Catch up on recent art news headlines in the Southwest region, including people on the move, grants, and more.
Indigenous Artist Named United States Representative at the Venice Biennale
Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and Cherokee), whose expansive solo showcase took place at SITE Santa Fe in 2022, will represent the United States at the 2024 Venice Biennale. The 2024 U.S. Pavilion at the sixtieth international art exhibition is co-commissioned by Kathleen Ash-Milby, curator of Native American Art at the Portland Art Museum and a Navajo Nation member; Louis Grachos, SITE Santa Fe executive director, and independent curator Abigail Winograd. Gibson will be the first Indigenous artist to represent the U.S. in the 129-year history of the Biennale. The exhibition, scheduled to take place from April 20 through November 24, 2024, is also the first to be co-commissioned and co-curated by a Native American curator (Ash-Milby).
Clever Octopus Closes
In early July, Salt Lake City-based Clever Octopus, which sold thrifted and recycled art and craft supplies, announced its closure after eight years in business. As reported by Southwest Contemporary’s Bianca Velasquez in 2022, the creative reuse center received criticism for alleged transphobia, tokenizing behavior, and a lack of transparency, leading workers to a unionization attempt.
Dallas Center for Photography Plans to Shutter
The Dallas Center for Photography, the sole North Texas nonprofit dedicated to photography, will close on August 4. Founded in 2009, DCP housed a gallery, a sizeable darkroom, a classroom, and offices. “It is the natural course of things to rise and fall, to come into being and to pass away,” writes DCP founder and executive director Peter Poulides in a prepared statement. “Even as DCP was setting down strong roots in the greater arts community in Dallas, there was a growing gap between the resources supporting our organization and the financial needs of running it. It is a story all too common in the nonprofit world.”
Material, Salt Lake City
Contemporary art gallery Material, run by artists Colour Maisch and Jorge Rojas, is slated to open on August 12 with exhibitions from Las Hermanas Iglesias (Lisa and Janelle Iglesias) and Kathryn Knudsen. The gallery, located at 2970 South West Temple, Unit B, is outfitted with artist studios and will host classes taught by professional artists.
Meow Wolf’s fourth permanent exhibition, The Real Unreal, opened to the public in mid-July at the Grapevine Mills shopping mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The space is the company’s first foray into Texas—the Santa Fe-based entertainment company is planning to open a Houston location later this year.
Grants and Awards
Rabkin Foundation Awards $450,000 to Art Journalists, Including a Southwest Arts Writer
Erin Joyce, a Phoenix-based Southwest Contemporary contributor, is among one of nine recipients of the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation’s Rabkin Prize. Each arts journalist has been awarded $50,000, and winners include Maximilíano Durón (New York), Eileen G’Sell (St. Louis), Jori Finkel (Los Angeles), Harmony Holiday (Los Angeles), Annette LePique (Chicago), Darla Migan (New York), Rebecca Solnit (San Francisco), and Jillian Steinhauer (New York).
Leadership Changes and Appointments
Lubbock Visual and Performing Art Space Appoints New Curator
The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, a Lubbock, Texas-based nonprofit that includes a theater, clay studio, classrooms, and event spaces, has named Taylor Ernst as its curator. Ernst is the former collections manager for the art division of the Museum of Texas Tech University
New Mexico State University Names Exhibitions Coordinator
David W. Jones has been added to the NMSU Art Museum team as exhibitions coordinator. Jones, a widely exhibited painter and a 2018 artist in residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, will assist artists, curators, and designers throughout the installation process of all exhibitions at the Las Cruces on-campus museum.
Albuquerque’s 516 Arts Names New Staffers
April Chalay has become 516 Arts’s first deputy director while photographer JC Gonzo is the Albuquerque museum’s program and marketing manager. Chalay and Gonzo previously worked at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe before the organization shut down and then partially reopened, leaving some scratching their heads.
Santa Fe Playhouse Artistic Director Announces Departure
Robyn Rikoon, Santa Fe Playhouse’s artistic director for the past three and a half years, is leaving the regional theater to pursue independent theater and filmmaking. A search for a new artistic director is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
Nevada Museum of Art Appoints Senior Vice President of Education and Research
Colin M. Robertson has become senior vice president of education and research at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. Robertson, who will be charged with shaping various initiatives ahead of a new Education and Research Center that’s scheduled to open in early 2025, served as the museum’s curator of education from 2008 to 2016.