Nights at the Museum
Vladem Contemporary is finally set to open this weekend
Following years of planning, a number of protests over the demolished “Multi-cultural” mural on the side of the former Halpin Building and a number of staffing changes, the New Mexico Museum of Art will open its Vladem Contemporary wing on Guadalupe Street this weekend with two days of free access to its inaugural exhibit, Shadow and Light.
The opening show, curated by former Head of Curatorial Affairs Merry Scully (who left for a museum job in California last year), crams in works from a number of recognizable names such as August Muth, Angela Ellsworth, Emil Bisttram, Erika Wanenmacher, Agnes Martin, Yayoi Kusama, Florence Miller Pierce, Virgil Ortiz, Judy Chicago, Leo Villareal and on and on and on and on. The future looks bright, too, with upcoming show Off-Center focused on New Mexico artists from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s already in the curation process. In the now, however, museum officials tell SFR they’re thrilled to get started.
“That’s a big question,” says current Head of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of 20th Century Art Christian Waguespack when asked how the moment feels. “One of the things I first learned about six and a half years ago, when I came on as curator of 20th century art, was this new direction we were looking at, and despite all the fantastic projects since then, this has been a point on the horizon that really meant something.”
Alongside the museum Curator of Photography Katherine Ware, Waguespack is one of the few employees who has been with the state Department of Cultural Affairs through the entirety of the planning and execution of the Vladem, which was named for businessman Bob Vladem and his wife Ellen after the couple donated $4 million for naming rights in 2018. Clocking in at roughly 35,000 square feet, the modern building features expanded collections storage—including refrigerated space for photos—movable exhibit walls; educational space; classrooms; galleries; terraces and more, not to mention a special emphasis on accessibility. Vladem will also feature rotating artists-in-residence, a street-facing window dedicated to New Mexican artists, modern exhibiting techniques such as AR and many other amenities too numerous to list. A cadre of local artists also recreated the “Multi-cultural” mural for long-term display just outside the new 2,300-square-foot Van Mabee Education Center. Plus, Alexandra Terry has joined the staff as Vladem’s new curator of contemporary art (see 3 Questions, page 24).
“The big celebration, the big kickoff—the moment is something we want everyone to feel present for,” Waguespack tells SFR. “This museum is for the community, the people of Santa Fe and New Mexico and anyone who comes here.” (Alex De Vore)
Vladem Contemporary Grand Opening Weekend: 10 am-5 pm Saturday, Sept. 23 and Sunday, Sept. 24. Vladem Contemporary, 404 Montezuma Ave., (505) 476-5072
Current, former and fledgling goths have numerous styles and methods and reasons for being gothy, but most can pretty much agree that the 1994 Alex Proyas-directed The Crow starring Brandon Lee is right up there. The story of this super-gothy dude who is killed but then comes back to life to avenge his and his fiancee’s murder, The Crow attained a bit of a cult status after Lee was accidentally killed on set, but also because of its timeless message of not taking shit from the haters lying down. OK, that’s an over-simplification, but everything about this film, from the music and performances to the dark and broody atmosphere screams that it’s the time of the year we’re all open to partying with ghosts. Also, consider it a makeup tutorial if you like, and we’re not joking. (ADV)
The Crow: 7 pm Thursday, Sept. 21. $15. Violet Crown Cinema, 1606 Alcaldesa St., (505) 216-5678
Though the tumbleweed has become ubiquitous when it comes to the imagery of the Southwest, the rolling, wind-borne plant matter is actually more of a nuisance, according to artist Andrea Cermanski. Her most recent art came after the weeds caused a big problem at her house. “We spent so much time trying to get rid of the things,” she tells SFR. “They’re pokey and ugly and we spent so much time and money.” Then came the idea: Burn ‘em! A longtime artist, Cermanski and folks from her neighborhood acquired the proper permits to gather and burn the plants, then she created paint from the subsequent ash for her new show, Tumbleweed Love Affair. The show reframes the matter, with the paint showing up as deep, textured blacks within minimalist pieces that almost resemble aerial photos of waterways. “I kind of love them now,” Cermanski says of tumbleweeds. “I still realize they’re invasive and a fire danger, but knowing what I can do with them while helping eradicate them? I have a deeper appreciation.” (ADV)
Tumbleweed Love Affair Opening: 5-8 pm Friday, Sept. 22. Free. Santa Fe Painting Workshops, 341 E Alameda St., (505) 670-2690
Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein has proven such an enduring horror tale that it still finds its way into so many cultural touchstones it’s almost absurd. And though you might think you’ve seen them all (shout-out to Young Frankenstein), you’ve likely never seen anything quite like the take from Chicago-based performance collective Manual Cinema. Stitched together like the eponymous mad scientist’s monster, Manual Cinema’s version finds myriad methods such as shadow theater, puppetry, live music and film techniques coming together into one bizarre yet beautiful creation. Not only that, but the -collective peppers in info from Shelley’s own life (and it was wild, believe that). Would it be too on the nose to say this thing sounds alive? Like, if we were to shout at you, “IT’S ALIVE!” from here? (ADV)
Manaul Cinema’s Frankenstein: 7:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 26. $35-$115. Lensic Performing Arts Center. 211 W San Francisco St., (505) 988-1234