ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The teeming throng at the reception of the “New Mexico Showcase” juried exhibition at 516 Arts reminded me why I don’t attend many openings these days. While ferreting through the crowd – a testimonial to Albuquerque’s contemporary art scene – I experienced déjà vu taking me back to New York City during the early 1970s.
I was struck by the irony of the New York born and Los Angeles-based art critic Peter Frank coming all the way to Duke City to unearth most of the 1970s New York-inspired art currently being made in New Mexico.
My second visit – sans crowd, déjà vu and personal bias against large group shows of any ilk – revealed the high quality and logical rationale of a credible slice of contemporary art, so much for first impressions. I also noticed the bias toward female artists. The show features 52 female and 28 male artists.
|If you go
WHAT: “New Mexico Showcase,” juried by Peter Frank with works by 80 artists
WHEN: Noon-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through April 28
WHERE: 516 ARTS, 516 W. Central
HOW MUCH: Free
In his catalog commentary, Frank acknowledges his feminist view of New Mexico’s art community, citing pioneers from Mabel Dodge Luhan and Georgia O’Keeffe to Agnes Martin, Florence Pierce, Beatrice Mandelman and others. Among living artists cited are May Stevens, Judy Chicago, Lily Fenichel, Harmony Hammond, Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith, Susan Rothenberg and others.