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Canada's Gerald McMaster Zooms into town for Wheelwright talk

Ontario-based educator, curator and former artist Gerald McMaster (Plains Cree) looks back on his time at Santa Fe's Institute of American Indian Arts in the 1970s as a good thing—even though, he says, his classes didn't really delve into Indigenous art history the way he'd have liked. That's partly why he founded his own curriculum through what was then known as the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (today it's called First Nations University of Canada, and it still teaches McMaster's stuff). Around that time, he gave up his own practice to focus on the scholarly aspects of the arts, but the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian's Chief Curator Andrea Hanley still snagged a McMaster painting for Laughter and Resilience, the institution's big 2019 show which comes to a close in March.

In the piece, a Native man in full-on headdress aims a novelty gun at a white man in uniform—think American soldier from an era when stealing land was the norm. A flag emblazoned with the word "BANG!" unfurls from the barrel. In the broader context of the show—the long history of humor in Indigenous creativity—it's a silly take on old-school wit and comedy; from McMaster's point of view, it's more of a thinker.

"I remember when I was sketching it… the work just kind of came out," he tells SFR. "I think a part of me was thinking about how 'cowboy' is an occupation, how anyone can do it; I was thinking about the time when the American Army was moving west, the expansion; I was thinking of the early days of these kinds of opposition, these struggles, and about counting coup."

The concept of counting coup, McMaster says, refers to the wargames of his people, wherein the goal was not killing, but besting your opponent through smarts and trickery.

"That was the historical context I was thinking about…you have this kind of tricksterism on one side and this other kind of reality of not understanding the other's side," McMaster adds. "The viewer must understand the different ideologies on display."

At his upcoming Zoom talk with Hanley, viewers will get more context about the piece, as well as McMcaster's current work with the Ontario College of Art and Design University and Southwestern arts collective Postcommodity. (Alex De Vore)

Curator's Circle: Gerald McMaster:
3 pm Thursday, Jan. 14. Free.

Last Call for Snaps

Sage Paisner

Foto Forum Santa Fe has quietly but quickly grown into the city's only DIY/punk-as-fuck photo venue, with owner Sage Paisner helming both a gallery space and educational opportunities. Now Paisner's opening it up to the rest of the class with a call for entries for the Members Show in March. Yes, you'll need to become a member (it's free on the Foto Forum website), but then you'll have until Monday, Feb. 15 to submit your best work. Hey, joining the photographic revolution moves fast—if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. (ADV)

Foto Forum Santa Fe Call for Entries:
Through Friday, Jan. 15. Free.

If You’re Fond of Sand Dunes

Kurt Markus

One of Santa Fe's finest photo galleries kicks off the new year with a stunning series from Santa Fe's own Kurt Markus (a relative newcomer to town, but a kickass shooter nonetheless) featuring the dunes of Namibia. The African nation is reportedly home to the largest dunes on the planet, and Markus' minimalistic black-and-white shots not only capture the majesty and symmetry at play, they convey a mastery of light and an eerie windswept sadness. How something so seemingly empty could be so fraught with meaning is anyone's guess, but, like, have you ever just had a sincere emotional response to a piece of art? These do that and then some. Pop by the gallery this weekend or make a special appointment at your leisure. (ADV)

Kurt Markus: Dunes, Namibia:
11 am-5 pm Friday, Jan. 15 and Saturday, Jan. 16.
Obscura Gallery,
1405 Paseo de Peralta,


Courtesy Sasella Facebook

We were so thrilled with Sassella's culinary and mixology flair when it came time to write our most recent Restaurant Guide that we named it one of our Top 15 of the year. When the pandemic rolled around, however, things changed for restaurants everywhere, and Sassella's brass went the deli route, offering takeout, special items and more. As things trundle back toward some semblance of normal, however, the downtown eatery's back, at least in tasting form, and its upcoming Gin and Amaro Tasting might not only be one of the few socially distant things going down that doesn't sounds like it'll be a bit of drag. It's got the gin…and amaro. Space is extremely limited, so give 'em a call ASAP. (ADV)

Gin and Amaro Tasting:
4 pm Sunday, Jan. 17. $45.
225 Johnson St.,