hat it was, was that I wanted to do a show about fashion," Community Gallery manager Rod Lambert says, "but I knew that there weren't going to be enough fashion people to send in portfolios and so I broadened it to any mixed-media artist or painter."
The result was a cohesive list of nearly 30 artists all doing a piece that reflected their own perception of the end of the world in the aptly titled End of Days, which opens this Friday.
"Each artist was assigned to come up with a prophecy of how they see it going down—whether it'd be deforestation, non-potable water, disease, famine—and they were told to create something based on their prophecy."
Informed by how environmental shifts and social change could impact the future of the human race, the artworks in End of Days are as diverse as the theories that inspired them. Think otherworldly bustiers meant to purify air, reimagined samurai masks made out of six-pack holders and couture gas masks.
The exhibit marks a breakaway from others hosted in the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission's space.
"I think, at first, when we did the call, there was a little bit of reaction from the public saying, 'You're taking environmental devastation too lightly; you're making it flip by turning it into fashion,' and we ended up explaining that this is a good way for us to bring light to it," Lambert says, adding that each artist's theory will be placed next to their piece to explain its raison d'être. "Sometimes [fashion] addresses issues, so I thought it would be fun to kind of mix the two in a weird way."
Lambert zips though the gallery, prepping last-minute details and offering small descriptions of each work.
"Hers is more about recycled objects," he says, stopping in front of an exoskeleton-like object by Alicia Pillar made out of her grandfather's old film slides and other found objects. "She was inspired by an Asian culture that keeps hair from past generations and then weaves it together to create clothes," he says.
A large installation by Max Lehman features an army of his trademark bunnies, all drenched in pastel hues, following a more sinister, swastika-wielding figure representing death.
"He's a crazy man, but we love him for it," Lambert jokes. "He's been working on this since June specifically for this show. It's Neapolitan ice cream colors, and he's inspired by the Mayan prophecies," he continues, highlighting nods to Hiroshima and Day of the Dead.
"It's all about war and death and destruction," he says.
Nearing the end of the spiral, whirlwind tour, Lambert stops to dress up Shirley Klinghoffer's piece. It's a black dress form adorned with plastic babies and crowned by an antique-looking porcelain doll with a needlepoint bib that reads, "We all got screwed BIG time!"
The piece, titled "When Too Much is Too Much," Klinghoffer tells SFR, is a critique on the "glutinous use" of erectile dysfunction drugs, as well as testosterone supplements.
She parts from a possible mutation causing "sperm to no longer be viable for procreation; first it was the fathers and the sons and the grandsons, and as the aging population noticed that fewer babies were being born."
"What do we wear? Black for mourning. And we all carry these adorable baby dolls in cute pastel outfits reminding everybody not to fuck with Mother Nature," she continues with a laugh.
In the end, Lambert hopes that the showgoers are sparked to stop, think and "have some kind of thoughtful, educated engagement with it so that they're more considerate of the footprint that we're making."
"It's dark," Lambert concludes, "but there is some light."
5-7 pm Friday, Oct. 31
City of SF Arts Commission
201 W Marcy St.,