a job and began to wreck cars. Eventually he lost his apartment—then everything else. Lujan fell into using alcohol and even crack and heroin. After ending up on the streets of Albuquerque, he slept behind Dumpsters and desperately tried to numb the pain of his trauma—now compounded by being homeless in a part of the city known for being as rough as it is hot. One afternoon as he sat waiting for a bus at 1st and Mountain, a friend came by and invited him into a place she thought might engage him: ArtStreet, a massive studio where anyone could come in off the streets and work with a diverse range of artmaking supplies and materials. Lujan was immediately intrigued. “Here was this great place to be creative and get out of the heat,” he says. “And it was free.” ArtStreet was created in 1994 after a Leadership Albuquerque economic development committee conducted a series of brainstorming sessions that included people experiencing homelessness, Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless (AHCH), community advocates, and dedicated art therapists. The studio has since served as a gateway for people in crisis, providing a welcome escape from the intense isolation and danger of life on the streets, in a largefamily ambiance. “The homeless are shunned in many other places,” Lujan says. “It’s the complete opposite at ArtStreet. It’s a loving, safe place to be.” The program asks just two things of Jimmy Lujan. Opposite: René Cirilo with his its clients: show up sober and participate work in progress, at ArtStreet.
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in making art, in the medium of your choice. You don’t have to have art skills, aptitude, or even be experiencing homelessness (though 85 percent are or have been). In addition to providing the open studio, ArtStreet holds several closed art therapy groups for people in recovery of all kinds, stages client art shows for the general public, and helps its artists sell their work at farmer’s markets and recycled art shows throughout Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Its 2,680-square-foot space with 20-foot-high ceilings holds a web of loosely connected substations for painting and sketching, a wheel and kiln for making pots, a sewing area with fiber art materials, wood- and metalworking tables, a shelf of donated recycled 58
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materials for mixed-media artists, art books and magazines for inspiration, and paper and pen for those of a more literary bent. In deference to Albuquerque’s 7,000 unhoused children, there’s a separate area where kids and families can create. At any given time, 35 to 40 artists are working away at their individual projects, self-directed, though with the potential support of five staff members. One such staffer is program coordinator Mindy Grossberg, a Chicago-area native and 13-year ArtStreet veteran whose dedication to building close relationships and trust with and among her clientele is palpable. “You might have someone come in who’s in the middle of a crisis, and so we would sit down with them and
recommend art that would be good to help work through that process—such as pounding some clay. Some people come in and really settle down when they do their precise pen-and-ink drawings. This is their sense of ‘I have control of this,’ because these people don’t have a lot of control over their environments.” The clients she sees come from varied backgrounds—some attended art school, while others haven’t seen a paint box since childhood. The 1,500 or so individuals who enter the studio each year range from the very young to the very old, evenly split between male and female, as diverse in their ethnic and cultural backgrounds as Albuquerque itself. “A lot can happen when people sit next to each other, making art,” Grossberg
Grossberg and her staff enjoy creating art alongside the clients. “We get to be fellow artists and experience the trials and tribulations that are art-making,” she says. “I think that helps new individuals who come in . . . and really helps people see that we don’t define art in a very specific way.” Top: artists Emmett Valenski (left) and Lucrecio Lopez (right, in red shirt) at ArtStreet. Left: ArtStreet program coordinator Mindy Grossberg (left) and artist Arlaine Ash. Opposite: the ArtStreet teaching staff (left to right): Carol Rig, Mataji Graham, Amani Malaika, Mindy Grossberg, and Karli Waters.
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“It’s not just the finished product, it’s the process, it’s the interaction, it’s the where do people decide to sit, what kinds of little things do they tuck away and hide because they don’t want anyone to take them, the little books that people create for themselves, the space that becomes their own. It’s sort of like an unspoken thing, even though there are no assigned seats. It’s almost like being here itself is an art piece.” —Mindy Grossberg Artist Victor Moya. Opposite, clockwise from left: artists Joey Goss, Holly WygandtO’Keath, and Clifton Blanchard, who goes by the street name of Hobbit, with Trippy.
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notes. “We don’t necessarily define each other—you’re homeless, or you’re this or that. We’re all artists making art, and we discover our similarities, not differences.” So what do the ArtStreet clients make? Much of the work isn’t necessarily conceptual or didactic in its aims but instead veers toward universal themes. Artists will frequently use objects found on the streets and sometimes create collages, which has led to their work being exhibited at recycled art shows in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. “They’ll do things around addiction or mental illness, things that show they’re passing through dark into light or light into dark, maybe religious themes . . . There’s a rawness to the art,” Grossberg says. At ArtStreet, Lujan was encouraged to paint, something he’d enjoyed doing since junior high school. Soon he met several
mentors whose work he admired, and he tagged along with them to learn techniques. After showing up every week for a year at Thursday and Friday afternoon open studios, Lujan discovered that some artists were selling their pieces at markets and shows—and keeping 100 percent of the proceeds. That got him thinking: selling his art could put a roof over his head. But first he needed to address his health. ArtStreet connected him with a doctor at its parent organization, AHCH, and a medical evaluation turned up mental health issues. The agency suggested he apply for Social Security benefits, started him on medication, and offered him a slot in a men’s art therapy group. Meanwhile, his art was steadily improving, and as he worked to make it more professional, it began to command higher prices. >
“I think what’s great about ArtStreet is that it came out of focus groups and conversations with people experiencing homelessness, particularly families in this case. The gap was identified by people in need, and then people like the director of Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless at the time, Jennifer Metzler, and Leadership Albuquerque worked to make this program possible.” —Anita Cordova
Artist Albert Rosales working on his woodburning piece, Please, Not Another One Lost. Opposite: artist Mikol Hall.
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“I could sell pieces for $120, $130. That was enough for a motel room for a week.” Consistent therapy at ArtStreet and AHCH boosted his sense of purpose and self-esteem, and his substance abuse diminished. He began collecting Social Security, regularly making and selling art, and mentoring other ArtStreet participants in painting and guitar playing. By 2009, Lujan was off the streets. As Lujan’s experience shows, a vital ingredient in ArtStreet’s success has been its affiliation and shared facility with AHCH, a 30-year-old nonprofit that helps clients overcome health-related barriers to moving out of homelessness, a condition that dramatically increases one’s risk of illness, injury, and death. In addition to providing medical, dental, and psychiatric services to about 7,000 individuals
each year, the nonprofit offers residential recovery programs and manages 90 scattered-site housing units. Many people who walk into the open studio to make art later realize they need other services, which the program can link them to. And as a 1999 HUD study found, when those without housing access comprehensive services, 76 percent of families and 60 percent of singles find homes. AHCH works very closely with other housing initiatives, such as the Barrett Foundation/Casa Milagro and New Day, to make sure they can shelter as many people as possible. “We believe in housing first. So we don’t say, ‘When you’re sober for two months, come talk to us.’ We don’t ever put carrots in front of them. Our thing is to house them and wrap them around with care and services,”
says Anita Cordova, AHCH director of development, planning, and evaluation. These comprehensive services are unique in New Mexico, and have earned the program funding from the National Endowment for the Arts on three occasions. The grants have pushed clients’ skills to a higher level via mentorship by professional artists such as Cynthia Cook, Catalina Delgado Trunk, and poet Valerie Martinez; encouraged collaborations with community arts organizations including the Harwood Art Center, Tamarind Institute, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center; and educated artists about their craft through lectures and field trips. They have also helped integrate ArtStreet’s clients into Albuquerque’s community of working artists. Among those most impacted by the first NEA project in 2008 was Terry Yazzie
Begay, whose participation led to work as an assistant to a visiting artist. He was then invited to show his work in a South Broadway Cultural Center exhibit curated by another visiting artist, and he went on to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts. Now a working artist, he plans to teach art in the future. ArtStreet’s many other success stories include not only artists but leaders such as Kristin Leve, who helmed the AHCH board of directors and is now starting her own advocacy organization for and by individuals experiencing homelessness. In addition, a cadre of mostly female artists have recently banded together and used their ArtStreet-learned skills to create art on the fences surrounding the freshly remodeled Sundowner Motel, once home to Bill Gates, now a low- and
mixed-income housing project developed by NewLife Homes. And then there’s Jimmy Lujan—today fully sober, with a roof overhead, a working vehicle, and a thriving art career. “I tackle my art with vigor,” he says, describing his style as leaning toward Spiritualism or Surrealism. “I have a wonderful partner and just the cutest four-month-old baby. Life has become peaceful, and there’s safety and sobriety,” he reflects. Lujan paints in his home studio, does extensive street outreach and advocacy work through his church, and has stepped up to serve as a board member for ArtStreet. He’s shown his art widely and has sold his work to people in eight states and even abroad. And for those walking through ArtStreet’s doors for the first time, he serves as an example of how art can save lives. R TREND Spring 2015
DAVID COPHER GALLERY
David Copher may be a newcomer to Johnson Street, but his gallery exemplifies the neighborhood’s business ethos. Visitors are attracted by the art—which over his career has ranged from representational renderings of the American West to his current abstract explosions of color and form—and they often stay to chat with the artist.
The artist, who has been in Santa Fe for 25 years, has been just as cross-disciplinary in life. For decades he supported his art by traveling with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as a clown bullfighter. At heart, he admits, he’s an artist and an entertainer. That’s part of why he decided to open his gallery in central Santa Fe, to entertain people with his work. He’ll be giving demonstrations of inventive new methods in sculpture and painting on the front porch.
David Copher Gallery 307 Johnson St., Santa Fe Open noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday - Sunday 505-795-7694 davidcopher.com
His work is masterful across disciplines, from stone-carving and bronze-casting to nonobjective oil paintings and jewelry. His Mayan Kings sculptures are more expressive than strictly representational, and his Dimensional Ships are stone-carved to a new simplicity: a triangular vessel juts from rough alabaster to hold a sphere of pale blue calcite in perfect balance. Recent Dimensional Walking paintings are composed of imperfect lines and rectangles that interrupt layers of joyful color.
Light Streams, 30x40 JOSEPH McGURL is one of the acknowledged leaders in contemporary American landscape painting. Joseph was born in Massachusetts and drew his early inspiration from his father, James, who is a muralist. After graduating from the Massachusetts College of Art, he worked as a yacht captain, sailing the east coast from Maine to the Caribbean before pursuing studies in England. He also studied in Italy with Robert Cormier, who is a devotee of the French Academy methods for figure drawing. Joseph synthesizes academic figure drawing skills with those required for sight-size landscape paintings, resulting in a new and unique approach to this genre. Josephâ€™s paintings are often considered philosophical extensions of the 19th-century Luminist painters. He is a devotee and proponent of plein-air painting, which gives him the freedom to create paintings based on his imagination, memory, and observation. He connects with the landscape at a profound level and translates this depth of feeling and mood into his works. Although the objects depicted in his paintings are elements of the landscape and have a deep personal meaning to him, of equal importance is an exploration of light, form, space, and color as it is interpreted through paint. Joseph is a signature member of the prestigious Plein-Air Painters of America and a Living Master with the Art Renewal Center in New York.
Lacuna Galleries | 124 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe | p: 505.467.8424 | cell: 505.919.8932 | www.lacunagalleries.com
Conscious CITY BY BUILDING DESIGN
BY NANCY ZIMMERMAN
A SENSE OF PLACE
any chain hotels in New Mexico give a cursory nod to their surroundings via design clichés like mass-produced vigas, machine-carved wooden details, and vaguely Native American fabrics. They’re actually not bad as far as they go, but these hotel companies are missing a real opportunity to capitalize on the state’s intrinsic appeal: a special blend of cultures both ancient and modern that distinguish it artistically, historically, even spiritually from other places. Albuquerque-based Heritage Hotels & Resorts seeks to rectify that omission by honoring the state’s unique qualities, creating memorable
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experiences for guests and helping them to gain a deeper understanding of New Mexico’s past, present, and future. “More than a hotel company, we’re a cultural preservation company,” says Heritage founder and CEO Jim Long, a descendant of the Aragon family whose presence here dates back centuries. As past president of the board of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and an international trustee of the Prado Museum Foundation in Madrid, Long, who studied architectural design at the University of New Mexico before becoming a cultural entrepreneur, is passionate about New Mexico’s heritage. “I’ve always had a deep concern for the
loss of culture in our state,” he says. “I’m interested in preserving what’s special here and sharing that with visitors. Back in 1999 when we acquired our first property, the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town [ formerly the Sheraton Old Town], most hotels here were national brands. I wanted our properties to express more cultural authenticity, and to do that I realized we’d have to create our own designs.” Long embarked on a renovation of the hotel that embraced the state’s signature blend of Native American, Spanish, and Western aesthetics, reopening it in 2000 to critical acclaim. Since then, the company has acquired an additional seven
JEFF CAVEN, COURTESY OF HERITAGE HOTELS & RESORTS
Cultural preservation gets a boost from an unlikely source: a hotel chain
JEFF CAVEN, COURTESY OF HERITAGE HOTELS & RESORTS
properties, and in December 2014 broke ground for its ninth, Hotel Chaco, located next door to the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. All of them were conceived to tell a story through architecture, decor, landscaping, entertainment, and cuisine, with each focusing on different aspects of the history and cultures of New Mexico. For example, the lobby at Albuquerque’s Nativo Lodge (formerly the Wyndham Garden Hotel) features a towering shaman sculpture, a large powwow drum, and carved wood details like dragonflies and the Hopi sun, while the outdoor spaces are enhanced by totem poles at the entrance and a teepee with a hookah lounge near the pool area. Heritage also commissioned a number of Native American contemporary artists to transform designated guest rooms into “artist rooms” by painting them with original designs, a move that has proved wildly popular among the guests. “Lots of visitors never venture into art galleries, so this is a way to let them immerse themselves in art and perhaps kindle a new interest,” says Long. “We give the artists a budget and offer them carte blanche, with no interference in their design choices. Native artists don’t always have the opportunity to present their contemporary work, so this is a chance for them to do that. We partner with SWAIA
[Southwest Association for Indian Arts], which sends an RFP to artists, who can then apply. We have a committee that reviews the applications, and they undergo a selection process. We’re continuing to add artist rooms, so perhaps at some point all the rooms will showcase the work of Native artists.” This affinity for cultural partnerships has evolved over the years to become a key feature of every Heritage property, says Long. “All our hotels support local organizations, nonprofits, and/or scholarship programs, and we donate a portion of revenue from every room night to culturally and artistically significant endeavors.” At Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe, Heritage works with the Chimayó Cultural Preservation Association to highlight that village’s intriguing blend of spirituality and lowrider culture. The hotel’s popular Low ‘n’ Slow Lowrider Bar honors the village’s creative tradition of painting and decorating vintage cars, a practice that has its roots in the early Spanish settlers’ penchant for ornamenting their horses’ bridles, saddles, and stirrups. The rooms and suites feature original artwork and furnishings created by more than 70 local artists. “We initially met with the Chimayó community to get their blessing to tell their story,” says Long. “And we’ve created a program, Los Maestros, to
link village elders with younger residents to share their oral histories of the community to reinforce cultural continuity.” Heritage’s other Santa Fe properties also offer distinctive perspectives on culture. The Lodge at Santa Fe launched its Heritage Performance Series to showcase performing artists like Native American musician Robert Mirabal, comedian Goldie Garcia, and renowned flamenco dance companies, among others. The Hotel St. Francis works with Cornerstones Community Partnerships to support their restoration of the Chapel of San Miguel as well as other historically significant churches, schoolhouses, WPA buildings, penitente moradas, and Native American religious structures. At the Eldorado Hotel & Spa, the preservation partner is the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, the only museum in the country dedicated to exhibiting and interpreting the art of the Spanish Colonial period. The newest Heritage property is Palacio de Marquesa, formerly Casa de las Chimeneas, in Taos. This collection of eight guest rooms and suites honors the contributions of the noble women of Taos—Mabel Dodge Luhan, Millicent Rogers, Agnes Martin, Dorothy Brett, and others—through decor and artwork reflecting their unique personalities. The Palacio partners with the Harwood Museum of Art, whose mission is
Nani Chacon’s artist room at Albuquerque’s Nativo Lodge, Creation at Dawn. Opposite: The lobby of Santa Fe’s Hotel St. Francis, designed by Kris Lajeskie to suggest the serenity of a monastery.
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Each of the rooms at Nativo Lodge features custom paintings and murals by a Native artist. Top, left to right: Michelle Lowden painting her Sunset’s Reflection; Jaque Fragua’s Love Movement; the exterior of Nativo Lodge. Center, both photos: Ehren Kee Natay’s artist room, Keeva. Bottom, left to right: Directed, by Rose B. Simpson; Rhett Lynch in his artist room, Hózhó. 68
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COURTESY OF HERITAGE HOTELS & RESORTS; OPPOSITE: LEO YORK PHOTOGRAPHY AND JEFF CAVEN, COURTESY OF HERITAGE HOTELS & RESORTS
to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the arts of Northern New Mexico. The Las Cruces member of the group, Hotel Encanto, offers Spanish Colonial grandeur in both its interior and exterior spaces, and has adopted the Rio Grande Theatre as its cultural preservation project, supporting this nonprofit’s performing arts and education. The next property to join the group, Hotel Chaco was conceived as a luxury hotel that will honor Native American spirituality. “We hired the architecture firm Gensler, which is known for transformative design and considered one of the top hotel design firms in the world,” says Long, “and we sent them to Chaco to experience the inspiration behind the concept for this property. We wanted to capture the poetic qualities of Chaco Canyon in a historically relevant but modern experience. Ancient masonry techniques have been incorporated into this project. Like Chaco Canyon, this hotel is being constructed so the property’s solar orientation can make the most of the heat in the winter and the coolness in the summer.” Adam Gumowski, design director at Gensler, says, “Heritage’s conceptual vision for the hotel is a one-of-a-kind property that embraces the spirituality, sensibility, and legacy of the indigenous ruins of Chaco Canyon, while simultaneously striving for a contemporary sophistication.” A large part of culture in New Mexico has spirituality at its heart, and religious iconography is a part of its artistic legacy. While the decor of some of the properties includes objects of faith like handmade crosses and, in the case of Hotel St. Francis, monastic interior design, it’s not Heritage’s intention to promote any particular belief system. “Religion has been an important part of the local Hispanic culture for centuries, and we want to reflect that aspect,” says Long. “You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the serenity of a monastery or the talent of local artisans who lovingly craft traditional symbols of their faith. It’s a cultural expression.” Another of the company’s initiatives is the Local Treasures program, which works with restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, and attractions to offer all guests a 15 percent discount as they experience the best of
A sculpture of a shaman guards the lobby at Nativo Lodge.
local goods, services, and activities. Heritage undertakes other culturally related projects as well, providing financial support and leadership for diverse efforts. It reestablished the historic Montezuma Ball in Albuquerque, originally begun in 1902 and inspired by a book written by former Territorial Governor Lew Wallace, to support
New Mexico charities, and has assisted in the development of various retail stores featuring traditional New Mexican products. It has contributed to programming initiatives for the KiMo Theatre to help revitalize downtown Albuquerque and spearheaded the formation of the Friends of the KiMo Foundation; and it contributed funds for TREND Spring 2015
Conscious CITY BY BUILDING DESIGN
advantages here in New Mexico that no other place has, and for too long these advantages have been ignored. There’s a bigger opportunity here for the state as a whole to define its uniqueness—culturally, historically, geographically.” The world of travel is changing, he notes, and people are increasingly looking for more authentic experiences, eschewing the sameness of corporate chain hotels and the standard shopping-sightseeingdining circuits in favor of a richer, more
in-depth adventure. In part, says Long, this desire for authenticity may be a response to an increasingly technological world. “The experience needs to be unique and dynamic, not like visiting a museum,” he says. “Technology can facilitate that, but it can also make things impersonal, so the companies that succeed must link technology with humanity, to let the technology intersect with art and culture. That’s our goal at Heritage. Ultimately, we need to feed our souls.” R
RENDERING BY GENSLER, ALL COURTESY OF HERITAGE HOTELS & RESORTS
the publishing of The Plazas of New Mexico, by Chris Wilson, Stefanos Polyzoides, and Miguel Gandert. It also created Heritage musical CDs featuring New Mexican musicians and contributed to the renovation of the historic Raul D. Dominguez Memorial Garden at UNM’s Zimmerman Library. The philosophy driving all this activity is a simple one: “To preserve culture we must advance it,” says Long. “I see myself as a cultural editor, and our company as a community leader. We have so many
Heritage Hotels & Resorts Founder and CEO Jim Long. Right: a rendering of Hotel Chaco, currently under construction in Albuquerque. Top: The Lowrider Bar at Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe. A woven tapestry by renowned weaver Irvin Trujillo of Chimayó adorns the lobby. 70
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Hovering amongst the trees, Capella Marigot Bay Resort in St. Lucia glows like a jewel in the evening light.
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Pacheco Park: Design District At the heart of Santa Fe’s Design District is Pacheco Park, an inspired community of businesses offering a superb array of retail, services and lifestyle options. From the city’s most renowned design shops and providers, to high-end and custom furnishing and fixtures, Pacheco Park offers one-stop access to all your design, new construction, remodeling, and landscaping needs. Including retail and services, you’ll find world-class yoga, a water treatment company, a full-service salon and a healthy, innovative eatery. Pacheco Park provides centrally located office, retail and customized space for Santa Fe’s most successful and dedicated businesses and entrepreneurs. Come and discover the Design District for yourself.
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A Northeast Heights couple falls under the spell of a Bart Prince窶電esigned home BY RENA DISTASIO | PHOTOS BY ROBERT RECK
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People have a tendency to nickname Bart Prince homes. Some of the names have become so ubiquitous, you can navigate certain parts of Albuquerque by using them as landmarks: “Once you hit the Spaceship House, you’ve gone too far.” “You know where the Snail House is? I’m a couple blocks down.” “That happens a lot with my buildings,” says Prince, “they get named after the fact.” While the architect does not design buildings to look like anything other than what they are—completely unique constructs— the eye tends to seek the known in the unknown, the organic in the otherworldly. Even though it hasn’t received as much press as other Bart Prince properties, the far Northeast Heights home he built in the early 1980s for his high school buddy Steve Walley, Walley’s wife, Nancy, and their two young sons, also acquired a nickname: the Airplane House. Or at least that’s what the realtor told Jesse and Daleen Luehring when the couple first looked at the property. Maybe because Steve was an air-traffic controller, it was easy to assume a correlation. Or perhaps because a bird’seye-view drawing of the house reveals a certain jetliner sleekness, with its cockpitlike central living area and atria that jut out like wings. In fact, Prince never intended to mimic an aircraft of any kind. “I don’t even think it was subconscious on my part,” he says. Still, who can blame realtors for spinning a bit of romance? Shilling the potential of, say, an outdated property is one thing. But trying to inspire prospective buyers to imagine life inside a custom home that does not follow the known conventions of residential home design? That’s a tougher sell. Sure enough, when the Walleys’ son Eric put his childhood home up for sale after the death of his parents and brother and moved to Florida, the property languished on the market for nearly three years. 78
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Then the Luehrings took their first tour. The couple had driven by many times en route to visit Jesse’s mom, who lives in the neighborhood, and eventually the house that Daleen said she initially hated became something of an obsession. In November 2013, a week after first touring the home, they made an offer. They moved in a month later. The Luehrings are young professionals raising two small children, as were the Walleys. Jesse was born and raised in Albuquerque, and Daleen arrived in New Mexico as a teenager to attend the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell. Both love the city and have no desire to live anywhere else. But when they outgrew the small Ridgecrest home they’d purchased at a discount and refurbished, like the Walleys they knew they didn’t want a conventional new home. “We’re just not cookie-cutter-house people,” says Daleen. Still, says Jesse, there were practical factors to consider: “Four bedrooms and a three-car garage and a big lot and a good school district,” he says, laughing. “And then, of course, you want it for an affordable price.” The Walley house would turn out to meet all their criteria. Sitting on just under an acre of land in North Albuquerque Acres, tucked partially into the earth and featuring a façade of alternating pale ivory and reddish slump block capped by a sharply angled roofline, the home seems almost fortress-like. The interior, however, is all light and air, dominated by a central living space that’s bookended by the kitchen at its eastern end and the living room at its western. Slump-block pillars run the length of each side of the main room, marking the transition to the secondlevel ground-floor atria, which the Walleys turned into lush indoor gardens. Situated an additional step down from the southern atrium—now below ground—are the master bed and bath, another bathroom, and the three bedrooms—all defined within the space, yet lacking conventional walls. Stone, wood, and tile comprise the home’s structure, while sunlight gives it dimension: it
beams through windows and skylights and filters through the pillars, alternately casting shadows and throwing surfaces into relief. The overall effect is warm but also reverent, like the interior of a church. As beautiful as it is, it does not seem like the typical starter home for a young family. “Steve and Nancy did not live like most families,” Prince explains. “They didn’t want everything shut up into separate rooms. [They wanted] an open f loor plan, with spaces that opened up into other spaces. One of our ideas was to design the house as a kind of armature, a framework that could be adjusted as their lives changed—for instance, they could put in either shutters or glass between the rooms and open spaces for more privacy. But they never needed it.” Jesse, a civil engineer, was instantly fascinated by the layout, as well as by the materials and their placement. “As someone who likes to build and fix things,
I was impressed with how incredibly wellbuilt it is.” Since he and Daleen had also inherited a briefcase full of original documents pertaining to the construction of the home, along with Prince’s meticulous drawings, they naturally brimmed with questions and were thrilled to discover that Prince was amenable to meeting them. Prince arrived for the meeting with an original model of the home in hand. While he and Jesse talked pros and cons of various materials, Daleen, who works as a coordinator for the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, shared her emotional, almost visceral response to her first tour of the home. “Jesse kept looking at pictures of it online, but I couldn’t believe he was so interested. Finally, though, I saw the potential. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. When we actually went to look at it, that was it. I walked in and just absolutely loved it. Pictures can’t explain this
Bart Prince (left) with Daleen and Jesse Luehring, the new owners of the home Prince built in 1983 in what is now called North Albuquerque Acres. Bottom: One of the things that attracted the Luehrings to the home was its bright and open floor plan. According to Prince, a light-filled space was a must for the the original owners. “They didn’t want a house with just holes cut out for windows.”
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house. I don’t think that anybody is able to fully grasp just how amazing it is until they are here, in its glory.” Prince smiles at the comment. “Somebody was asking about taking pictures, and I said that it never really stops to have its picture taken. That’s actually my thinking about architecture in general anyway. It shouldn’t just be an object that you can immediately define and understand. There ought to be kind of a mystery about it, sort of like a great symphony. As many times as you hear it, there’s always something new you get out of it—that’s what I think any great work of art ought to do.” Of all the high arts, however, architecture is the only one with a continual interplay of the practical and the aesthetic. In Bart Prince’s world, the two are one and the same. In a realtor’s world, well . . . Jesse and Daleen, for instance, were immediately warned about the home’s “privacy issues.” Prince laughs. “I’ve heard it all by this time, but one of the realtors—they were talking to a group that came through as part of an open house—they said, well, one of the positives of this house is that it was designed by Bart Prince. And one of the negatives is that it was designed by Bart Prince.” Some attempts were made to homogenize the home, including painting over the original alternating colors of slump block
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TOP: COURTESY OF BART PRINCE
The Luehrings discovered their purchase also included nearly all of the original paperwork for the home, including Prince’s meticulous drawings, like the floor plan, reproduced above. The couple plans to frame several of these drawings to hang on the walls in the north atrium, which they will convert to an entertainment room. Right: The south side of the house is tucked into a berm, on top of which native grasses grow wild. Opposite: looking east from the dining area into the kitchen, whose halfdome-shaped ceiling was originally constructed entirely of glass. The room features Prince’s original cabinetry, although the Luehrings replaced the appliances and backsplash.
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Meeting with the architect of the home they fell in love with—and learning the history behind its construction and design—was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Luehrings. Left: Some of the changes from the original construction and design include a uniform coat of paint for the once-bicolor interior blocks. In addition, the atria were at one time lush with plant life up to the skylights, and the conventional front door was originally designed by Prince as a heavy wooden panel that opened not on a hinge but on a pivot.
of the interior walls and pillars. Prince can only guess that these changes were made at the request of the original listing agent. “Seems that most people who are looking for a house want everything to be tan or white,” he says. “I don’t know why. The house just had so much more life with that alternating block—Steve and Nancy loved it. But some people just . . . I don’t know if it’s preconception or that they expect the outside to be different from the inside. Whereas I’m trying to make it one thing, like an organism, which is not going to change as soon as you move inside.” Given that the home was built more than 30 years ago, other parts did need updating. The Luehrings installed new appliances, modernized the kitchen and bathroom fixtures, and will eventually redo the master bathroom, which features a single small tub, as well as convert one of the atria from a garden into an entertainment space. They also completed the backyard landscaping at the end of the summer, and plan to start on the front in the spring. The couple got a kick out of learning that while Nancy loved the idea of the inside gardens, neither of the Walleys was interested in watering outdoor plants or cutting grass. Prince explains, “Steve and I used to mow his parents’ lawn when we were in high school, and then we’d go over and mow my parents’ lawn. I remember, even then, him saying, ‘Never again.’ So one of the first things Steve said when talking to me about designing them a home was, ‘Remember what I said about lawns?’” What Daleen once thought of as “Bart’s forgotten child” now welcomes a new generation of caretakers to build their lives inside its walls. Some detail work remains to be done, but otherwise, the Luehrings love their Airplane House just the way it is. “This is a beautiful home,” says Daleen, “warm and inviting. We are so thankful to have the opportunity to not only live here but to also make it our own. And we never want to leave.” R
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Saveur means taste, and the name says it all.
Bernie and Dee Rusanowski, owners of Saveur Bistro in Santa Fe. Top: spinach quiche with sautĂŠed vegetables, a garden salad, and white wine. Opposite: charbroiled salmon served with beets, butternut squash, and candied pecans; a garden salad; and a glass of Joseph Drouhin Macon-Villages.
204 Montezuma, Santa Fe, New Mexico | 505-989-4200 Open Mondays through Fridays, 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Breakfast, lunch, and catering.
Fresh local ingredients, inspired fusion ďŹ‚avors, and excellent service. A Santa Fe ďŹ ne-dining experience in an airy, contemporary space with a touch of industrial chic.
Photos, clockwise from top left, Kate Russell, Boncratious (3)
Not just a pretty table.
fine wine and dining • decadent desserts indoor and patio seating • private parties 901 West San Mateo, Santa Fe
• Reservations 505-820-3121
ChampagneWishes, New MexicoDreams
BY NANCY ZIMMERMAN | PHOTOS BY KATE RUSSELL
Defying all odds and conventional wisdom, the Gruet family has turned locally made sparkling wine into a go-to favorite
t’s not uncommon for young people to come up with wacky ideas to feed their lust for adventure, but their wiser and more experienced parents usually try to talk them out of it. It was just the opposite with the Gruet family: patriarch Gilbert Gruet, who had produced high-quality Champagne in his Bethon, France, family vineyard since 1952, thought it would be exciting to start a branch of his business in America, and ventured here in 1983 to find a suitable location. After determining that land in the California wine country was too expensive, he checked out New Mexico on the recommendation of his French colleagues and purchased some acreage near Lordsburg, in the southwest corner of the state the following year. But because he was busy running the business back in Bethon, he sent his children, Laurent, Nathalie, and Jacqueline, to head up the f ledgling enterprise. Gilbert and his wife, Danielle, returned every six months to help out, but it was up to the kids to realize the potential he saw in this unlikely locale. “My dad was a true pioneer, willing to start something totally oddball in the middle of nowhere,” says Nathalie, who directs the day-to-day business of the winery. “He said that we probably couldn’t make a dent in California, but if we could succeed in New Mexico, we could succeed anywhere in the world. We were very young, in our 20s, and we had adventurous spirits. We had grown up watching John Wayne movies and were fascinated by the Wild West, so the idea of moving to New Mexico was exciting for us. But it was very hard at first.” Indeed, when the Gruet kids first arrived in Lordsburg, they were shocked to find a flat, parched, sparsely vegetated landscape that seemed the polar opposite of the verdant, rolling countryside they had left behind in France. Unable to speak English and unfamiliar with American culture generally and New Mexican culture in particular, they felt as if they had landed on another planet. “The culture shock was huge,” recalls Nathalie, who had come with her then-husband and their four-month-old son, Sofian Himeur. “We lived in a trailer. There were no bakeries, no pastry shops, nowhere to shop other than Kmart. I planted a vegetable garden and a small patch of grass where Sofian could play, but I was afraid to let him because of the rattlesnakes and tarantulas. It was so hot and dry. My sister, Jacqueline, said, ‘Hell, no!’ and went right back to France, but the rest of us stayed on. I think you have to be young and a little clueless, with a sense of adventure in your soul, to make a challenge like that work.” And make it work she did, forming friendships in the community, picking up some Spanish, and polishing her English by religiously watching Little House on the Prairie, whose slang-free dialogue helped her with her basic conversation skills. She quickly discovered that Champagne
The Gruet family. From left to right: Laurent Gruet, Nathalie Gruet, and Sofian Himeur.
New Mexico's poor soil is actually an asset because it forces the vines to dig their roots deep to obtain their sustenance, which concentrates the grapes’ flavor.
and even still wine were considered exotic by the locals, whose beverage of choice was beer, and her typically French flair for fashion ensured that she was invariably overdressed for social occasions like Super Bowl parties, also a new experience. “I had never worn jeans, which is what everyone wore, and at parties they only served beer, which I don’t care for. So after our vineyard’s first release, I started bringing our sparkling wine to those parties.” But that first release was five years in the making, so it was to be quite a while before their new friends were treated to the Gruet product. The whole family pitched in, including Gilbert and Danielle, who arrived to help out. They donned goggles and bandanas to protect them from the blowing dust as they dug holes in the fields, then lay on their stomachs on a flatbed pulled by a tractor as they dropped the vines into the holes. “We’d work all day, then gather around the table to share a meal,” recalls Nathalie. “It was like a family reunion.” Following a lot of hard work and a few costly mistakes, they were finally able to make a reality out of the seemingly impossible proposition of producing fine sparkling wine in the arid expanses of southwestern New Mexico. A particularly good harvest in 1987 led to Gruet’s release of its first Brut and Blanc de Noirs two years later. “We entered our first international wine competition in San Francisco and won two medals,” says Laurent. “We were ecstatic!” Since then, Gruet has won more than 600 medals, and their Blanc de Noirs was ranked number 43 in Wine Spectator’s 2011 list of the top 100 wines in the world. Wine connoisseurs both here and abroad were impressed and intrigued by the Gruet family’s ability to wrest a superior product out of such a seemingly inhospitable landscape. But it turns out that New Mexico’s poor 90
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soil is actually an asset because it forces the vines to dig their roots deep to obtain their sustenance, which concentrates the grapes’ flavor. The higher altitude causes large temperature swings from day to night that make the grapes retain their acidity, and the dry air means that there’s far less rot and mildew, which improves the consistency of the quality of the crop. “Our sparkling wine is very balanced in its acidity, its pH,” says Laurent, who oversees the entire production, from planting to fermenting to bottling. He uses the méthode champenoise, the traditional process that entails a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The first fermentation turns the grapes into wine; the second adds the effervescence by trapping the carbon dioxide. Laurent also insists that the grapes be harvested by hand, a slower, more labor-intensive process that allows the pickers to be more selective, using only the healthiest grapes and inflicting less damage. “The climate is different here than it is in France, of course,” Laurent says, “but the wine is brighter, bolder.” Shortly before he passed away in 1999, Gilbert sampled that year’s release, which his son had smuggled to him as he lay in his hospital bed. “He fell in love with the wine,” says Laurent. “It was the last wine he drank. This is the reason we call it ‘Cuvée Gilbert Gruet.’” Nathalie’s son, Sofian, now serves as Gruet’s marketing manager and brand educator, and he cites his visionary grandfather as his idol. Sofian went straight to work in the winery out of high school, and his long hours
Laurent oversees winemaking process at the Albuquerque winery. Left: High altitude and The Gruet family. the From left to right: large temperature swingsGruet, improve grapes’ flavor and acidity. Laurent Gruet, Nathalie andthe Sofian Himeur
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loading cases and doing the winery’s grunt work prepared him well for his current role, he says. “People think that this is a glamorous business,” he says. “But the only thing glamorous about sparkling wine is drinking it, which isn’t something you do all day while you’re busy planting, harvesting, producing, and marketing it. It takes several years after planting the grapes to get a good enough harvest, and then the product must be aged, so it’s not something you get into if you’re looking for a quick return on your investment. You have to know what you’re doing, and you need a lot of patience and commitment.” You also need to truly love the entire process, as it entails long workdays and many years with no cash flow to get started. “I’m very fortunate to be able to do this work, and I truly love what I do,” says Laurent, who happily puts in 18-hour days at the winery. The Lordsburg experiment lasted some 15 years, but the family decided to sell the land and purchase new acreage near Truth or Consequences, where the land had more slope and the soil was loamier, with better drainage. It was also closer to a water source and to the winery in Albuquerque that Gilbert designed himself, making it easier to visit the vineyard and transport the grapes for processing. “This terroir is one of the best in New Mexico,” says Laurent. After meeting the challenges of growing the grapes and producing the wine, there was still the task of breaking into the market. The first order of business was to determine the price point. “You have to find that sweet spot,” says Sofian. “The cost of production is high—the equipment, the land, the labor, the time involved—so if you want to get your investment back, you have to offer good wine at a great value, priced to sell. For us, that was $7 or $8 by the glass, with the bottles priced a dollar or two lower than, say, Chandon or Mumm. If it’s the same price as brands people already know, they’re not going to take the risk of trying a new brand, but if it’s a little less expensive, they’ll give it a shot. So we did that, and people appreciated the quality and the value. Word of mouth was the best marketing strategy—people would go into stores and ask for it.” In addition to the nonvintage sparkling wines, which use a blend of grapes from different years, Gruet also produces premium vintage sparkling wines 92
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" think you have to be young I
TOP, MIDDLE, AND OPPOSITE FAR LEFT: COURTESY OF THE GRUET FAMILY
and a little clueless, with a sense of adventure in your soul, to make a challenge like that work. "
Nathalie Gruet, Sofian Himeur, Laurent Gruet, Laurent and Nathalie’s nephew Christopher Henrich, and Laurent’s daughter Laura. Top: Laurent and his father inspect the vines in Lordsburg, circa 1990. Center: The family trailer, the first Gruet home in New Mexico. Opposite: Family patriarch Gilbert Gruet and his wife, Danielle. TREND Spring 2015
À votre santé!
ood pairings for sparkling wines typically include such luxury items as caviar, oysters, and foie gras. But in fact, the bubbly goes as well with humble, everyday fare as it does with the sophisticated stuff—everything from fish to fried chicken to corned beef. The reason sparkling wines match so well with so many foods boils down to two key components: salt and fat, which form the flavor foundation for most savory dishes. The wine’s natural acidity cuts through the fat and brightens the flavors of salty food without overwhelming it, offering a nice complexity that doesn’t overshadow the cuisine. For snacks and hors d’oeuvres like popcorn, stuffed mushrooms, or even sushi, try a nonvintage brut or dry rosé. Cheeses, particularly the strong-smelling or high-salt varieties, pair well with demi-secs, which enhance the aromas and provide a pleasantly contrasting texture. Demisecs also bring out the natural acidity and sugar of fruit-based desserts without competing or being cloyingly sweet. Blanc de Noirs is particularly versatile, with enough acidity and large bubbles to handle appetizers like fried mozzarella sticks, main dishes such as game meats, and even desserts like strawberry soufflé. Vintage wines go particularly well with heavier fare like beef or lamb, as their tiny bubbles cleanse the palate between bites to add balance to the meal. When preparing chicken or fish, avoid seasoning with citrus so it doesn’t compete with the wine’s acidity. As for the type of glass to use, it’s really up to you. While classic flutes are great for preserving the bubbles and showcasing the effervescence, many connoisseurs like to use regular wineglasses because they warm the wine up slightly, which brings out its flavors and aromas. In short, there’s no wrong way to drink sparkling wine, so feel free to experiment with the different varieties and food combinations to find the ones most pleasing to you. Gruet Winery personnel will be happy to advise you if you’re unsure, so stop by for a taste. —NZ
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“The culture is definitely changing,” observes Nathalie. “When we first came here, there was a lack of knowledge generally about sparkling wine—when to drink it, even how to pop the cork. In France, from the time I was 12, I was given wine mixed with a little water at meals. There were no sodas, so we drank either wine with water or a little Champagne. It’s a cultural thing. But over time people here have become more comfortable with it, and now when I go to Super Bowl parties, they serve wine along with the beer.” Of course, Nathalie still brings the bubbly, which is no longer considered quite so exotic. It’s been an education process, agrees Sofian. “People are starting to see that it’s okay to have a glass of sparkling wine with lunch or dinner, not just at weddings. It’s a result of having our wines on restaurants’ wine lists, exposing people to it. We’ve made a big effort in the last couple of years, going around the country to show people that we have a sparkling wine to go with oysters, with steak, with dessert. But regardless of whether it ever becomes an everyday drink, it will always be the go-to choice for celebrations and special occasions. The idea of bubbles is festive and fun. You pop the cork and the wine spills out, something that doesn’t happen with still wine. There’s a sophistication associated Marketing manager Sofian Himeur oversees distribution at the winery. Left: Laurent evaluates a sample of sparkling wine. Current distribution is 125,000 cases a year. The with it, too—the fantasy, the beautiful glasses. Gruets hope to double that amount within five years. There will always be a kind of elegance to it.” After celebrating the 25th anniversary of its at a slightly higher price point and even some still wines like first release last year, the family is looking to the future with Pinot Noir and Syrah. “We don’t make these vintage wines new projects, including plans for a downtown tasting room every year, only when we have a particularly great harvest,” in Santa Fe and an exciting new partnership with Santa Ana says Laurent. “Our Grande Reserve and Grand Rosé are Pueblo, which has begun to grow grapes. “We’re pleased to aged almost six years.” work with Native Americans, as they have a strong spiritual With their wines consistently praised for both their high connection to the land, which is essential for winemaking,” quality and reasonable prices, Gruet has gone from issuing says Sofian. “The Pueblo started their first plantings in 2,000 cases annually to its current output of 125,000 cases. April 2014, and we’ve arranged to buy them all. We won’t They have plans to increase those numbers to 250,000 cases really know how the plantings will do until the fourth year, in the next five years and to break into markets in other but they have 190 acres ready to go if this works out. It’s a countries as well. To that end, in 2014 they partnered with great collaboration because they have the land and access Precept Wine, a Seattle-based wine company that provides to agricultural grants, and they need jobs for their people. sales, marketing, and public relations support along with We’re still working on a study of issues like cost per acre, a compatible vision for developing the brand. “They’re also access to water, job creation, and return on investment.” a family-owned company, like us, so it’s a great partnership,” Now American citizens and long since assimilated into says Sofian. the New Mexico lifestyle, Nathalie and Laurent look back This expansion comes at a good time, as sparkling wines fondly on those early, difficult years. “It was great to be a are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. foreigner in a country built by foreigners,” says Laurent of Once limited to special occasions, they’re now finding the initial experience. their way onto wine lists everywhere, not just by the bottle Adds Nathalie, “I love going back to France to visit family, but by the glass as well. but this is home now. We love our lives here.” R
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Lorren Viamonte, Tuscan Sunflowers, Oil on Canvas, 18” x 48”
Chuck Volz , Aspens in the Snow, Oil on Canvas, 40” x 30”
Terrance Guardipee, Eagle Ribs, Mixed Media on Ledger Paper, 36” x 19”
Lorraine Alexander , Chimney Rock with White Horse, Oil on Board, 12” x 24”
713 Canyon Rd. Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 505-988-2966 casweckgalleries.com
Ernest Chiriacka (1913-2010), Returning from the Raid, 1977, Oil on Board, 24” x 36”
Ernest Chiriacka was born Anastassios Kyriakakos in 1913 in New York City, the third of six children born to Portia and Herackles Kyriakakos, who immigrated to America from Xero Cambi, Greece, in 1907. From a young age Chiriacka was drawn to art, often sketching pictures with pieces of charcoal cadged from the wood-burning stove in his home. In 1929, at age 16, he was selected to participate in a program for young artists through the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and from there he went on to study at the Art Students League of New York, the National Academy of Design, and, under Harvey Dunn, at Grand Central School of Art. In the 1930s and ’40s he worked as a commercial artist, designing covers for pulp fiction novels and providing illustrations for magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, Argosy, Ernest Chiriacka Coronet, Collier’s, and American Magazine. He also spent five years in the 1950s painting pinups for Esquire. Much of his work from this period was unsigned, but when he did add his name, it was usually a pseudonym: Acka, Darcy (an Anglicized version of a childhood nickname), A.D., D, or E.C. In the late 1960s Chiriacka transitioned to fine art. Deeply moved by the Incident at Wounded Knee, he turned his focus to Native American and Western subjects. His paintings were shown in galleries all over the country, including the Kennedy Galleries and Grand Central Galleries in New York City and Mongerson-Wunderlich Gallery in Chicago. Despite having been diagnosed with Lyme disease in 1989, Chiriacka was able to paint well into his nineties before passing away in 2010 at the age of 97.
Ernest Chiriacka (1913-2010), On Leave, ca. 1945, Gouache on Board, 19” x 14”
The University of New Mexico’s campus mirrors Albuquerque’s growth from dusty settlement to modern metropolis
BY NANCY ZIMMERMAN | PHOTOS BY ROBERT RECK
ost university campuses in this country hew to a common theme: imposing classical buildings that resemble cathedrals or monastic cloisters surrounding a tranquil quadrangle of grassy expanses and pedestrian walkways. This general perception of the university as a pastoral oasis of reason offers an idealized vision, an implicit promise that a kind of social utopia can be achieved through intellectual endeavor in a peaceful, contemplative setting, unimpeded by the cacophony of the city. And then there’s the University of New Mexico. Like so much in both the city of Albuquerque and the state as a whole, the UNM campus reflects less an Anglicized concept of utopia and more a dynamic timeline of changing perceptions, one that honors the earthen colors and minimal geographies of the region’s ancient buildings even as it experiments with other styles and 98
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trends. At once its finest asset and its greatest challenge, this syncretic mingling of aesthetics, materials, and cultures makes UNM unique in the nation. Like the city that has grown up around it, the campus serves as a kind of living laboratory where key questions about our collective self-definition are asked, debated, experimented with, and, ultimately, asked again. It all began in 1889, when Territorial Governor Edmund G. Ross signed a bill that provided for publicly funded institutions of higher learning, ostensibly to modernize the territory. The creation of a university network was a challenging project in a place where there was virtually no formal education system; the economy was largely a subsistence one, and few residents felt the need for education beyond the primary grades. Nevertheless, in 1892, a three-story, pitched roof, red brick edifice was erected in an area then known as the East Mesa, where the land began to rise upward from the settlements in the valley. At the time it was the
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The Pueblo on the Mesa
Zimmerman Library. Opposite: Scholes Hall, designed by John Gaw Meem, soon after it was built in 1936.
only building on the campus, and it served 75 students who began their classes in the fall of that year. Designed by local architect Jesse M. Wheelock, its styling was Richardsonian Romanesque, based on the work of Henry Hobson Richardson, who designed Boston’s Trinity Church and borrowed from 11th- and 12th-century French, Spanish, and Italian Romanesque architecture. In 1901, when geologist William George Tight became president of the university, he commissioned architect E. B. Christy to design new buildings that would embrace the Pueblo Revival style of architecture as practiced by Mary Colter. Inspired by the ancient cliff dwellings and seeking to reproduce the look of the pueblos, in 1908 Tight directed the remodeling of the main building, today known as Hodgin Hall, to reflect that preference. That same year he also created the university’s first master plan, with a layout that featured treelined avenues, a central library, and an auditorium that appeared to have little to do with the Pueblo Revival style he had originally championed.
At once its finest asset and its greatest challenge, this syncretic mingling of aesthetics, materials, and cultures makes UNM unique in the nation.
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Tight’s rudimentary plan, never fully realized, was supplanted in 1915 by architect Walter Burley Griffin’s “nucleus plan,” which was conceived as a “compact, continuous pueblo” organized around quadrangles and featured horizontally stacked forms that bridged Pueblo Revival and Prairie Style, with a few references to Mayan building thrown in. But Griffin had submitted his plans from Australia, where he was working on Canberra’s capitol, so architect Francis Barry Byrne managed the project locally and took it upon himself to shift the style from Revivalism to Modernism, keeping only the tightly clustered courtyard buildings, whose shapes created more of a plaza than a quadrangle. Ultimately, neither Tight’s nor Griffin’s master plan was fully implemented, and the campus shifted briefly to a kind of Pueblo Deco style, then back to Revivalism, again mixing the Pueblo and Spanish Colonial motifs reminiscent of Tight’s vision. That style was further refined in 1929 by Miles Brittelle, who designed the President’s House. A particularly significant period began in 1933 with the arrival of John Gaw Meem, who adapted premodern forms to new materials and remained the unofficial university architect until 1959. Meem managed to create the illusion of the sculptural quality and sense of mass and thickness of the traditional Spanish and Pueblo architecture but used brick, tile, and reinforced concrete blocks rather than adobe. “Revivalist movements tend to emphasize the appearance of
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Zimmerman Library interior with its original front desk, circa early to mid1940s. Opposite top, left to right: Scholes Hall, School of Law, Hodgin Hall, George Pearl School of Architecture and Planning. Opposite middle, left to right: overview of UNM mall with Student Union Building in foreground, Student Union atrium. Opposite bottom, left to right: detail of the Education Building, School of Law entry.
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things,” explains Christopher Curtis Mead, Emeritus Regents’ Professor at UNM’s School of Architecture and Planning. “Meem’s buildings are actually modern structures, but he worked very hard to make them look like they were made of adobe, with those typical sculptural profiles. You can’t really build large modern structures out of adobe because it’s just not economically feasible. It’s too labor-intensive, of course, but it’s also difficult structurally. Complex spaces like the Zimmerman Library, one of Meem’s early designs and one of his finest, is a multistory structure with huge interiors— there’s no way you could build it out of adobe. So Meem figured out how to create a convincing adobe look, and others were able to use that knowledge. The Alumni Memorial Chapel, for example, is made of concrete blocks, but it looks like adobe and is very convincing. I think that’s Meem’s brilliance.” Mead points out that one of the reasons Meem was able to accomplish what he did was the fact that these building were built during the Great Depression, funded by federal money directed at public works. “They had $350,000, which was a lot of money at the time, and labor was cheap because everybody was looking for a job,” he says. “You can’t do that anymore. It makes these buildings that much more special. We should treasure them.” Not least, apparently, because subsequent attempts to accomplish what Meem did have met with somewhat less success. “Dane Smith Hall, for example, is a product of the ’90s, and it’s basically covered with sheetrock and an acrylic stucco, which is basically an exterior sheetrock,” says Mead. “They tried to make it look like a John Gaw Meem building, but these Postmodern simulations are not convincing—the careful sculpting of the details, the execution, just aren’t there. You can’t build like Meem anymore. Even he himself couldn’t in today’s economy.” While Meem is credited with shaping the look of UNM’s “pueblo on the mesa,” as it was nicknamed, Mead cautions that it’s a severely limited view of the campus. “The more something is written about and discussed, the less people look carefully at the work, and instead they see what they expect to see. I think that’s partly what goes on with the UNM campus; people expect to see the pueblo on the mesa, which is John Gaw Meem, so that’s what they see. But if you actually look at what’s there, there’s a lot of other stuff, a lot of modern structures, not just Meem’s Revivalist style. A whole series of buildings are clearly products of the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and beyond—modern constructions.” A new, postwar generation of architects had begun a shift away
from the romanticized vision of New Mexico’s history as early as 1948, and the Modernist era truly began on campus in 1959, after architect John Carl Warnecke’s San Francisco firm was commissioned to produce the first official master plan since the one from 1915–1918. The turn to Modernism gained force in the early 1960s after Meem’s retirement, when Van Dorn Hooker was appointed the first official university architect. He contracted California landscape architect Garrett Eckbo to implement the Warnecke plan in 1962, and the local firm of Flatow, Moore, Bryan, & Fairburn designed the new College of Education Complex, whose clustered buildings and interior courtyards echoed the Spanish Colonial flavor of Meem’s buildings but used Modernist abstractions and industrial materials that were more in line with the new thinking taking hold on campus. Warnecke’s plan called for converting the essentially urban campus intersected by streets into a pedestrian village organized around quadrangles separated by open spaces. Eckbo objected, pointing out that in a quasidesert climate, you don’t want large open spaces that provide no respite from the relentless sun. So he added a water feature, the duck pond, in an attempt to make it more like New York City’s Central Park, and planted trees to shade the pedestrian malls as much as possible. “So that’s really why the campus looks the way it does today,” says Mead. “You had buildings facing streets, but then they took out the streets and planted trees and turned them into malls.” You also have the dynamic tension between the Revivalist style, which emulates the ancient form of adobe architecture by disguising the materials, and the Modernist approach that exposes and celebrates the materials. Antoine Predock’s School of Architecture and Planning building (2008) is a prime example of this latter approach, designed as much to teach its students the practicalities and mechanics of structure and materials as it was to convey the beauty of form. Part of UNM’s uniqueness is its ongoing dialogue about past, present, and future, a conversation that addresses the legacy of the region’s prehistory and explores ways to honor its layered cultures while adapting to modern life—a kind of critical regionalism that exalts a sense of place. Unlike the ivied halls and classical architecture of other universities around the country, which return us to an idealized past, UNM’s development chronicles a progression of thought and style that keeps the past alive while embracing a future rich with potential.
Part of UNM’s uniqueness is its ongoing dialogue about past, present, and future, a conversation that addresses the legacy of the region’s prehistory and explores ways to honor its layered cultures while adapting to modern life.
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HODGIN HALL Also known as the Main Building, Administration Building, Alumni Building, and UNMâ€™s first building, Hodgin Hall was built by architect Jesse Wheelock in 1890â€“1892 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style common to many institutional buildings of the time. It included a steep, timber-framed roof, first-floor windowsills and lintels, and an arched entryway. But the site was exposed to the elements and vulnerable to the wind, which threatened the thin brick walls and multiple windows. The walls were stabilized in 1901 with wroughtiron rods, but the problems continued. In 1908 architect E. B. Christy removed the roof and gables, filled in the arches, and covered the brick with stucco. He also added brick buttresses as well as balconies and portales decorated with projecting beams and corbels, in keeping with the new plan to embrace a Pueblo Revival style. The main entrance was remodeled again in 1957 by John Gaw Meem. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, after which it was restored to the 1908 style that we see today.
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ZIMMERMAN LIBRARY Considered one of John Gaw Meem’s finest buildings, the library, built in 1936–1938, followed a modified Spanish-Pueblo style that avoided a literal expression of indigenous building styles. This gave Meem the freedom to add elements better suited to its modern-day uses, such as a stacked tower with vertical piers featuring decorated concrete spandrels. Inside, he created expansive reading rooms inspired by the singlenave spaces of Spanish Colonial churches, effectively fusing the spiritual with more contemporary notions of secular enlightenment. The wooden beams are in fact made of reinforced concrete clad with wood boards whose decorative motifs were carved by Native American artists. The exterior also reflects the style of mission churches, which Meem accomplished by creating double walls of brick. The library was expanded in 1963 by architect George Pearl, who reoriented it by creating a new entrance and circulation area on its south side and adding four floors of open stacks. Although Pearl followed the Spanish-Pueblo style, he was unable to reproduce the craftsmanship of Meem’s original effort because of financial limitations. In 1973 a third expansion, by Hal Dean, featured dramatic sculptural forms set off by deeply recessed windows. 104
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SCHOLES HALL Also known as the Administration Building and Laboratory Building, Scholes Hall was John Gaw Meem’s first building for UNM, commissioned by president James Fulton Zimmerman and funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Administration for Public Works to the tune of $250,000, an enormous sum at the time. Completed in 1936, it marked the codifying of the university’s Spanish-Pueblo style and was loosely modeled on the 17th-century mission church of San Esteban del Rey at Acoma Pueblo. With a three-story central block similar to the church’s façade and flanked by wings that recalled the adjoining cloister, it was constructed of brick, hollow clay tile, and reinforced concrete but appears to be made of the typical ledgestone, clay mortar, and timber of centuries past. The exterior load-bearing walls bore a thick coating of stucco laid over metal lath to emulate the look of the battered and buttressed walls at Acoma, while the window façades of the two wings use a reinforced concrete frame finished with concrete spandrel panels and lintels adorned with stylized Indian motifs. It has been remodeled three times and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
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COLLEGE OF EDUCATION When Max Flatow designed the eight-building complex in 1961, its International Modernist style marked a startling departure from the Spanish-Pueblo style that had prevailed on the campus for decades. Flatow’s post-and-beam structures of reinforced concrete were enclosed by steel and glass curtain walls or precast concrete slabs; their asymmetrical, centrifugal composition created a sharp contrast to Meem’s centripetal symmetry. Although the closed exterior masses that wrapped the interior courtyards recall traditional Spanish Colonial courtyard buildings, the tilted slabs of precast concrete that enclosed the buildings merely suggest the contours of adobe rather than imitate them. Set partly below ground in a symbolic reference to Pueblo ceremonial kivas, the circular, domed Kiva Auditorium sits alongside the entry plaza, while the education labs and home economics building share a courtyard. An office block that ran between the forward and rear courtyards was demolished in 2003–2004 because of faulty foundations, and the industrial arts building was altered and enlarged in 2008–2010 to become the Collaborative Teaching and Learning Building.
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STUDENT UNION BUILDING
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When it was first built in 1958–1959, the building followed the late-era Meem style, characterized by simplified detailing in keeping with the reduced budgets of the time. It was designed to serve UNM’s 7,000 students, a number that would grow to nearly 25,000 by 2001. Subsequent renovations sought to preserve the traditional style while embracing new materials and aesthetics to meet the needs of a changing student population. The first renovation, undertaken in 1976–1977 by Antoine Predock, included the addition of a new entrance and a curved stair tower at the south end. Predock based these on regional traditions but eschewed Meem’s historicist detailing, instead emphasizing modern materials and construction methods through elemental massings and overscaled concrete lintels. In the 2003–2004 renovation, architect Van Gilbert, who had started out in Predock’s firm, gutted the interior and rebuilt it as a kind of mall, a style still in vogue today. The design is intended to maximize student interaction and provide a light, airy environment for studying and socializing. The contemporary lines include an interior staircase reminiscent of the kiva-step design and other stylized elements that also recall traditional Southwestern motifs. The exterior remains unchanged, keeping its original Southwestern aesthetic.
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GEORGE PEARL HALL School of Architecture and Planning
TOP: KIRK GITTINGS
Architect Antoine Predock attended UNM from 1954 to 1960, and he was excited when he was invited to join a competition to design the new School of Architecture and Planning. Once he won the competition, it took eight years, from 2000 to 2008, to complete the project because of changing budgets and the addition of a library. His intention was to design a building that would teach students about architecture, which he accomplished by creating interwoven planes, spaces, and volumes that demonstrate complex relationships and expose the building’s structure and mechanical systems. He created cohesion through the building’s massing and color, which he said “relate directly to the stepped forms and the earth-colored stucco that define . . . the campus.” Merging this sense of critical place with the tectonic expression of 1960s Modernism, he crafted tinted walls that recall the cliffs of Canyon de Chelly and the walls of Chaco Canyon, a modern interpretation of an ancient landscape. The building’s overall design facilitates interaction and sociability; the courtyard descends beneath the building, and the floors are angled in such a way that you can look through to the upper floors from the gallery. Predock’s idea was to let students see how you organize space, so that the various floors aren’t just “pancakes” but actually weave the space together. The expansive staircase was conceived not merely to get people from one floor to another but to provide room for people to socialize as they crossed paths, as staircases tend to be where a lot of the social life of a building happens. The building’s cantilevered façade, a plenum wall of cast-in-place reinforced concrete, was conceived to be a memorable way to present lessons of construction and a commentary on architecture’s role in shaping our world. R
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It Takes a Village A traditional farming community thrives within a modern-day metropolis
BY GUSSIE FAUNTLEROY
n early 2004 the Los Ranchos de Albuquerque mayoral election was down to the wire, with candidate Larry Abraham ahead by a hair. When a recount was called, the results held: Abraham took the contest by four votes. Eleven years later, it might be hard to imagine the well-respected, 61-year-old mayor—since then twice reelected—earning his post by such a slim margin. Yet at the time many did not share or understand Abraham’s ideas for the North Valley community, a semirural pocket of agricultural tradition and rich history surrounded mostly by the urban landscape of greater Albuquerque. As it turned out, the mayor’s goal was both effective and astute: preserve the community’s beloved age-old character by running its government like a cutting-edge, 21st-century business. >
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Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, as seen from the air. Opposite: Guests at Los Poblanos enjoying a meal prepared onsite and served under the grand portal at the La Quinta Cultural Center, originally the propertyâ€™s ranch house. In 1932 former owners Albert Simms and his wife, Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms, commissioned John Gaw Meem and numerous WPA artists and craftspeople to renovate the ranch house, with gardens designed by Rose Greeley. La Quinta served for many years as the center for the Simmsâ€™ cultural and educational initiatives.
Today it is hard to find disagreement with Abraham’s vision among the 7,000 Los Ranchos inhabitants, a comfortable mix of families with deep-rooted ties to the land, business owners, entrepreneurs, retirees, and those with the means to enjoy high-end properties along such cottonwood-lined stretches as Rio Grande Boulevard. Before his election, the sense of identity and pride of place that motivated the village’s incorporation almost 60 years ago had gradually faded through growth and development. Now it is once again alive and strong. A significant reason for that shift has been a concerted push to brand Los Ranchos as a separate entity with its own distinctive history and character. Thanks to the efforts of Abraham and others—in particular, business owners who hopped on the mayor’s bandwagon—the village is establishing itself as a destination while working hard to preserve its semirural beauty and charm. “Businesses and residential can go hand-in-hand, as long as we keep the integrity of our sweet little 116
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village and what makes us different, as long as we uphold the beauty of the village and what we hold important,” says Cherie Montoya, owner of Farm & Table restaurant. Montoya grew up in Los Ranchos, in a family of North Valley ranchers and self-sufficient home gardeners reaching back more than 200 years. Born in 1970, she remembers as a kid playing along the ubiquitous tree-lined irrigation ditches that wend their way through the village as part of an extensive system built by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District in the 1920s and ’30s for drainage and flood control from the nearby Rio Grande. For at least two millennia prior to that, despite periodic flooding, the area was a riparian oasis of small agricultural settlements, first by ancient Pueblo Indians and their ancestors and later by Spanish colonists. Between 1850 and 1854, the small plaza of San Jose de Los Ranchos briefly served as the Bernalillo County seat, and many residents still consider the present-day
village the “heart and soul of Albuquerque,” as Abraham puts it. On an even more fundamental level, it is the shared and precious resource of water that sustained settlement in the first place and that still “holds everybody together,” Montoya says. As Albuquerque’s population rapidly grew and spread after World War II, residential and commercial development began encroaching on North Valley farmlands. To protect the area’s rural feel, local residents, including then–Bernalillo County Commissioner Edward Vail Balcomb, incorporated Los Ranchos de Albuquerque in 1958. Located seven miles north of downtown Albuquerque, the village’s 4.4-square-mile area is bounded on its west side by the Rio Grande and extends roughly to 4th Street in the east, Ortega Road in the north, and Dietz Farm Road in the south. Even after incorporation, however, the sense of place that once defined the community continued to be diluted. While its denizens knew they lived in a special place, residents and businesses routinely
THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE: COURTESY LARRY P. ABRAHAM; PREVIOUS SPREAD: PAGE 114, SERGIO SALVADOR, PAGE 115 COURTESY OF LOS POBLANOS HISTORIC INN AND ORGANIC FARM
The Los Poblanos lavender fields. The plants’ essential oils are extracted using a steam distillation process, and those oils are then used in a line of specialty products offered to guests of the farm. Opposite: The bucolic beauty of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque is one of the main attractions of the village.
used Albuquerque as their address, and most described themselves simply as living in the North Valley. Then Larry Abraham decided to run for mayor. Abraham’s own family roots run deep in New Mexico’s agricultural tradition. His grandfather owned a sheep ranch in Socorro County and a general store in Magdalena, where Abraham’s mother was born. Abraham grew up in Santa Fe and earned a business degree from the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management. Based in Albuquerque, he went on to establish and run more than 15 successful businesses in fields including furniture, banking, construction, real estate, and cell phone service, and earned induction into the Anderson School’s Hall of Fame. In 2001 he fell in love with a 13-acre property in Los Ranchos and settled there. During the mayoral campaign three years later, a number of longtime Los Ranchos residents wondered if the newcomer really understood the community’s traditional culture and sense of place. One of those residents was John Calvin, nephew of former County Commissioner Balcomb. Now 61, Calvin grew up in
The village has purchased more than 50 acres, which, along with adjacent land owned by Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque, has created some 200 acres of contiguous open space. Los Ranchos as the “only gringo kid” in the then-tiny village. After living in Spain, Morocco, South America, and throughout the western United States, Calvin returned to Los Ranchos in 1982 and purchased property on Chavez Road NW, about a mile east of Rio Grande Boulevard, which was slated for housing development. There he started a vineyard that officially opened as Casa Rondeña Winery in 1995. Although Calvin had reconnected to his childhood home, his wine bottle labels initially described the award-winning winery’s location as Albuquerque. “We didn’t have the vision Larry had, and he has proved us completely
wrong,” Calvin acknowledges now. That vision encompassed what in fact was a clear appreciation of the area’s special character, along with the acute business and managerial sense to preserve and promote the village for the benefit of residents and local businesses. The mayor’s first goal was a deliberate rebranding of the village, aimed not only at those outside Los Ranchos but also toward its residents. In particular, he strongly promoted use of the full name, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, in all correspondence, village descriptions, business letterheads, publicity, and everyday use within the community. “He gets mad if you don’t have Los Ranchos on your return address,” jokes longtime resident Mike Godwin, owner of Ernest Thompson Furniture and Southwest Spanish Craftsmen (located in Albuquerque, not far from Los Ranchos). “At first I thought, what’s the big deal? But I’ve seen what it’s done, and now I’m one of Larry’s biggest supporters,” Godwin says. As a village trustee in the early 1990s, Penny Rembe was part of an earlier effort to help the village by obtaining a separate Los Ranchos zip code. Rembe and her
family own and run Los Poblanos, a 25-acre historic property on Rio Grande Boulevard, in the heart of Los Ranchos. The property includes an award-winning historic inn, lavender fields, and formal gardens, and is among the most-visited and well-known destinations in the Albuquerque area. Like Abraham, she and a few others recognized the community’s 118
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James Moore, former director of the Albuquerque Museum. The property also played an important role in the area’s agricultural history as a model experimental farm in the 1930s and ’40s. In 1976 the Rembes purchased the property and moved their family there. Since then, the La Quinta building, along with the old milking barn, hay barn, 1930s-era greenhouse, and other historic structures, have been preserved. “This whole time it has been a historic preservation project,” Rembe says. Agriculture and commerce intersect at Casa Rondeña Winery as well, with its lush vineyard, spacious cottonwoodshaded grounds, fine handcrafted wines, and Andalusian-inspired architecture designed by the vintner-owner himself. (Over the past 25 years, Calvin has also set a high standard by designing and building some of the village’s most beautiful highend homes.) The winery draws oenophiles to Los Ranchos from around the country
COURTESY OF CASA RONDEÑA WINERY (2). OPPOSITE: BONCRATIOUS (TOP), AND SERGIO SALVADOR (2)
John Calvin, owner of Casa Rondeña Winery, located in the heart of Los Ranchos. Opposite top: Familyowned-and-operated Dan’s Boots & Saddles has been a fixture in the village since it was established on 4th Street in 1970. Opposite bottom: Farm & Table restaurant and its owner, Cherie Montoya.
need for a clear identity, especially because without it, the village was losing gross receipts tax revenue to the City of Albuquerque. “No one knew we needed to code a sale to Los Ranchos rather than Albuquerque,” she explains. While the zip code initiative was not successful, Penny and her husband, Armin Rembe, applaud the mayor’s achievements along the same lines. Los Poblanos itself is intimately intertwined with the history and culture of Los Ranchos and the state overall. Part of a 1716 land grant, the property housed the 800-acre ranch of U.S. Congressman Albert Simms in the early to mid-20th century. In 1932 the congressman’s wife, Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms, commissioned renowned New Mexico architect John Gaw Meem to renovate the historic ranch house and create La Quinta Cultural Center, now part of Los Poblanos Inn. The structure is “one of New Mexico’s invaluable treasures,” according to
and beyond. It has named its flagship 1629 wine and private club in honor of the year the first wine grapes were planted in North America, smuggled in by Spaniards, and planted south of Socorro, near present-day San Antonio, NM. Even before Mayor Abraham and the push to reestablish Los Ranchos’ identity as an oasis in the midst of a high-desert cityscape, lifelong resident David Montoya was doing his part to preserve the community’s rural character. Twenty years ago, Montoya, a contractor and local small-scale rancher, purchased ten acres off 4th Street to save them from development. Today he raises cattle on eight of those acres, while the other two, leased and farmed by Aimee Conlee and Ric Murphy under the name Sol Harvest, produce vegetables and herbs—all of which end up on plates in the adjacent and aptly named Farm & Table restaurant. Montoya’s daughter Cherie opened the restaurant in 2012 with a menu that changes with seasonal availability and also draws on other local and regional farms, ranches, and dairies. Montoya’s property is thought to be the site of a former stagecoach stop along
Thanks to the efforts of Mayor Larry Abraham and others, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque is establishing itself as a destination while working hard to preserve its semirural beauty and charm.
the historic El Camino Real trade route, which ran from Mexico City to just north of Santa Fe from 1598 to the late 1800s. Fittingly, the trail’s path through the North Valley approximates what is now 4th Street, the nearly 10-mile-long city street along which lies Los Ranchos’ main commercial district. It is lined with small businesses, many locally owned. Some have grown to near-iconic status. Sadie’s of New Mexico, for instance, is considered by many to serve some of the best New Mexican food in the city—and many a local remembers snagging a chile fix at the now-defunct 4th Street bowling alley that served as the restaurant’s first home. Another long-standing landmark is Dan’s Boots & Saddles, established on Central Avenue in 1953 by Dan Christensen as a boot, saddle, and Western wear shop. Feed and farm equipment were later added, and in 1970 the store relocated to 4th Street. Today it is owned and run by Dan’s grandson, Larry Christensen, who has been involved in the family business since his teens. Christensen notes that, over the years, as Los Ranchos property values have risen and horse ownership has become more
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4th Street and is dedicated to keeping the business in Los Ranchos. After commuting from Albuquerque for many years, his family is remodeling a house in the village they can call home. One of the newest North 4th Street businesses is Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse, opened by Vernon and Angel
Sadie’s of New Mexico’s owner Betty-Jo Stafford with Mayor Larry Abraham. Top and left: some shops along 4th Street, the focal point for business in the village. Opposite: Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse owners, Michael Baird (bottom row, middle) and his wife, Kim (at his right), surrounded by their staff.
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TOP AND LEFT: BONCRATIOUS. RIGHT: COURTESY OF LARRY P. ABRAHAM
expensive, the number of horse owners in the village has dropped. Consequently, the store’s horse-related business now draws from a larger geographic region. Most local customers these days come for small-animal feed, Western wear, and other Western lifestyle items. Yet Christensen continues to enjoy the character of
Garcia in 2007 and purchased two years later by Los Ranchos residents Michael and Kim Baird. Because the location lies outside central Albuquerque, it’s less ideal for a business, Kim observes. But with strong marketing and an excellent staff— coupled with efforts to promote Los Ranchos as a destination—the restaurant draws a diverse mix of locals and travelers alike. “The village has made great strides. They’ve made it easy to brand it as a Los Ranchos business,” Kim says. One key to the Los Ranchos turnaround is a commitment by the mayor and his staff to operate village government like a business. In the early 2000s, Village Hall was virtually volunteer run, with relaxed bookkeeping and little professionalism. “The finances were very poor when we took over,” Abraham says. “Bank statements were not reconciled. The books were a disaster.” Since then the situation has reversed. As of late 2014, the village had almost $8 million in reserves. Abraham hopes to use some of that money to purchase additional open space and to revitalize the 4th Street district. The village’s 2020 Plan proposes roundabouts, sidewalks, new lighting, and
other changes to make the street safer and more pedestrian friendly. At the same time, the village government has demonstrated its commitment to preserving the area’s rural character. Since Abraham took office, low-density residential zoning has been enacted, along with such ordinances as fence and property-wall height limits to preserve views. A 280-foot setback was reinstated along the historic section of Rio Grande Boulevard. Farmyard animals, backyard gardens, orchards, and small farming operations are welcome within village limits. Also during Abraham’s tenure, the village has purchased a total of more than 50 acres, which along with adjacent land owned by Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque, has created some 200 acres of contiguous open space. Home to a variety of wildlife, including wintering sandhill cranes, the open space also features walking and biking trails, riverside access, expansive views, and a lush feeling that recalls the area’s farming roots. Of the land now owned by the village, 23 acres that once housed Anderson Valley Vineyards currently hosts the village-run
Agri-Nature Center, which each summer operates a farm camp open to children in grades K–5. The five-day-long camps, held four times in summer and once in spring, involve kids in raising vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and learning about farm animals. Locally grown produce as well as farm and garden products from around the region end up at the Los Ranchos Growers’ Market, one of the largest in the state. Averaging 50 vendors (plus arts-andcrafts sellers) each week between May and mid-November, the market symbolizes the heart of the village’s agricultural spirit. In addition, such local events as Casa Rondeña’s annual harvest and grape stomp and the village’s annual Easter egg hunt and Lavender and Garlic Celebration bring folks together in celebration and fun. A short drive away from this village atmosphere are all the services and urban amenities one could want. “I think it’s ideal,” says Abraham. “It’s close to everything and it’s a spectacular place to live.” “The beauty of this place will continue to be preserved with forethought and care,” adds Calvin. R TREND Spring 2015
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BY ELLEN BERKOVITCH | PHOTOS BY KATE RUSSELL
ZEN AND NOW
The distilled concentrations of Lucy Makiâ€™s shape paintings
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ike her highly constructed paintings, artist Lucy Maki is self-contained and quietly dynamic. Dressed on a cold morning in a flannel shirt and jeans, half-rim eyeglasses magnifying her attentive expression, she immediately communicates a palpable intelligence, along with a sense of reserve. She has a small, sinewy build; one can imagine her bending dexterously over power tools or applying oil paint with precise strokes in the room of her home studio. It’s been almost 30 years since Maki, now in her late 50s, came to live and make art in this modest 700-square-foot dwelling in Albuquerque’s East Downtown neighborhood. The house—nearing a century old and minimal almost to bareness—is where, after receiving an MFA in painting from UNM, Maki broke through to creating “shape” paintings. While it was Jasper Johns’ Flag series, works built out in successive impastoed rectangles, that arguably started shape painting in the early Pop years, Frank Stella notably pioneered its developments. In New York in the late 1970s, Elizabeth Murray took things even further. She sought to translate physical experiences like rock-climbing into tactile paintings, making overlapping, even disjunct, shaped planes that she assembled into freewheeling surfaces lush with color and humor. Maki recalls her own motivation to bust out of the “straight painting” box as boredom with her post-MFA practice. “It became a real chore to go into the studio,” she admits. Then in 1984 she made a breakthrough, which she describes as a kind of communication from the rectangular surface, urging her to free it from the limitations of its boxed-in space. “If the painting wanted to expand out, I would let it out. I would just build and do it as I went.” To build, Maki took up jigsaw and sander and began to create her “shapes,” which exist in the broadest sense of the word as architectonics: protuberances, abutments, objects receding slightly below or peeking slightly above the grade of the canvas surface. There might be bright orange balls, vectoring aluminum rods, thin ledges. In a way, Maki’s painting effects a visual equivalent of a pair of mimes mirroring one another. As soon as one turns in silhouette in front of the other, the symmetry is broken. The gesture magnifies the energies. >
Maki in her Albuquerque studio. On the wall behind her hangs Revisionist II: Mapping the Territory (2014), oil on wood and canvas over shaped support. Opposite: Split Decision (2013), oil on aluminum plate, wood, and canvas over shaped support. TREND Spring 2015
Revisionist III: Perseusâ€™s Shield (2014), oil on wood and canvas over shaped support. Opposite: Satellite (2013), oil on aluminum plate, wood, and canvas over shaped support. By 1998 Maki had reverted to working out her shapes from a basis in the rectangle and to painting in monochromatic black and white, which continues to this day.
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COURTESY OF LUCY MAKI
“The thing that still fascinates me [in the work] is the play between the illusion and the concrete,” she says. Maki envisioned still more changes when she returned home from a trip to Europe in 1990. Having gathered stacks of art catalogs, she was full of ideas, one of which was to try and capture in her painting the patina of time that attaches itself to old objects. And in 1993 she briefly introduced figures into the work. One appears in Melusina, in a kind of shadow box, flanked by text from A.S. Byatt’s book Possession. Although she had “trusted her gut,” her introduction of the figure into what had been strictly nonobjective work was not well received. “Psychologically, it threw me,” she says. The solution came by letting the rectangle again speak to her about how it wanted to expand out, alter. And by ensuring that the adjective “nonobjective” marks a through line, her work’s leitmotif. Though Maki has preferred a black-and-white color palette for many years, umbers, greens, and blues do make appearances. And while she laughs and shakes her head at frequent queries about whether she is or is not Japanese, it is interesting to note that in the beginning of her career, calligraphic strokes predominated in her brushwork. Pattern is something she has always loved. Former Museum of New Mexico curator Sandy Ballatore described Maki’s early work, full of bounding clefs and arabesques, as “decorative abstraction.” (A poster for Ballatore’s signature show, Romantic Modernism, which brought major Ab Ex and Pop Art works to New Mexico in 1994, hangs over Maki’s stove.) The artist’s four-room home neatly reflects a similar predilection for visual simplicity: a polished black floor in the kitchen; an immaculate white claw-foot tub in the bathroom; even a checkered black-and-white tea towel. Inside this concentrated space, multiple personal histories of Lucy Maki’s last three decades touch. The artist inhabits her house. Her art fills it, imparting an essence as well as materiality. In fact, most of the walls are dedicated to art—works in progress and works subject to revision, even if once construed completed. If her work and home exude quietude, Maki lays that feeling in part on a Zen practice she began in 1997. “Zen philosophy has
influenced all the arts,” she says. “Agnes Martin. The beat generation. Ab Ex. The requirement in Zen practice, in meditation, is to have a spherical awareness. There aren’t boundaries or edges on things. The emphasis is always on sensation. That’s what you can trust. The mind is all delusional.” Standing next to some of her newest works in progress, Maki will touch their surface to point something out. She’ll stand slightly aside, as if considering their expansion outward as they create an encircling relationship between object, space, and viewer. Satellite (2013) builds out the rectangle through pleats at the bottom, which in turn fold into a receding architectonic space that introduces a strong slice of yellow to the white-and-gray color palette. Revisionist III: Perseus’s Shield (2014) applies a woven whorl of paint evoking an abstraction of Henri Matisse’s entwined dancers’ limbs. The left edge of the plane cuts away from its support. A slight ledge juts to the right. Revisionist II: Mapping the Territory (2014) has both engaged and restrained the tensions of space inferred by “mapping.” In formal statements, Maki says she consistently applies a requirement that her work be “singular” in a factor of “presence.” Every piece, distinct unto itself. Again, it’s a sensibility reflected even in the smallest of her domestic details: Three yellow pears nesting in thin sunlight. A book of 365 Taoist meditations. Two framed black-and-white photographs, one of her and one of Transcendental painter Florence Pierce, hanging over a doorway. As in art, so in life. The originality of what Maki’s done remarks itself. One perceives a synthesis between conscientious and contemplative living, and the deliberation with which she mines vocabularies of Modernism, from Abstract Expressionism to Pop, Postminimalism to Russian Constructivism. The maturity of the artist is a given, yet Maki hasn’t fallen into a groove. Rather, her art has dared to change, to challenge her and her viewers. One might even suggest that the works are forms of koan—embedding riddles that the artist must solve using intuition, not reason. “Art is nonverbal,” says Maki. “It’s based in sensation.” The sensation that she filters experiences through a fine inner mesh, then shapes them into painting, is unmistakable. R TREND Spring 2015
HOW WE LIVE BY ELLEN BERKOVITCH | PORTRAIT BY KATE RUSSELL STUDIO
Oscar Lozoya explores the threshold between dream and reality, glamour and grit
Hada Muerta (2005), digital image
OPPOSITE: COURTESY OF OSCAR LOZOYA
ou turn into Oscar Lozoya’s South Broadway photography studio across the street from Ray’s auto repair and Albert’s transmission shop. An arched steel entry gate spells out his name, L-O-Z-O-Y-A, in heavy black letters. Their snub-cornered curvature reads slightly Goth, and contrasts a bright October sky. Inside this low-slung building, Lozoya the commercial photographer has practiced his craft for some 30 years. It is also the spot where Lozoya the artist—designer-director of magical realism—has mastered the dreaming up of highly constructed, even glam tableaux vivants of la muerte, the dead. His original and edgy black-and-white pictures became linked with his name long before Day of the Dead celebrations transected U.S. pop culture. Lozoya, the son of parents from Chihuahua, Mexico, grew up in this very neighborhood, one of Albuquerque’s oldest. Day of the Dead is an effective birthright; his family usually spent the November 2nds of his childhood cleaning graves or setting up household altars. “The way I see it,” Lozoya says, “la muerte is a parallel existence to the living.” Oscar’s wife, Jessica—herself a multiple-award-winning photographer—is on hand to greet me. Oscar then steps out, wearing a simple black shirt and jeans. He stands six-feet-plus tall, with a head of hair combed tightly back, his bone structure accentuated by square black eyeglass frames. We sit down at a simple table completely vacated of objects or accessories, a blank slate. As we take in the nearby “exhibition wall,” Lozoya points out that in addition to his fine-art photography, he still does straight-up commercial portraits, many of prominent Albuquerqueans, including its musicians, dancers, artists, and actors. One of them is Steven Michael Quezada, looking rakish in a fedora, who portrayed the doomed DEA agent Gomez, Hank Schrader’s partner, in Breaking Bad. Quezada and other artists, who like Lozoya are from Albuquerque, rank among his longtime pals and collaborators. Taking pictures of his peers is indeed how he got started in photography. “Being that I was a musician, some of my first clients were musicians and bands. I used to photograph their publicity, their album covers, things of that nature, so I started buying darkroom black-and-white equipment, and I just kind of took it from there.” His segue into art was nearly accidental, Lozoya confides. Right around the annual Day of the Dead celebrations in the early 1990s, South Broadway Cultural Center (SBCC) curator Bill Baca invited Lozoya to submit a few photos to his exhibition. The deadline was only three days away. Lozoya had been aiming to find a way out of his musical gigs’ insane hours without sacrificing his creative life. He contacted friends Martin and Bernadette Rodriguez, members
of a local folklórico dance troupe. “Eight people came that night. They brought dancers and costumes. I had ideas in my mind of what I wanted to do, [which was] basically to capture a traditional graveyard scene.” Martin’s “tombstone-looking” props and adept hand with makeup came into play. So did Lozoya’s medium-format Mamiya camera, from which he produced eight photographs that Bill Baca curated into the SBCC show. It was all process-learning at first. “Burning, dodging, densities—I controlled the overall look and feel.” Even at the largest size Lozoya printed, 16" x 20", the gradations of black and white make for impacts both cinematic and intimate. In the composition titled Monarca de la Muerte, for instance, Jessica’s backward-arching head serves as a frame for the cranium of Lozoya, whose eyes gaze straight at the viewer. Her extremely long tresses are combed straight, mapping a passage down, down, down. Are they one person or two? Eros, Thanatos—or both? After about a decade of experimenting with low-key lighting, Lozoya says he began more deliberately striving to emulate the glam photo traditions of such artists as Yousuf Karsh and Hollywood pinup photographer Peter Gowland. Karsh was such a master of portrait lighting (think Winston Churchill’s iconic visage, or Ernest Hemingway in turtleneck) that a London Sunday Times journalist once quipped, “When the famous start thinking of immortality, they call Karsh.” In their own way, Lozoya’s compositions also strip away illusions of time. It’s perhaps fitting how blank, even remote, the studio feels. The empty table, the immaculately furled black seamless, lights and reflectors hung instead of standing. All that goes on during a photo session is over as soon as it transmits to the frame of the picture. The images are compelling: a badass in calavera paint manipulates his Harley “hog” as if abridging the threshold between living and dead. Madona de la Muerte stages a Renaissance-like mother-and-child scene, in which “the bonds of mother and child persist after death,” says the artist. In Hada Muerta, a young girl sits beside a rose petal–strewn pond, wearing frothy tulle and gossamer wings, her lips painted in black sutures. In her hand she holds a butterfly, but the look she gives the camera is defiant, as if daring us to urge her to chomp. Alongside these images, another body of Lozoya’s work stands out starkly: portraits that immortalize homeless men and women—also photographed against black canvas—whom Lozoya knows from right here in the neighborhood. He ticks off some of their names from memory—“Broadway Bob, Patty and Ramon, Al.” But these photos differ from the La Muerte series in one key way. This liminal cast wears no makeup; instead, the fissures and crosshatches that have carved their experiences into their faces render them visibly ancient with suffering. The body of TREND Spring 2015
the veterano, with craters so deep along his rib cage they map a geography of human wound, belies how for all our “shared” humanity, there are far deeper unshared experiences of mischief, chance, or bad fortune. Lozoya explains that the homeless portrait sessions were all voluntary—and he paid his subjects to sit. He also never applied a stitch of makeup or any 130
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embellishment. If their likenesses are a record of life in this neighborhood that he loves, they also dare us to take a harder look across the veil of distance. “[People] walking down the street, they’ll see a homeless person, they’ll look away, move away. In a photograph, they’re able to look at this person as a person and not as something else.” He pauses and then
COURTESY OF OSCAR LOZOYA
COURTESY OF OSCAR LOZOYA (3)
Left to right: La Curandera (1995), digital image from black-and-white silver halide negative; Social Insecurity (2009), digital image; and Monarca de la Muerte (1999), digital image from black-and-white silver halide negative. Right: Oscar Lozoya in his Albuquerque studio. Opposite: Censorship (2009), digital image.
points out the harsh realities for some of his subjects: “You see them in the neighborhood every day, and all of a sudden you stop seeing them. Many of them have passed away.” As one leaves Lozoya’s South Valley studio and turns the car toward home, stark in this postrecession economy are silhouetted houses in bone-scorched lots with satellite dishes bespeaking an everyday mechanism of escape. To the east of the freeway, heading north from Cesar Chavez, a mural depicting Nahuatl gods portrays stoic heads and cleft chins under broad blue skies of creation. As an ancient Nahuan poet wrote, “It is not true, it is not true/that we came to live here. We came only to sleep, only to dream.” The same could be said of Oscar Lozoya’s quiet artworks. R
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ROLAND VAN LOON
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Salty Salsa Cowgirls and Ribs, giclée, 36” x 54”
oland van Loon’s paintings are wildly colorful, sometimes flamboyant reflections of the human experience. In 1991 he arrived in Santa Fe, where he has embraced iconic cultural representations that are not just local but universal in origin. Whether it’s a bull engaging a flamenco dancer or a glowing Virgin Mary illuminating a bar scene, van Loon’s depictions of the tension between love and separation, darkness and light bring exceptional vitality to his abstract realism. As a teen he trained in Honolulu with the great muralist Jean Charlot—a colleague of Diego Rivera’s—and he traces his use of color to this experience. His recently opened studio-gallery at the corner of Agua Fria and Romero is a cornerstone of the budding CAM FAM neighborhood behind the Railyard, which van Loon refers to as Santa Fe’s “mini-Soho.”
Dias de los Muertos at El Farol, Oil on Canvas, 54” x 72”
rolandvanloon.net 505.670.6234 612 Agua Fria Street, Santa Fe trendmagazineglobal.com
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CITY by DESIGN
BY KEIKO OHNUMA | PHOTOS BY BORIL RADOYKOV
Gearing Up Building the better Burque bike experience
hen Vincent Distasio started riding his Peugeot bike around Albuquerque in 1979, he made such a strange, unwelcome sight that motorists would throw beer bottles at him. “The only ones riding then were these ‘racers,’” recalls the jack-of-all-trades, now 76. Drivers were so hostile, he packed his .38, and actually lurked on a side street once to see if a particularly aggressive pursuer would like to come get shot. Yet, convinced of the benefits to wallet, planet, and well-being, Distasio persisted in biking as his main form of transportation for the next 35 years. Albuquerque is much friendlier to bicyclists these days. Complaints center on how many bike paths get interrupted by intersections or vanish altogether—the kinds of disappointments that keep the city from ranking among bike meccas like Portland or Vancouver in the public mind. You can’t shift out of Route 66 car culture overnight. > trendmagazineglobal.com
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CITY by DESIGN
Inevitably, though, Albuquerque has joined the rest of the world in reconsidering biking as a significant form of transportation, for much the same reasons that Distasio discovered. The Duke City has more than doubled its length of bike lanes, trails, and routes, to 500+ miles citywide since 2000—and is set to double that again by midcentury. “Where are they?” drivers may well ask—as will many a puzzled cyclist. Invisible to all but the most dedicated cyclists, at least a third of these routes lie along recreational (“multiuse”) trails, lining drainage channels and busy avenues and cutting across recreation areas. While many are quite scenic, the majority of the routes see little traffic, save those few commuters who have plotted a crosstown course on the Albuquerque bicycle map, or those whose only mode of transport is a beat-up ride strung with plastic shopping bags and flags. Such is 136
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the beauty and bane of biking in Burque: you can get almost anywhere using bike lanes and trails—though you must first decipher how to traverse major gaps where the paths disappear at the freeways, river, and busy crosstown streets. But the city now seems poised to connect those broken pieces, in pursuit of a greener image in the collective imagination. The Bikeways & Trails Facility Plan currently before the city council essentially consolidates bike plans from the last three decades, surveying the current system and proposing how to complete and improve it over the next 50 years. Mayor Richard Berry calls the plan a big priority for his administration. “The goal is to take an already robust trail system and add value and move forward, so the next mayor can build upon that as well,” he told us. “We know the current system does lack continuity. The river can be difficult to cross; major
arterial streets people would like to have more bike-friendly. The plan is trying to balance those needs. There are a lot of voices in the biking community, and we’re trying to work with all of them.” Mayor Berry clearly has had his ear bent by bicycle advocates, of which the Duke City has an impressive number and variety—for these are precisely the complaints one hears from people for whom bicycling is not just recreation or transportation, but practically a religion. Albuquerque’s bicycling “tribes” run the gamut from Lycra-suited racers to singlespeed cruisers, but a particularly vocal segment are cyclists in their 20s to 40s who live or work downtown, and for whom a “bike-friendly” lifestyle anchors a larger ambition to shift communities toward more sustainable forms of development. Lee Ann Ratzlaff is one of them. Coming of age in Portland and San Francisco in the era of bike messengers and Critical
Once an anomaly on Albuquerqueâ€™s streets, Vincent Distasio is now among a growing number of commuters who choose two wheels as their main form of transportation. Top: Although dense and sprawling, Albuquerque is still bikeableâ€”and the city council is working to make the trails more cohesive and accessible.
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CITY by DESIGN
Lee Ann Ratzlaff takes a spin across the Gail Ryba Memorial Bridge. Named for the founder of Bike ABQ, the milelong bridge runs parallel to I-40 over the Rio Grande and links the Westside with 400 miles of city trails. Opposite: The Bear Canyon Arroyo Bridge provides bicyclists and pedestrians easy access across I-25 from the Osuna/San Mateo bikeway. At night, the bridge is lit with 450 LED lighting fixtures custom-designed by Brooklyn-based Tillett Lighting Design.
Mass (a global phenomenon in which cyclists ride together at rush hour on the last Friday of every month), she naturally took to the streets as a student at the University of New Mexico. She finds bicycling in Albuquerque “fun, beautiful . . . awesome,” and would rather bike than drive almost any day. “You get to experience the city in a totally different way—you get connected to it.” Yet Ratzlaff, who founded the Facebook group Bikeburque, says it is not just gaps in infrastructure that keep the city from being Portland or D.C. Casual riders need to feel safe on the streets, which is why Bikeburque organizes events like scavenger hunts, “alley cat” races, and fun rides for children. “Portland is so good at that— you don’t need to be badass to ride there,” Ratzlaff says, “whereas here, you kind of do.” Only when ordinary cyclists ride in the street, she says, will we get “roadways 138
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that aren’t only designed for cars to get one place to another as fast as possible.” Bob Tilley is another downtown enthusiast who has been a solid convert to the car-free lifestyle since 2007. Active in a movement known as ReUrbanate ABQ (on Facebook), he promotes a return to prewar city development, well suited to his “multimodal” lifestyle combining bike, bus, walking, taxi, carpooling, and car-sharing. Tilley believes older areas of the urban core offer potential for revisioning as community gathering spots based around nonmotorized transport, which is cleaner, greener, and more sociable. As evidence, he points to the growing popularity of Bike Valet, which allows riders to check their bikes at events like the Downtown Growers’ Market, Globalquerque!, and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, where a record 3,100 people used it this year. The Complete Streets model of urban design,
which integrates multiple forms of transportation in planning, also has a dedicated following in Albuquerque, he says. Urban planners and bike commuters Valerie Hermanson and Julie Luna of the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) offer two more bike-centric developments that put Albuquerque on the cutting edge: “parquitos” (parklets or pop-up parks) that convert street parking into gathering spots, and the recent launch of Albuquerque CiQlovia. This September event modeled on the global Ciclovia movement closed down the 14th Street “bicycle boulevard” to cars for an afternoon of parades, music, food trucks, yoga, and art. Organized by Hermanson and urban advocate Dan Majewski, the first-year event drew 4,700 people with its promise of “envisioning our future.” Indeed, the infectious enthusiasm of urban advocates for shaping a more hip,
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CITY by DESIGN
Valerie Hermanson (left) and Julie Luna take a break from an afternoon ride along 2nd Street in downtown Albuquerque. As bike commuters and urban planners, they advocate for bike-centric developments that make two-wheeling the city easy, fun, and safe.
attractive, livable Albuquerque makes it clear that bicycling joins beer and Breaking Bad as part of the triumvirate of homegrown surprises that puncture the persistent negativity about New Mexico’s economic prospects. City leaders clearly have an eye on the economic argument for biking, as well as obvious environmental and public health benefits. Cities such as Minneapolis and Memphis have seen strong payoff from investing in bikefriendly improvements as a low-cost way to attract high-tech employers and their young creatives, who shun commuting from the suburbs. Hermanson and Luna note that city government has generally supported ideas like CiQlovia and Complete Streets, and Mayor Berry is throwing his weight behind a major upgrade of bus transit along Central Avenue that will encourage alternative transportation 140
TREND Spring 2015
citywide. Part of the reason is a shift away from road-building at the federal level. City of Albuquerque planner Carrie Barkhurst, who is coordinating the Bikeways & Trails plan, says having a plan in place helps the city compete for federal highway dollars—always a strong incentive in New Mexico. Since 1995, Albuquerque has annually dedicated 5 percent of its public works bond money to bicycle projects. The Bikeways plan foresees additional funding opportunities in matching state funds, municipal bonds, city council setasides, public-private partnerships, and other sources. There is no lack of will at the level of government, cyclists here say. Rather, what keeps people off the streets is New Mexico’s dismal bicycle safety record—including more than 100 cyclists killed statewide since 1989.
Many blame the car culture of the West for a pervasive attitude that bikes don’t belong on the road, so cyclists are to blame when they get hurt. That’s why advocacy tends to focus on improving bike infrastructure, such as lanes physically separated from traffic. Unfortunately, says safety advocate Jennifer Buntz, that only serves to make bikes less visible to cars, and to perpetuate the belief that they are not a legitimate part of street traffic. Buntz is founder of the Duke City Wheelmen, which aims to raise awareness by sponsoring “Can You See Us NOW?” visibility rides, and erecting memorial ghost bikes at the site of fatal crashes. She thinks the emphasis on engineering misses the point, as there will never be enough infrastructure to keep bikes completely safe. Cyclists need to develop the skills to ride in the street, she says. Despite the huge growth in both riders and infrastructure from when she started cycling around Albuquerque 33 years ago, bicycles are even less visible today, Buntz argues, because cyclists lack the skills and confidence to ride anywhere but on a dedicated trail. “We do have this community that is very comfortable riding in the street,” Luna admits, “but we have to recognize that there are people who, for whatever reason, can’t ride in traffic. So this is the way to go—to have the infrastructure. It has to feel safe.” Chicken or egg? Will better infrastructure attract more cyclists, raising motorist awareness and cycling safety? Vincent Distasio believes motorists are so courteous today that cycling is probably safer than driving. “There’s no place I can’t get in Albuquerque,” he adds—though he won’t ride in the street if he can help it. He sticks to sidewalks and bike paths, and thinks cyclists are just plain foolish to ride in the road if there’s an alternative. “They want to challenge cars and say they have a right to be there—and they do,” he says. But bicycling is inherently dangerous and competing with cars is a deadly game, he learned in the 1980s. “You don’t stand a chance. It’s all about staying alive.” R
Downtown Doggie Daycare provides safe, supervised, full and part time daycare with indoor and outdoor play areas. Doggie Daycare is co-located with Companions Grooming (who have been grooming Santa Feâ€™s pets for over 15 years), within walking distance of all the major downtown dogfriendly hotels and the plaza.
239 Johnson Street, Santa Fe Downtown Doggie Daycare: 505-954-1049 Companions Grooming: 505-982-7882 downtowndoggiedaycaresf.com companionsgroomingsf.com
Cynthia Canyon, publisher, and her children, Amber Delgado, UNM math graduate, and Orion Canyon, age 11
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142 TREND Spring 2015
ANTIQUES, HOME FURNISHINGS, RUGS & ACCENTS Casa Nova casanovagallery.com 505-983-8558.........................................24-25 Constellation Home Electronics constellationsantafe.com 505-983-9988..............................................39 Ernest Thompson ernestthompson.com 505-988-1229, 505-344-1994 .....................23 Exteriors Santa Fe exteriorsshowroom.com 505-930-5523..........................................10-11 Moss Outdoor mossoutdoor.com 505-989-7300.........................................14-15 Reside Home residesfe.com 505-780-5658 .............................................27 Santa Kilim santakilim.com 505-986-0340 .............................................26 Southwest Spanish Craftsmen southwestspanishcraftsmen.com 505-988-1229..............................................22 Violante & Rochford Interiors vrinteriors.com 505-983-3912 ............................................2-3 ARCHITECTS, DESIGNERS & LANDSCAPE COMPANIES Archaeo Architects archaeoarchitects.com 505-820-7200.............................................8-9 David Naylor Interiors davidnaylorinteriors.com 505-988-3170............................................144 Marc Coan Designs marccoandesigns.com 505-837-8888 ..............................................37 Samuel Design Group samueldesigngroup.com 575-820-0239 ...............................................7 ARTISTS & GALLERIES Bryans Gallery bryansgallery.com 575-758-9407 .............................................40 Casweck Galleries casweckgalleries.com 505-988-2966..........................................96-97 Christopher Thomson christopherthomsonironworks.com 505-470-3140 ...........................................137 David Copher Gallery davidcopher.com 505-795-7694..............................................64 GF Contemporary gfcontemporary.com 505-983-3707..............................................17 GVG Contemporary gvgcontemporary.com 505-982-1494..............................................35 Giacobbe Fritz Fine Art giacobbefritz.com 505-986-1156..............................................17 Lacuna Galleries lacunagalleries.com 505-467-8424........................................47, 65 Mark White Fine Art markwhitefineart.com 505-982-2073 .............................................55 Meow Wolf meowwolf.com..........................................134 Patina Gallery patina-gallery.com 505-986-3432..............................................29 Roland Van Loon rolandvanloon.net 505-670-5234.....................................132-133 Ronnie Layden Fine Art ronnielaydenfineart.com 505-670-6793..............................................16 AUTOMOBILES BMW santafebmw.com, sandiabmw.com 505-474-0066, 505-884-0066...............4-5, 18 Land Rover landroveralbuquerque.com, landroversantafe.com 505-797-3600, 505-474-0888.......................21
BUILDERS, LIGHTING, FIXTURES, & MATERIALS Allbright & Lockwood allbrightlockwood.com 505-986-1715 .................................................33 D Maahs Construction (DMC) dmaahsconstruction.com 505-992-8382 ............................................72-73 Dahl Lighting Showroom dahllighting.com 505-471-7272 ....................................................1 Destination Dahl destinationdahl.com 505-471-1811...................................................19 Lightfoot Inc. lightfootinc.com 505-577-9546...................................................20 Statements statementsinsantafe.com 505-988-4440 ..................................................41 CITIES, EVENTS, MUSEUMS & EDUCATION Big Sky Learning bigskylearning.com 505-428-7575...................................................54 On the Map abqonthemap.com.............................................6 FASHION, JEWELRY & ACCESSORIES Beeman Jewelry Design beemanjewelrydesign.com 425-422-3990 ..................................................31 Malouf on the Plaza maloufontheplaza.com 505-983-9241 .............................................12-13 Pinkoyote pinkoyote.com 505-983-3030..........................Inside Back Cover HEALTH, EYEWEAR, DOG GROOMING & CARE Botwin Eye Group botwineyegroup.com 505-954-4442..................................................32 Companions Grooming & Downtown Doggie Daycare downtowndoggiedaycaresf.com companionsgroomingsf.com 505-982-7882, 505-954-1049 .......................141 PHOTOGRAPHY Robert Reck Photography robertreck.com 505-247-8949 ..................................................71 REAL ESTATE & BANKS Century Bank mycenturybank.com 505-995-1200 ................................................123 Chris Webster Associate Broker, Sotheby’s International Realty chriswebster.com 505-780-9500.....................................Back Cover Los Alamos National Bank lanb.com 505-449-5100, 505-662-5171 .........................47 Pacheco Park pachecopark.com 505.989.8484, 505-780-1159......................74-75 RESTAURANTS, FOOD, DRINK & LODGING Casa Rondeña casarondena.com 505-344-5911..........................Inside Front Cover Farm and Table farmandtablenm.com 505-503-7124.................................................122 Heritage Hotels and Resorts hhandr.com 877-901-7666..........................................112-113 Midtown Bistro midtownbistrosf.com 505-820-3121..............................................86-87 Saveur Bistro 505-989-4200..............................................84-85 Verde Juice verdejuice.com 505-988-4226, 505-780-5151.........................123 SOCIAL MEDIA Knock Knock Social knockknocksocial.com 203-788-1993 ................................................143
if you build it like it pin it share it tweet it they will come Whoâ€™s creating your social media content? #stylematters Contact Kathy Walsh firstname.lastname@example.org 203.788.1993
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