This is Not a Drill

Michael Namingha's odd, abstracted landscapes

It really wasn't all that long ago that the world's eyes were trained on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. There was no shortage of Indigenous water protectors, well-meaning white folks, bandwagon cause-havers and media attention to descend upon the site of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Still, despite unspeakable violence from police and a massive public outcry to shut the pipeline extension down, it was built anyway. There have been spills. It's pretty terrible, honestly. And that, friends, is just one example of the stranglehold our country's oil and gas companies have on our nation and our planet. Somebody send in the artists.

In this case, that artist is Michael Namingha (Tewa/Hopi), whose upcoming Altered Landscapes show at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts merges photography, abstraction, geometry and good old-fashioned caring about the Earth into a strange yet beautiful takedown of the extractive industry's impacts on sacred places around the Four Corners area.

Mounted on plexiglass, Namingha's pieces take on a three-dimensional quality, becoming almost dreamlike—sort of like something recognizable morphing into a bizarre, unfamiliar shape and tone. With tens of thousands of wells across New Mexico alone, including near sites such as Aztec's The Black Place or the endlessly fascinating Chaco Canyon area, the problem is only getting worse, but whereas rage toward commerce would be warranted, Namingha puts the onus on the viewer. Why do we let this happen? Why isn't there a larger public outcry during times that aren't Instagramable?

With Indigenous communities seemingly hit hardest by the industry, Namingha's work is both timely and timeless—gorgeous in its quiet simplicity, but boundless in what it can and should inspire within whatever's left of our shared conscience. (Alex De Vore)

Michael Namingha: Altered Landscapes:
All day Friday, Feb. 5-Monday, May 17. By admission.
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts,
108 Cathedral Place, 428-5912

Cracked Up

Anson Stevens-Bollen

SITE Santa Fe's SITE Scholars (we're talking college and graduate level folks who are also super-creative) present their 2021 exhibit, There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in. Inspired by the legendary musician/poet Leonard Cohen, the exhibit examines the concept of light and dark, though rather than the same old take on opposing forces, artists like Amy Traylor, Ranran Fan, Hannah Knight Leighton and others dive into the unseen, strange systems, intuition and how art and observer inform one another. Rad! Catch what's what via SITE's Facebook page. (ADV)

There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in:
11 am-6 pm, Thursday, Feb. 4. Free.



Though Earthseed Black Arts Alliance's new video series Black Story//Black Song is set to be implemented across classrooms statewide, it's also important to note that its eight five-minute vignettes are free to literally anyone anywhere. "People keep asking me if they need to register, and I say 'No!'" says co-founder and series producer Raashan Ahmad. "No barriers. No barriers for anyone." Find lessons like African Ancestry, History of Hip-Hop, Poetry, Science and more, each hosted by a notable Black New Mexican with knowledge to share and spare. Show your kids. Your friends. Show everyone. (ADV)

Black Story//Black Song:
All day forever. Free.

‘Tis the Season


There's such a thing as streaming fatigue when you're spending all your time rewatching Frasier for the tenth time, but when an org like Performance Santa Fe kicks off a new virtual season, it starts to get a whole lot more cultured around here. With shows from classical mainstays, newcomers and all points in between, you'll have months of events to choose from, but first you'll need to become an Annual Fund member (tiers start at $100 which, for the number of available shows, isn't so bad). Hit up to make that a reality, then settle in for shows with cool names like Vivaldi Explosion and Virtuoso Violins. You could watch intently from your couch, or even just play it loud while you wander around your house wondering when we'll be around people again. Either way, it's worth it. (ADV)

Performance Santa Fe Virtual Concert Series:
All Day through Monday, March 22. Members only!