5. Gallery proprietor Max Baseman says he knew something was going to shift as he was getting ready for bed on Friday, March 13.
"I slept on it that night and decided the next day," he says. "Inviting everyone to gather together seemed unwise."
Instead, with concerns over the novel coronavirus COVID-19 causing strict social distancing practices, Baseman created a short video to showcase his newest group show, Visual Limits, featuring artists Allan Graham, Stuart Arends, Marc Baseman, Debbie Long, Michael Diaz, Philadelphia Wireman, Wes Mills and Dennis Oppenheim. It's best described as a virtual walkthrough.
Baseman, acting as cameraman, wends through the pieces, stopping briefly at each to give us an idea of what's going on. It's only his first, and he has other ideas in the works for the coming weeks, though what shape that will take is anyone's guess—things are changing daily.
Still, Baseman's video and potential future projects are indicative of a wildly impressive truth about local arts that has become apparent in the last couple weeks—culture people are adapting quickly and helping to give meaning to a world -struggling with standstill.
At Canyon Road's Nuart Gallery, for example, salesperson Kat Kinnick has been furiously at work for a shift to virtual experiences. Kinnick says such plans were already in the works—a means for faraway buyers and appreciators to engage on a deeper level—and that the -gallery's remaining staff is trying to look at the silver lining of the situation.
For now, Kinnick is familiarizing herself with Zoom, a online video chat service similar to Skype, but one that has grown in popularity of late with its ability to loop in many parties. In addition to providing an ideal platform for the virtual walkthrough of Nuart's upcoming shows—Between the Known and -Unknown, with artists Shar Coulson and Richard Berman, and Times -Forgotten, with Randall Reid—it's a great way to host artist talks with each. Coulsan hails from Chicago and Reid lives in Texas; Berman calls Santa Fe home, but if we're going to be stuck inside, an artist talk seems a vastly preferential quarantine activity to re-bingeing The Sopranos.
Kinnick also says she hopes to expand the presence to Facebook Live and maybe Instagram Live, though Zoom will be first.
"We're still in the process of implementing it because it's a real shift for the gallery," Kinnick adds, "but it's something we've always wanted to do."
Kinnick's own work, the delightful A Culture of Wilderness hangs just up Canyon Road at Hecho a Mano, where gallerist Frank Rose has embraced live streaming as well. Rose tells SFR he'll probably stick to Instagram for that, though, as with most things right now, Facebook is probably the quickest way to learn more.
Meanwhile, in Albuquerque, Diné MC def-i partnered with promotions nonprofit AMP Concerts last Saturday for a live streamed concert event at the Launchpad. AMP sold virtual tickets, and both it and def-i were set up to accept donations through Venmo and PayPal. The event was otherwise free to watch (and it lives on on the AMP Facebook page) for those who couldn't afford to pay.
"It was a qualified success," AMP founder and executive director Neal -Copperman tells SFR. "We're viewing what we're trying to do right now as -opportunities to provide actual employment for artists and people in our arts community while simultaneously fulfilling our own mission of creating positive entertainment and community."
Copperman says AMP employed four people to make the stream happen, and took social distancing and proper hygiene into account while creating the event. Further, he says, AMP raised roughly $350 from the stream with Def-i raising an undisclosed amount on his own. In other words, people were working and AMP was serving its community.
"We aren't in the longer term looking to recoup our costs right now," -Copperman explains. "AMP is a successful business, and we're in a better position to weather this than a lot of the people—we're trying to help in the community."
This should continue, too, with a tentative plan for a similar event featuring Santa Fe comedian/musician Carlos Medina and a flamenco tablao with Albuquerque dancer Valeria Montes and her husband, guitarist Juani de la Isla. AMP Concert's website (ampconcerts.org) and Facebook page are the best places to go for up-to-date information.
Otherwise, expect to see more events like these popping up and more innovative means through which to execute them. It's honestly fascinating to see the vast majority of humankind leaning on the arts—on film, music, visual works, etc.—in its time of need. Hopefully we all remember that if and when life goes back to some semblance of normal. Hopefully we take care of these people and places right now, while we still can.
Virtual Artist Talk:
4 pm Friday, March 27. Free.