Tin Out of Ten
An archaic art form brings new life to Native photography
Nothing about the tintype photo process screams “easy.” You’ve got to be patient and cautious; you’ve got to use just the right amount of chemicals to ensure your image comes to life. It’s easy to make smudges, add cracks and even to set the tintypes on fire. But for photographer Will Wilson (Diné), working in tintypes has become a kind of ritual.
“In the digital age, I think people are removed from process in photography,” Wilson tells SFR. “I’ve always done handmade photography. It’s alchemy. It’s beauty. It means something to slow down and take a portrait in the age of the selfie.”
Wilson’s new exhibition at Foto Forum Santa Fe is part of a decade-long project entitled Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX). In these pieces, Wilson asks: What if Native people had invented photography? What, exactly, might that mean for modern art?
Wilson’s work, which has been shown in Seattle, Portland, Switzerland and elsewhere around the globe, derives much of its inspiration from Wisconsin-born photog Edward S. Curtis, who famously photographed the Diné after the Long Walk (the deportation and attempted genocide) where they were, in essence, POWs. Curtis’ work brought widespread imagery of Natives to the larger world, and is now seared into the public imagination.
In addition to displaying tintypes, Wilson will offer a chance for patrons to take part in their own metallic memories through new photos, but do note that spots will surely fill up quickly. Foto Forum founder Sage Paisner hopes to organize more sessions in the future, but if you miss out you can still watch Wilson as he creates. Through his accompanying app, Talking Tintypes, viewers can even engage with augmented reality elements, which add a new sort of life to old-school photographs and practices.
“In a way, I wanted to complicate history’s narrative, to unsettle it,” Wilson explains. “Taking the photo for the sitter is a process, and I love process.” (Riley Gardner)
Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange Opening: 5-7 pm Friday, Aug. 5. Free. Foto Forum Santa Fe, 1714 Paseo De Peralta, (505) 470-2582.
Ditch the Kids
When friends visit from out of town, a similar refrain occurs: They would totally visit Meow Wolf, they say, if it weren’t for those meddling kids. Yeah, the Santa Fe-based arts corporation’s hometown perma-installation might be big on stuff for the kid in all of us, but perhaps you’d like to slide down a washing machine portal without some screaming toddler throwing a fit with their sticky hands a few yards away. Look, with all respect to kids (we believe the children are our future), sometimes you’ve gotta chug beers and catch the neon lights with a panel of your peers. That’s what Adulti-Verse is all about. Oh, and for those parents among you who are clutching your child-rearing pearls right now? You can still take them most other times. Plan accordingly. (Alex De Vore)
Adulti-Verse: 8 pm-closing Thursday, Aug. 4. $32-$42. Meow Wolf, 1352 Rufina Circle, (505) 395-6369
Dance, Dance Evolution
Though we’ll likely always feel the 2020 death of celebrated hoop dancer Nakotah LaRance, the Lightning Boy Foundation with which he worked has most certainly kept the dance dream going this whole time. Case in point? The upcoming Nakotah LaRance Youth Hoop Dance Championship on Museum Hill. In a nutshell, youths ages 5-24 will come together to show their stuff across a variety of age-based tiers, and it will be beautiful. Named for Valentino “Tzigiwhaeno” Rivera, aka Lightning Boy—another Indigenous dancer taken from us too soon—the foundation has inspired and fostered countless dancers since its 2017 inception. In summation: Incredible dancers taking part in a pair of incredible legacies might just be one of the cooler sentences we’ve ever gotten to write. (ADV)
Nakotah LaRance Youth Hoop Dance Championship: 9 am-5 pm Saturday, Aug. 6. Free. Museum Hill, 710 Camino Lejo, lightningboyfoundation.com
If you’ve been following the career of Santa Fe’s Stuart Ashman, you’ll know he worked as top brass for both the Center for Contemporary Arts and the International Folk Art Market. Today, however, Ashman presides over the Midtown gallery Artes de Cuba with co-director Peggy Gaustad. Together, they’ve built quite a mecca to contemporary Cuban artists, and it’s time for Santa Fe to really take notice with the upcoming exhibition, Havana Printmakers. A veritable cornucopia of printed pieces across mediums like woodblock, silkscreen, collagraphs and even collage, Artes de Cuba is out to showcase that Cuban style in a way with which many might not yet be familiar. Maybe you don’t know names like Marcel Molina, Santiago Olazabal or Asbel Barroso yet—but you will. (ADV)
Havana Printmakers: 10 am-4 pm Wednesday Aug. 3-Saturday Aug. 6. Free. Artes de Cuba, 1700 A Lena St., (505) 303-3138