Sunday, June 5, 2016

Out And About

It's The Season in Santa Fe -- it's The Season pretty much everywhere in New Mexico where tourists flock -- and we try to avoid the crowds as much as possible. Well, it's nice that folks want to come to this rugged corner of the country to see and do rugged or fancy tourist things and all, but the transition from relatively calm and tranquil to super-charged hyper-tourism is sudden -- happening within moments over Memorial Day weekend -- and it is guaranteed to discombobulate.

Ms. Ché and I have been up in Santa Fe and Taos repeatedly this Season, though, and we'll be going several more times before The Season ends, crowds or no crowds. I'm grateful in some ways that I can do it, since I'd been too ill to even think of it within the last few months. Now my various conditions seem to be controlled with medications, and I can get around well enough and for long enough to actually enjoy being out and about.

This weekend we took a group of Cherokee from Albuquerque to the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe to tour the exhibit on Lloyd Kiva New, the co-founder of the Institute of American Indian Arts -- where Ms Ché has been a student for a year now. The tour was led by Aysen New, Lloyd New's widow, a remarkable woman and presence in her own right, who has maintained her late husband's legacy with wit and wisdom and whose tenacity has ensured he will not be forgotten.

There are three museum exhibits currently on view in Santa Fe which detail the life and legacy of Lloyd Kiva New. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and the New Mexico Museum of Art are all simultaneously hosting Lloyd Kiva New exhibits through the summer and into the fall. In addition, there is an exhibit at the Institute of American Indian Arts -- the institution he co-founded -- and one of the galleries on the Santa Fe Plaza is offering a number of items created in Lloyd Kiva New's studio in Scottsdale, or created from materials and fabrics he made, for sale to collectors.

There is also a book, "The Sound of Drums," widely available at these exhibits. The book is an edited version of Lloyd New's memoirs which he composed and wrote late in his life. It's beautifully written in an almost magical realist style, by a man who clearly loved his work and lived his life to the full.

Another book, "Celebrating Difference" is also available, though not quite as widely, which uses an interview and essay technique to document the history and legacy of the Institute of American Indian Arts through 2012, the year of this volume's publication.

Next weekend, we'll provide another perspective on Lloyd Kiva New from one of his associates who knew and worked with him in Scottsdale and later came to Santa Fe as an educational consultant and worked with him throughout his tenure at IAIA and afterwards.

I'll report on that in another post later on.

It's been a long time since I've done anything like this. There was a time when we would routinely host receptions, seminars, workshops and what have you as part of our work in theater and the arts in California, but we pretty much gave that up when our theater company closed in 1996. We went off and did other things -- to make money in a word. Theater and the arts are not really money making propositions -- except for the very few at the top, and for them, prominence is precarious. We were able to make enough doing other things to retire in relative comfort, and now that we've settled in to retirement, Ms. Ché and I are both becoming more and more involved as donors, collectors, scholars and participants, in the local/regional arts communities. It's the way these things were no doubt meant to be.

Because of Ms Ché's Native American heritage -- specifically Cherokee -- we've focused most of our attention on Native American creative arts since we moved to New Mexico, but it's not our only interest and focus. Indeed, later this month and then again in October, we intend to focus on one of the major motors for New Mexico's early prominence in the arts, Mabel Dodge Luhan.

Ms. Ché attended a writer's workshop conducted by Jimmy Santiago Baca at her house, Los Gallos, in Taos two years ago. Ever since, she's been taken with Mabel and the stories of her life and work in New Mexico. Her house in Taos has also become a warm and welcoming destination for us. We took Ms Ché's cousin and her husband there on our brief day-trip to Taos when they came to visit just before the Memorial Day tourist inundations. Because it is an important site to us, we felt it was a worthwhile site for them to see and experience as well.

In May an exhibit on Mabel's life, work and cultural influence opened at the Harwood Museum in Taos. The exhibit was co-curated by Ma-Lin Wilson-Powell and Dr. Lois Rudnik, Mabel's chief biographer for many years. We haven't had the opportunity and time to see it yet, but plan to participate in some of the activities surrounding it later this month -- may even get up to D. H. Lawrence's ranch.

When the exhibit moves to the Albuquerque Museum in October, we will no doubt be involved in some of its activities as well. There are plays and even an opera connected with the exhibit, so we have an interest (!).

So our summer and fall schedules are filling up. Ms Ché is returning to IAIA as a student in August. She received the Fall 2016 Truman Capote Literary Scholarship, so it's likely she'll be... busy (in a good way) with her literary work and will likely be promoting the creative writing program at IAIA as well.

She and I are also involved in the development of a new performing arts facility on the IAIA campus. But that's a whole other story for another time.

Meanwhile, the increasingly dreary business of the American Political Classes struggles on. What a deplorable mess -- also another story for another time.

NOTE: Will add links as time allows. UPDATE: Links have been added!

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