Summer in northern New Mexico can be overwhelming. Any day of the week there is some activity calling for our attention: artist talks, studio tours, performances, openings, fairs, festivals, markets, music, and, of course, beautiful weather beckoning us outdoors. To help us make sense of it all, I asked two of our regular contributors, Maggie Grimason and Rachel Preston Prinz, to give us a selection of their “must-sees” for the summer season, and the results are an eclectic mix of high brow and low, indoors and out, and spans everything from opera to alt-rock, equestrian arts to visual arts, and many things in between.
Albuquerque Latin Dance Festival
National Hispanic Cultural Center
August 22–24, 2019
Once more, Albuquerque’s preeminent Latin dance festival returns with days-long programming on the history, music, and culture of the many different varieties of Latin dance. Naturally, dance workshops, competitions, and socials also take shape over this year’s two-day festival at the NHCC. Aimed at providing learning opportunities, context in the shape of documentaries and lectures, and room for dialogues about dance, the Albuquerque Latin Dance Festival is just as much for beginners as those who know all the steps.
Alexander Girard in Santa Fe
Museum of International Folk Art and various locations
through October 27, 2019
Many people don’t realize that Alexander Girard, one of Mid-Century Modern design’s maestros, lived in Santa Fe for some forty years. This year, his legacy is in full view, as he and his work are being celebrated around the world. His folk art collection, permanently housed in the Multiple Visions: A Common Bond exhibition at the Museum of International Folk Art, has received some much needed updates in conjunction with two new exhibitions at the museum this summer. The first, A Designer’s Universe, which traveled from the Vitra Design Museum, features a retrospective of his design work, and downstairs, Modern Folk shows his work alongside the folk art it seems inspired by. Pair this with lunch at his last surviving restaurant, The Compound, and cocktails at La Reina at the El Rey Court motel—which is infused with and inspired by his art—to perfectly bookend a visit to these extraordinary exhibitions.
Downtown Summer Fest
August 3, 2019
Albuquerque’s Summer Fests in various neighborhoods throughout the city are iconic. Each of the four public festivals has its own distinct flair that reflects its section of the city—whether that’s the Heights, Nob Hill, the West Side, or Downtown. Regardless of where you call home, all are worth a visit, if for nothing else but people watching. Downtown Summer Fest this year brings blues legend Tommy Castro to the main stage and a number of local breweries slinging their wares on the Plaza, alongside dozens of local artisans with ceramics, jewelry, clothing, and more for sale. It’s free; it’s family friendly. and La Esperanza will even valet your bike.
HIPICO Santa Fe Summer Series
HIPICO Santa Fe
July 17–August 11, 2019
For several years after grad school, I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia, where horse culture is a way of life. I loved going to polo matches, and I was completely swept up in the beauty and athleticism of the players and their well-trained steeds. In the West, most people imagine that our horses are used only for farm work or for riding through a Wild West storyline on the big screen. In fact, we have a very interesting horse culture here that includes Native American styles of riding, as well as Spanish. One summery taste of a European approach to riding includes the competitive HIPICO Santa Fe Summer Series for hunters/jumpers, where visitors can get up close and personal with these agile horses and their riders and learn about one particularly impressive aspect of modern horse culture. The biggest jump events are on the weekends at noon.
Judy Chicago: The Birth Project from New Mexico Collections
Harwood Museum of Art
June 2–November 10, 2019
One of Belen’s most notable residents heads north this summer with a collection of work celebrating our universal entrance to the planet: birth. In the early ‘80s, Judy Chicago traveled throughout the U.S., collaborating with other women artists on needlepoint pieces that speak to the diversity of birth experiences—whether spiritual or painful. Those works have toured the country, visiting more than one hundred different venues. This exhibition, however, becomes more expansive, offering up additional pieces from the Harwood’s permanent collection, as well as pieces from Chicago’s own foundation, Through the Flower, the University of New Mexico Art Museum, and the Albuquerque Museum.
Marshall Trammell: burn the temples, break up the bells
Off Lomas, 602 13th Street NW
June 7–September, 2019
Multidisciplinary artist Marshall Trammell visits Albuquerque this summer as part of his Status Quo is My Enemy tour. In his work, which includes improvised music and community engagement elements, subjects like accountability, language, aesthetics, and political education are broached. A flashpoint for this is Trammell’s installation at Off Lomas—a site for public artworks and performance on the corner of 13th Street and Lomas Avenue. This sculptural work, burn the temples, break up the bells, examines self-determination and underrepresented histories, specifically in relation to colonial violence and Native resistance. The opening also included a sound performance and fire ceremony, but if you weren’t lucky enough to be there, the installation will remain at Off Lomas for a three-month tenure—or until it is disassembled by the elements or human intervention. Catch it while you can.
Meow Wolf’s Taos Vortex
Kit Carson Park
August 16–18, 2019
Santa Fe’s powerhouse experiential art collective Meow Wolf brings the second year of Taos Vortex to New Mexico this August, adding a third day of transportive fun centered at historic Kit Carson Park. Conceptual stages create the backdrop to sets by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, CocoRosie, Snail Mail, and about twenty other musicians. Meanwhile, performances from LA-based feminist art collective Pussy Power House and contemporary Indigenous dance collaborative Dancing Earth further elevate the weekend of artistic expression.
Native American Feast Days and Festivals
all summer, check: santafe.org/Visiting_Santa_Fe/Native_American_Culture/Seasonal_Celebrations/index.html
There’s nothing that quite gets me in the summer spirit like joining our local Pueblos in their seasonal celebrations. From the dances at the waterfall at Nambe Pueblo on July 2, to the Taos Pow Wow, to feast days and corn dances at Pueblos up and down the Rio Grande, to Santa Fe’s renowned Indian Market (and all of its outliers) during the third week of August, I love getting to meet my neighbors and learn about their living cultures, trying all the fun foods, and especially shopping locally at these special community events. But by far, my very favorite is the Indian Market fashion show! Be sure to get in line very early for that one, else you will miss the fun!
New Mexico Food and Beer Festival
August 3–4, 2019
I’m particularly fond of our state’s unique food traditions, which fuse Native American, Hispanic, and American foods, and are often spiced up by a variety of other cultures. I think this is because of my Southern upbringing, where preparing food is a way of showing people you care about them. The same is true here, as is exemplified in the feast days at our local Pueblos, where families who have lived here for many hundreds of years open their homes, and tables, to strangers. Rancho de las Golondrinas has committed to sharing New Mexican culture with its visitors, and their food and beer festival offers a special experience where you can learn about—and taste—these food traditions in a historic setting much like where they originated. If a taste isn’t enough, there are food culture festivals throughout the state all summer long, and if you really want to dig in, Santa Fe School of Cooking (and others) offer classes on many of these traditions.
New Mexico Jazz Festival
Albuquerque and Santa Fe
July 11–28, 2019
Approaching its fourteenth year of programming, the expansive New Mexico Jazz Festival is a summer staple across venues in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. This year, the event spans more than two weeks and brings upwards of a dozen distinct performances to venues throughout each city. New Orleans’s Cha Wa, North Carolina’s Leyla McCalla, salsa legend Frankie Vásquez performing with saxophone virtuoso Doug Lawrence, and the genre-bending Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio all make stopovers in the high desert for the festival this time around. Spearheaded by Outpost Performance Space, this unmissable summer festival offers up free programming as well as ticketed events, making it accessible to all.
Santa Fe Art Week
July 12–21, 2019
There is simply not enough money or time to do all the things I want to do during Santa Fe Art Week, ten inspired days filled with more than one hundred art-related tours, talks, demos, workshops, and events all around the city. I’ll be starting with the colorful and cheery artists’ procession, which launches the International Folk Art Market on the Plaza on July 11 at 5:30 pm, then hitting the Art Bike parade during the Art and Wine Stroll on Canyon Road on July 17, 4-6 pm, and I’m excited for Art Santa Fe, a contemporary arts festival celebrating its nineteenth year at the Convention Center, July 18–21.
Santa Fe Opera 2019 Season
Santa Fe Opera
June 28–August 24, 2019
The first time I was invited to the Santa Fe Opera, I visibly cringed. My inner eleven-year-old self remembered being dragged to some “horrible” opera as part of a school field trip. However, our local opera won over my fortysomething self’s love of grand views, amazing architecture, and exquisite storytelling (plus sets, costumes, and talent!). I will not pretend I always make it to the end of the sometimes-long shows, but the behind-the-scenes tours and talks, truly amazing singers, and a well-planned tailgate prior truly elevate everything about going to the opera. Santa Fe Opera’s 2019 season offers the world premiere of Poul Ruders’s fairytale, The Thirteenth Child; Leoš Janácek’s Jenufa; Mozart’s romantic Così fan tutte; Puccini’s beloved La Bohème; and a revival of the popular 2012 production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. I’ll be pairing one of this year’s performances with a visit to SITE Santa Fe’s exhibition Bel Canto: Contemporary Artists Explore Opera, up through January 5, 2020.
Surface: Emerging Artists of New Mexico
Harwood Art Center
June 7–July 25, 2019
Every year, the organizers at the Harwood Art Center send out a call for emerging artists to submit their work. The field of hundreds is then distilled down to a small selection of our state’s most promising, as-yet little-known artists for this juried exhibition, Surface: Emerging Artists of New Mexico. This year, the curators selected eleven artists to participate in the show, as well as a professional development program intended to further encourage their talent and growth as creatives. This summer staple bespeaks the promise of a new generation of artists who never fail to impress.
The Landscapes We Live In
Last week, after returning from a trip to Florida, I got in my car and immediately went out to a few of my favorite places to take in our breathtaking landscape, so I could get back to feeling grounded and that I was “home.” Many people over many centuries have called this place home, and our literal and figurative landscapes have always played a central part in our relationships to this place. Several exhibitions this summer highlight the different ways that our lands have inspired, formed, and informed our lives here, as citizens, artists, and visitors. This summer, I’m looking forward to checking out Social & Sublime: Land, Place, and Art, as well as The Great Unknown: Artists at Glen Canyon and Lake Powell at the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the exhibitions Here, Now, and Always and The Brothers Chongo: A Tragic Comedy in Two Parts, among several others at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.
To Survive on this Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults
University of New Mexico Museum of Art
August 23–December 7, 2019
For more than five years, artists Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre traveled throughout the U.S., documenting the stories of an older generation of transgender people through portraiture and interviews. The resulting exhibition and accompanying book, To Survive on this Shore, spans more than ninety years of lived experience, and offers a vital record of stories that have too often gone overlooked. Through paired text and photos, visitors are offered a personal view on transgender history. The exhibition, on display in the Raymond Jonson Gallery through December, shares twenty-two distinct stories and portraits.
Traditional Spanish Market + Contemporary Hispanic Market
Santa Fe Plaza
July 27–28, 2019
It’s easy to be wowed with the weeklong ¡Viva la Cultura! festival, including artists’ talks and demos, music, books, culinary experiences, and even a special mass at the Cathedral, in an exciting lead up to the sixty-eighth annual Traditional Spanish Market and thirty-second annual Contemporary Hispanic Market on the Plaza. The Traditional Spanish Market’s two hundred traditional artists create utilitarian and decorative traditional and revivalist arts, including weavings, colcha, straw appliqué, furnishings, woodcarving, tinwork, and more. The Contemporary Hispanic Market on Lincoln Street that same weekend, hosts more than 130 contemporary artists from New Mexico, working in every conceivable medium.