Shine On, You Crazy Diamonds

Currents 826 celebrates the light at the end of the tunnel

Steel yourselves for a sea of stories from arts outlets about how shows that were in process have been tragically canceled. In better instances, they’ve just been postponed. Then rejoice, because, as pop-punk band MXPX once mused, some things are better late than never. Case in point: CURRENTS826, that ongoing gallery bastion/satellite arm of the annual CURRENTS festival (which is slated for a smaller but no less powerful appearance at the Center for Contemporary Arts this year) has a doozy. Despite postponement during the great lockdown of 2020, its theme is eerily appropriate for the current era of spring/renewal/mass vaxxing.

Enter Altered Light, a seven-artist group show featuring a bevy of light, laser, projection and holographic arts hailing from both near and far. And though the show’s been running since February, CURRENTS officials have selected May 15—the eve of UNESCO’s International Day of Light—for a special one-off nighttime event.

“We kept putting it off and putting it off,” says Mariannah Amster, co-executive and artistic director for CURRENTS. “And the more we kept putting it off, the more we realized how appropriate it is for the moment we’re in right now—the transition out of the pandemic.”

“It’s this idea of spring and light and the altering of spring,” adds Co-Director Frank Ragano. “I would say [this time of year] in general is upbeat and beautiful with light.”

Amster and Ragano tapped the likes of Santa Fe-based artist August Muth, a holographer since 1980 with roots in physics and astronomy, whose mastery of the Denisyuk single-beam technique is both riveting and beautiful. Find also pieces by Chinese video artist Yuge Zhao (a CURRENTS alumna), Santa Fean C. Alex Clark, multimedia creator Joan Stango, visual poet Dora Tass, installation and video artist Alison Nitkiewicz, and Fred Unterseher who, according to his CV, is a “pioneer of holography.”

A limited number of visitors will be allowed into the gallery’s interior during the show, but the real draw will be the outdoor holographic and projection elements, many of which will remain a surprise until they’re unveiled. Amster and Ragano say they basically gave Muth carte blanche to go wild—they’ll even hold a raffle for one of his pieces, and tickets for that run as low as $10. Altered Light is otherwise free to attend.

“As the show got pushed further into the evolution of the pandemic,” Amster says, “it found its own special place and time.” (Alex De Vore)

Altered Light at Night: 5-11 pm Saturday, May 15. Free ($10 raffle).
826 Canyon Road,

Jot it Down

If ever there were a need for flowery language, it might be now. We speak of poetry—though, of course, there’s much more to it than a pretty turn of phrase or an adorable couplet or two. It is the soul laid bare (or something), and it’s actually the kind of activity that might help any budding writers, n00bs or even just the pent up to vent. You probably won’t find a better teacher locally than Santa Fe Poet Laureate Elizabeth Jacobson, who hosts a free virtual workshop as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read initiative in partnership with the Santa Fe Public Library. We can’t promise you’ll be great, but we can just about guarantee you’ll feel better. (ADV)

NEA Big Read Poetry Workshop: 6 pm Thursday, May 13. Free.


Are you sitting down? You might want to be sitting down. OK, that’s melodramatic—we’re just trying to say Motorama at the Downs is back. Yup, that Southside outdoor drive-in moviegoing experience born within the fiery crucible of shut-downs and super-sadsies is hanging its massive screen again, and this weekend’s cinematic selection is the Coen Brothers’ 1998 classic The Big Lebowski. Bowling, porn, nihilism, Sam Elliott—this tale of mistaken identity, ruined rugs and subterfuge gone awry catapulted into the shared lexicon lo those 20-ish years ago and stayed there. Also, Mototrama has snacks and stuff. (ADV)

The Big Lebowski: 8:15 pm Saturday, May 15. $2-$12.
Motorama at the Downs,
27475 W Frontage Road,

Glass Act

After renovations and pandemic closures and, and, and...the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is at long last reopening its doors, and its first exhibit within its updated space pretty much makes the wait more than worth it. Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass is the intersection of more than 30 Native glass artists. Curated by former Heard Museum CEO Letitia Chambers, the exhibit finds so many glass artists in one place, in fact, that it might just be the biggest glass exhibit we’ve ever seen—and we’ve seen many a glass exhibit. Works by Priscilla Cowie, Dan Friday, Preston Singletary, Lillian Pitt, Dale Chihuly and sooooo many more artists than we could possibly list will be on hand, and since the show’s open for a full 13 months, you’ll have plenty of chances to see why the glass arts are straight up just alchemical magic. (ADV)

Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass Opening: All day Sunday, May 16. By admission.
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture,
710 Camino Lejo,