Bard College in Upstate New York is known as an enclave for edgy and offbeat thought leaders—as is Santa Fe, New Mexico. Creative luminaries from both communities gather for a one-of-a-kind forum in the City Different this spring, thanks to Bard alumnus and Santa Fe gallery owner Sandy Zane. She hosts a weekend retreat for Bardians at form & concept, culminating in a round table discussion with Bard College President Leon Botstein, PhD, and leaders of New Mexico’s creative community. Participants will discuss innovative education models and their potential to change the world.
The conversation is moderated by Hakim Bellamy, Deputy Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Albuquerque. It features Mary Kershaw of New Mexico Museum of Art, John Flax of Theater Grottesco, and Cindy Montoya of New Mexico School for the Arts. Round Table with Dr. Leon Botstein takes place on Sunday, April 22 from 2 to 3 pm. The event is free and open to the public, and tea and other light refreshments will be served.
“The round table discussion will pose a powerful question: how can we rethink educational models to address complex contemporary challenges?” says Zane. “The participants have tackled this query time and again throughout their remarkable careers—and their diverse answers are sure to amaze you.” Bellamy, who is the Deputy Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Albuquerque and has a background in arts education, will guide the discussion. The other participants occupy distinct niches in the universe of arts education.
Botstein will speak to his experience as a world-class conductor and liberal arts educator, while Montoya will discuss the nationally ranked high school program at New Mexico School for the Arts. Kershaw has a strong background in museum education, and Flax runs experimental, performance-based educational programming through Theater Grottesco. “I can’t wait to bring all of these colorful, passionate leaders to the same table,” says Zane. “There’s no telling what will happen.”
For Matthew Szösz, setting up just one glass art experiment is an involved process. The preparation takes half a workday in some cases, and up to four weeks in others. It all leads to that pivotal moment, when the sculpture either takes its final shape or shatters into a million pieces. The Seattle-based artist has repeated this process countless times—with about 75% of his work instantly collapsing into rubble.
This spirit of fearless experimentation is reflected in his dazzlingly innovative, award-winning oeuvre. Szösz debuts new works from two of his ongoing series, Inflatables and Ropework, in his solo exhibition Minimal Tension. The show opens at form & concept on Friday, April 27 from 5 to 7 pm, with an artist talk on Saturday, April 28 from 2 to 3 pm. It runs through May 19, 2018.
“I am something of an outsider in my practice—lacking traditional training in glass, and autodidactic in my use of the material,” says Szösz. After studying furniture design for his undergraduate degree, he entered the glass world as a studio assistant. “I was a mold maker and a hardware person and a tool maker, and I just kept getting traded from one glass artist to another,” he says. By the time he entered the graduate program at the Rhode Island School of Design in his early 30’s, he was more than prepared to break every rule he’d learned in glass studios. In pursuit of unique and dramatic sculptural forms, Szösz began dreaming up experiments that would push the material to its limits.
“I had a professor who said, ‘no surprise for the artist, no surprise for the audience,’” Szösz says. “That surprise, where it’s as much a product of the material and circumstance that you set up as well as your own vision, is the thing that’s exciting for me.” He calls some of his experiments “material/process investigations” and others “bad ideas.” Either way, the key is to set up novel conditions in the studio, shifting heat, humidity and other variables to see how the glass responds. It’s a winding process—part scientific, part artistic—that has yielded significant treasures, such as Szösz’s Inflatables series.
Szösz builds the Inflatables using flat sheets of window glass, linking them together with tubes that channel air. He slips sheets of ceramic between the panes to keep the glass from fusing in certain places. The final step is to heat the piece to a molten state and blast air through the tubes, with the hope that it will inflate like a balloon but not burst. When he succeeds, Szösz emerges with a glass pod that resembles an enormous, clear chrysalis—or perhaps a lava monster’s pool toy. “There’s a certain amount of suspense and surprise,” Szösz explains. “When it actually does work, you get the idea that you’re working as a team with the material, kind of a partnership rather than just imposing your idea on something else.”
The artist developed his Ropework series over the course of seven years. The project started as an attempt to capture the twisted, bulging lines of Japanese temple ropes called Shimenawa using glass fiber. “The exploration moved from the creation of glass fiber pulling machines to a re-purposing of industrial fibers, to studies of British Empire-era ropemaking and sailor knot tying culture to create the geometric forms currently produced as part of the series,” says Szösz.
Considering the breadth of his creative inquiries, it’s no surprise that Szösz has a full array of art world honors under his belt. He was an Emerging Artist-in-Residence at Pilchuck Glass School in 2007, and a Wheaton Fellow in 2008. In 2009 he was an artist-in-residence at Nagoya Institute for the Arts and taught a workshop at Toyama Glass Institute. Szösz won the 2009 Jutta Cuny-Franz Memorial Award, becoming the second American ever to do so. In 2011 he was a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant Winner, and a year later he was selected by the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery as one of the top young craft artists in America for their exhibition 40 under 40.
“We’re particularly excited for Matthew’s artist talk on April 28, when we’ll show some videos of his process,” says form & concept Gallery Director Frank Rose. “Whether you’re a glass nerd or totally removed from that universe, you will marvel at how he brings these sculptures to life.”
“Fall in love! / And make a promise / You’ll never be able to keep.”
Local writer and performer Emmaly Wiederholt presents the original performance piece “Don’t You Want to Dance?” among the artworks of Strangers Collective’s Mirror Box exhibition. The performance takes place on the last day of the show—a final contribution that completes the show and offers a fresh way of experiencing the rest of the work.
“I’m acutely aware of my own physical fragility and my own evolving relationship with my body.”
Erin Gould sculpts ethereal works that investigate the weakness and fragility of the body. To do so, she works with her materials in a tactile, intimate way, often leaving her studio covered in beeswax, essential oils, and polyurethane.
Kyle Farrell, Alex Gill and Jordan Eddy, co-directors of Strangers Collective and the No Land art space, curate this exhibition of emerging artists and writers at form & concept. The show engages a network of early career creatives, anchored in Santa Fe and spiraling across the nation. Its curatorial throughline presents a radical method for reflecting on place and identity through art objects.
Join us at form & concept on Saturday, April 7 from 3-4 pm (that’s today!) for the Mirror Box zine reading. The event is hosted by Strangers Collective, the local alliance of early career creatives that curated the group exhibition Mirror Box in our second-floor galleries. About half of the Strangers are writers, and they produce zines of all shapes and sizes that appear alongside the visual art in the group’s shows. The zines in Mirror Box feature poetry, short fiction, illustrations, documentary photography and much more. Check out the list of participants below, and make sure to RSVP for the zine reading on Facebook to show your support. We’ll see you in a bit!
Israel Francisco Haros Lopez
Lovers of beautiful books, rejoice! form & concept is now an official seller of TASCHEN Books, the revolutionary German imprint that deserves its own art museum. TASCHEN has collaborated with the likes of David Hockney, Christo & Jeanne-Claude and Beatriz Milhazes to produce limited edition books that are true works of art. We’re particularly excited about their new title Murals of Tibet, an epic chronicle of some of the greatest treasures of Buddhist culture and Tibetan heritage.
For more than a decade, photographer Thomas Laird traveled the length, breadth, and far-flung corners of Tibet’s plateau to capture the land’s spectacular Buddhist murals. Deploying new multi-image digital photography, Laird compiled the world’s first archive of these artworks, some walls as wide as 10 meters, in life-size resolution. In recognition of this World Heritage landmark and preservation of Tibetan culture, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has signed all copies of this Collector’s Edition. As pictured, Murals of Tibetcomes with a stand designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect and humanitarian pioneer Shigeru Ban.
Click the images below to view more books from TASCHEN, now available from form & concept. Browse all of our TASCHEN titles and other books in our online shop.
“The steps that lead up to a process like this are really unseen.”
Derek Chan explores the interrelationships of symbols that are tied to cultural mythology, spiritual beliefs, and the power of supernatural phenomena.
Kyle Farrell, Alex Gill and Jordan Eddy, co-directors of Strangers Collective and the No Land art space, curate this exhibition of emerging artists and writers at form & concept. Mirror Box represents a network of early career creatives, starting in Santa Fe and spiraling across the nation. Its curatorial through line presents a radical method for reflecting on place and identity through art objects. Mirror Box runs through April 14, 2018, with a zine reading on April 7 and a closing performance on April 14. Click the links below to learn about the show’s event series.
Wesley Anderegg: ARIZONA opens tonight (Friday, 3/30) from 5 to 7 pm at form & concept, followed by an artist talk on Saturday (3/31) from 2 to 3 pm. For a first look at the show, make sure to pick up a copy of this week’s Pasatiempo. Michael Abatemarco interviewed Wes for a lively piece called Raising Arizona, excerpted here:
For ceramic artist Wesley Anderegg, Arizona is a state of mind, and he might picture you there with a can of Coors sooner than with luna moths. But who knows? You shouldn’t put anything past him. After all, Anderegg would gladly trade in stereotypical cowboys roping steers for quirky characters on hobby horses, or for dreamers floating in the sky, high above the saguaro. About two dozen ceramic tiles depicting life in Arizona, as filtered through the wry and surreal mind of the artist, are on exhibit at Form & Concept, each one measuring about 12 by 12 inches and about an inch and a half thick.
Emily Van Cleve of Santa Fe Arts Journal penned a preview of the show, with some fantastic quotes from Wes. Here’s a tidbit:
It’s fair to say that California-based ceramic artist Wesley Anderegg has somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the state of Arizona.
He was born in Phoenix, graduated from Arizona State University and lived in the area for more than 30 years. His show “Arizona” at form & concept, which opens on March 30, pokes fun at life in his birthplace.
“I love the desert,” he explains. “From January through March, there’s no better place to be. When I grew up there in the 1950s, we lived at the edge of town. The desert was a great place to raise hell.”
Learn more about the show at the links below, and make sure to stop by tonight & tomorrow to meet the artist!
“Everybody that lives in New Mexico goes to Arizona every once in a while,” says Wesley Anderegg. “That’s the only reason Arizona exists, is to drive through to go to California.” It’s a particularly sacrilegious statement for a born-and-raised Arizonan, but Anderegg hasn’t lived there for decades. He’s also never directly revisited his wild childhood through his figurative ceramics—until now. “As you get older, you kind of get reminiscing,” says the California-based artist. “It’s like, oh man, I’m on the downslope these days. Time to look back.” In a new series of diminutive ceramic tiles, Anderegg flattens his tragicomic sculptural figures with a playful nod to Pop Art paintings and comic book panels. The painted compositions evoke Anderegg’s experience growing up in the sun-drenched and lawless Sonoran Desert. Wesley Anderegg: ARIZONAdebuts at form & concept on Friday, March 30 from 5 to 7 pm, with an artist talk on Saturday, March 31 from 2 to 3 pm.
As Anderegg tells it, his mosaical visual memoir started as a happy accident. “I had a bunch of these ceramic squares made, and they were just sitting there,” he says. Anderegg is known for his sculptural depictions of somewhat impish figures who are often in comical conflict or cartoonish peril. He also has an ongoing series of figurative paintings on circular platters, but the fresh stack of ceramic tiles inspired him to play around with more complex 2D compositions. “I got this idea to make these markers of my time in Arizona, the dusty palette and everything,” he says. “It’s just memories of my childhood, all the crazy crap we used to do.”
The works document all sorts delightful mischief: there’s an inner tube voyage down a lazy river, and a romantic rendezvous in the bed of a pickup truck. Rakish cowboys sip cold cans of Coors, bug-eyed jackrabbits scurry across sizzling highways, and strangely human cacti flash spiny, gaping smiles. “You can see this evolution of techniques through the series,” Anderegg says. “The first desert scenes were glazed, while the last ones are dry with a matte surface.” It’s as though the artist had to ease into this gritty universe of memories, slowly bringing the Arizona of his youth into focus. “One thing that’s the same in all of them is the sky, which is glazed with these really cool blues,” he says. “I had to get that desert sky just right.”
Anderegg’s tiles measure just under 12 x 12 inches each, and they’ll span form & concept’s stairwell and catwalk spaces for the solo exhibition. Though the series represents a new direction for the artist, form & concept director Frank Rose sees a clear link between old and new. “Every figure that Wes makes represents a little part of him and his story,” Rose says. “Arizona is a more direct expression of that—even the desert creatures in the paintings have these bold personalities that evoke personal allegories.” Anderegg recognizes the humor of mounting a show called ARIZONA one state to the east, but it’s a simple matter of personal preference. “I thought about actually having it in Arizona, but I like you guys better,” he says with a grin.
Sculptor Julie Slattery shapes talismanic objects—such as the enormous bird skulls that appear in our Mirror Box exhibition—that become emotional reliquaries for specific events in her life.
Kyle Farrell, Alex Gill and Jordan Eddy, co-directors of Strangers Collective and the No Land art space, curate this exhibition of emerging artists and writers at form & concept. The show represents a network of early career creatives, starting in Santa Fe and spiraling across the nation. Its curatorial throughline presents a radical method for reflecting on place and identity through art objects. Mirror Box opened at form & concept on Friday, February 23 and runs through April 14, 2018. Click the links below to learn about the Mirror Box event series.