Stumbling into an exhibition at Linda Durham’s former gallery space on Canyon Road sealed my love of Santa Fe.
Artist Erika Wanenmacher had painstakingly created a kind of entomologist’s fantasy—hand-carved giant insects were pinned to the wall with equally oversized pins.
Amid these sci-fi specimens, an elegant, confident woman—Linda Durham—was calmly fielding the confused reactions of tourists who wandered in expecting to find landscapes and blankets. It was my first step through the door to a different Santa Fe, a community beneath the veneer and a diverse assortment of serious artists.
Durham and her gallery have been a force in Santa Fe’s creative community since she first happened on her career and developed a habit of representing New Mexico and its artists locally and internationally. Now, after 33 years in business, Durham will close her gallery on March 11.
That Durham’s enterprise has survived for so long, but is coming to an end now, is a testament both to her talent and commitment, as well as the reach of the nation’s shifting economic sands.
“I never made a great deal of money, but I made enough to keep the gallery going and growing,” Durham says. “I invested all the profits into advertising, art fairs, PR, design—because the gallery was my passion.”
Durham suggests, in a comparison to the food movement Slow Food, that she is interested in Slow Art. But that’s not where the art trends are moving at the moment.
“I have no interest in changing just to capture a temporarily fickle art economy,” Durham says.
The exhibitions she has arranged over the past year or two are a source of pride to Durham, even if they failed to be a source of income. And that’s not something she wishes were different.
“I would do them all over again. I would make the same careful mistakes—with pride.”—Zane Fischer
Continue to next page for SFR's interview with Linda Durham.