Virginia Dwan, best known in the Southwest for her support of land art and artists, as well as the Dwan Light Sanctuary in Montezuma, New Mexico, boasts a career that reaches far beyond the desert. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dwan got her start in Los Angeles with the Virginia Dwan Gallery, which eventually expanded to New York, where she represented artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Yves Klein, Sol LeWitt, Edward Kienholz, and many, many more. Dwan, the heiress of manufacturing conglomerate 3M, was able to take risks on challenging art. She played a major role in supporting some of the most definitive earthworks, such as Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson, The Lightning Fields by Walter De Maria, Double Negative by Michael Heizer, and the still-in-progress Star Axis by Charles Ross. She is still a passionate supporter of the arts and speaks fondly of working with artists and being a part of the creative process.
This month we embrace our new name and traverse the southwest from Silver City, New Mexico, to Scottsdale, Arizona. In our features, we visit the studio of Santa Fe artist Ted Larsen, whose work we are honored to present as this issue’s cover art. Briana Olson takes us on a day tour of some of Albuquerque’s incredible murals. Rachel Preston Prinz gives us the lowdown on the art, architecture, and natural glories in and around Silver City, New Mexico. Maggie Grimason goes deep with artists Ginger Dunnill and Cannupa Hanska Luger at their Glorieta, New Mexico home, to talk about their individual and collaborative practices spanning art, life, community, and family.
Have a beer with Matie Fricker, owner of the only queer-woman-owned sex shop in Albuquerque: Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center.
The tone of my studio visit with Santa Fe artist Ted Larsen was set early when he declared that he would likely be both circumspect and like a blowtorch when talking about his thoughts on his studio practice, life, and work. Now fifty-five, the trained painter has been showing his art since before he graduated college. By the time he was twenty-two, he had already exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, making big strides early on in a career that has now spanned decades.
Sashiko greets me as I enter the gallery for Shizu Saldamando’s show, held at SMOCA as part of southwestNET’s series showcasing mid-career Mexican and U.S. artists from the Southwest. Hushed and intimate, each work seems to demand all of one’s attention, a bid made more poignant by Saldamando’s insistence on portraying friends and family and, according to the wall text, “refus[ing] any notions of subjugation” in the artist-subject relationship. A multifaceted artist of Mexican American and Japanese American heritage, Saldamando focuses on “often-overlooked communities of color: punks, queers, activists, and artists.”
Rapheal Begay is a Diné photographer and curator from Window Rock, Arizona, (the capital of the Navajo Nation) currently showing his work at Trapdoor Projects, near downtown Albuquerque. The medium is photography, but the methods are strikingly conceptual, requiring viewers to finish the work in their minds. His work evokes memories of family, as well as harshly beautiful landscapes and the animals who populate them—especially sheep—in the Navajo Nation.
New Mexico Dance Project is a newcomer powerhouse on the Santa Fe dance scene. Husband and wife team Erik Sampson and Scarlett Wynne founded the company in New Mexico six months ago. Since then, they have been teaching workshops for students, creating new works nonstop, and performing with the intention to become an integrated part of the community.
Some amount of personal suffering is expected to be felt by those who create music, but it’s rare for musicians to fuel their work with it as adeptly as Lightning Cult’s Mike Marchant. Now living in Santa Fe, the former Denver musician was hailed as one of the city’s most promising songwriters until a devastating cancer diagnosis stopped him in his tracks in 2012. Marchant survived but experienced significant memory loss related to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. A crippling self-destructive period followed. The Lightning Cult project represents Marchant’s return to music-making and reveals an artist transformed through tragedy and tenacity.
It should be on everyone’s bucket list. Silver City. It sounds like a romantic vestige of another time. I didn’t realize how much so until I turned off the highway and onto a deliciously winding drive through the Black Range and into the Gila National Forest and Pinos Altos Mountains.
We took a seat at the table in the center of the warehouse-turned-home (turned-“work, brainstorming, and studio space”) where artists Cannupa Hanska Luger and Ginger Dunnill live in Glorieta, New Mexico. Taped to the kitchen cabinet was a wall-size paper schedule of impending deadlines for numerous projects. Every line was filled out, and notes were made in black marker, even in the margins. “Welcome to my life,” Dunnill laughed as, never skipping a beat, she outlined their individual projects—while the couple’s two children ran in one door and out the other...