Charlotte Jackson has owned and operated her namesake gallery for 22 years. Last summer, she moved its location from Marcy Street to the Railyard, increasing square footage from 1,700 to 4,000. Charlotte Jackson Fine Art specializes in contemporary American and European art. Interference Blues, works by David Simpson, opens this week. This week, Jackson lets SFR pick her brain about Santa Fe’s art scene.
SFR: How would you say Santa Fe’s art market is perceived?
CJ: It’s perceived as a very viable, strong market. I just came back from Art Miami. Santa Fe is very well-represented in terms of the art world’s market. The boast that it’s the second-largest art market in the US is, on some level, probably true. There’ll be competition in the next few years in terms of Los Angeles. It’s strong in terms of people coming here, and they’re coming here for art.
If you could change one aspect of our art scene, what would it be?
We have gallery associations and that’s great, having a dialogue with other dealers and galleries. More of that would be a good thing.
Is the art scene a boys’ club?
No, not necessarily in Santa Fe. It may have been at one time, not so much now. There are a lot of very prominent women gallerists here. It’s an international phenomenon because there are so many powerful women in the art world all over, and yet I’d say in Europe, New York and even in LA, I could see it being categorized [as a boys’ club]. I think there’s an even distribution here.
Which are your favorite galleries?
It’s a combination of different ones. I certainly respect what Linda Durham does; she has wonderful New Mexico artists, a strong program. I like what LewAllen [Galleries] does—there’s a great show up now. James Kelly [Contemporary], Tai Gallery, Zane Bennett [Contemporary Art]. It’s not so much a favorite gallery, but more about artists that I follow.
How do you feel about Flash Flood’s sidewalk stencils marketing scheme?
I think it’s fine. Last year, we tried doing a project with Art Santa Fe, and they wanted to paint the street in colors. A lot of people in the city really wanted to support it. In the long run, we were not able to do it. On some level, to me, projects like that are exciting. They draw attention to what we’re doing in New Mexico. I support projects like that. I’d like to see more of them.
An unapproved mural was recently painted over at the behest of nearby Palace Avenue gallery owners. What would you do if this mural had been painted near your gallery?
I’m not sure. It would depend on how I responded to the artist’s project. But whether or not we like it, it’s an expression of art. It may not have been something I’d like, but the fact is, it happened here and happens a lot in big cities. Even if it was painted over, the artist got to make his statement. Gallery owners made their statement. My feeling is everyone got to talk about it and deal with it on some level.
Where do you draw the line between public art and graffiti?
Again, if we look at some famous American artists like [Jean-Michel] Basquiat, Andy Warhol—these were guys doing this stuff in public places; they got their start by doing that kind of art. Graffiti is destructive for building owners and buildings the city owns, but there has to be room for that on some level.
Wouldn’t the act of condoning graffiti diminish its activist qualities?
We used to have Guerrilla Girls. They started out of New York. They would tag galleries that represented predominantly male artists, speaking of boys’ clubs. It’s an age-old form of expression—and I think that as a gallerist in a building I don’t own. It is a form of art and expression. Some of it’s amazing, and yet you don’t want to have it all over town where it’s overwhelming.