One of my goals for this blog is to explore some of my more random musings on art,  basically the thoughts that fall outside the parameters of my more formal research and casual conversations.  I spent last year collaboratively blogging on my research and the art scene in Santa Fe, and while this endeavor has fallen by the wayside (the idea of bouncing ideas off each other in an artistic/Socratic dialogue getting bogged down in the reality of two overly busy schedules – blog partnership is more complicated than I expected), I would still like to devote more brain cells to the art scene past, present, and future.   During summer vacation it’s obviously more difficult to ponder the nuances of material culture in an academic context – while this is my passion and the impetus for my research (and I’m itching to dive right back into it in the next few weeks).

Part of my disconnect has been a gradual disillusionment with the sometimes stagnant art environment in Santa Fe.  When I first moved here, I thrived on weekly Canyon Road art walks.  I felt energized and inspired to be soaking up the creative juices of the second largest U.S. art market.  After 3 years, I’m discouraged to note that I feel like I’m seeing those same openings over and over again, like Groundhog Day on Canyon Road.  It seems that the same niche genres (western figural, realistic western landscape, abstract western landscape) are being filled by the same artists in the manner of an assembly line to address the collecting desires of the wealthy masses.  Not to be cynical or anything.  I’m not even going to address the effects of the recession.

Working a show opening at my gallery reflects another aspect of the art market – the aging out of the traditional collector of historical western art.  I have only anecdotal evidence to indicate the statistics in the more contemporary galleries in Santa Fe and the rest of the country, but in this primarily historical market it’s easy to see from one glance around the room at our crowded opening last night that the crowd is aging rapidly, with no young collectors in sight.  What is the future of the Santa Fe art scene? Will efforts like SITE Santa Fe and Warehouse 21 inject some new blood into a market sadly in need of transfusion? And will I uncover an art scene a little more raw and creative in Albuquerque?