Santa Fe Art Institute

Feb 16, 2011

This year the Santa Fe Art Institute is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary. With the plethora of services, lectures, and education opportunities for artists and the community of Santa Fe, SFAI is a truly a rousing contemporary organization that is deeply rooted in values of community building. Supporting artists locally and internationally, tackling some of the most pressing issues and debates of our time, SFAI provides a platform for expression and learning. While SFAI serves as a hub for creative pushers, it at once creates a safe space to open dialog between artists, learners, and educators on  controversial issues ranging from climate change to the use of religious iconography.

SFAI Studios

SFAI has a lot going on this year and we encourage you to read below to discover what they’re currently up to. We took a particular interest in their upcoming C*ENSORSHIP series (described below), a show which addresses the complexity of censorship. In this feature you’ll find about their upcoming events, a list of the artists they are currently partnered with, and a written piece about their annual programming theme: HALF-LIFE: Patterns of Change—Cycles of Creation, Decay, and Renewal in Art and Life.

If you are in Santa Fe be sure to stop by their space and learn more. If not, please visit their site to learn more.

Events Coming up at SFAI


What: Screening David Wojnaroxicz’s film “A Fire in My Belly”
Where: SFAI Gallery 1 Projection Room
When: January 18 – February 25, 2011, looping continuously, 9am – 5pm M-F
How Much: FREE

What: C*NSORSHIP: a p*nel discuss**n
Where: Tipton Hall
When: Friday, February 25, 2011 @6pm
How Much: $10 general admission – $5 students/seniors/members

In reaction to the National Portrait Gallery’s decision to remove David Wojnarowicz’s film, “A Fire in My Belly”, from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the Santa Fe Art Institute will screen the film beginning January 18th and running through February 25th. These screenings will act in support of Wojnarowicz’s important and complex work and in protest to the NPG’s conviction that the censorship of the work serves as an appropriate response to the controversy sparked by right-wing religious and political figures. The museum caved into bullying.

Still from Wojnarowicz's Film

Still from Wojnarowicz’s Film

The film, which could be optionally viewed on a small touch screen, had been cut from its original 13-minute length to a 4-minute version while on display. Undoubtedly, the film was chosen for its powerful surrealist rendering of the gay experience during the AIDS epidemic. Removing the film reflects the notion of censorship and not the intended focus or major themes of the exhibition. The action further marginalizes the artist and disregards the overall nature of the NPG’s large and diverse audience.

In 1987, the year Wojnarowicz finished the film, the climate around AIDS was heated, and controversial. It was the year gay activists formed ACT UP, And the Band Played On was published, and Cleve Jones stitched the first panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt.  It was also the year that many were shocked to learn Princess Diana had shaken hands with an AIDS patient with an ungloved hand, the Williamson City Pool was shut down because Mike Sisco, a gay man living with AIDS, entered the pool, and it was the first time President Reagan had publicly uttered the word “AIDS.” By then, over 41,000 Americans had already died from the disease.

At the conclusion of the screening, on Friday evening, February 25th, the SFAI will host a panel discussion on censorship with distinguished panelists: Robert Atkins, Roberto Bedoya, Harmony Hammond, Lucy Lippard
Moderated by Zane Fischer

For more information about this or any SFAI event, please contact Michelle Laflamme-Childs at or call (505) 424-5050.


HALF-LIFE: Patterns of Change
Cycles of Creation, Decay, and Renewal in Art and Life

The Two-Year Theme Description for SFAI

Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) is dedicated to bringing artistic excellence and talent to our community, making art an intrinsic part of civic projects and an impetus for creative neighborhood development. We believe that art plays an indispensable role in the life of any place and that, through art, the community can find its voice and its vision. In 2011, our programming focus is HALF-LIFE: Patterns of Change—Cycles of Creation, Decay, and Renewal in Art and Life.

Half-life is the period of time it takes for a decaying substance to decrease by half. In a broader sense, half-life can be understood as an integral part of the patterns of change found in all systems—from the seasons and cycles of the moon to human and urban lifecycles. Nature itself is in a state of constant flux. There are also patterns of change and cycles in the built environment—such as the urban landscape, communication systems, and transportation—that impact our lives in powerful ways. Through HALF-LIFE programming and exhibitions, SFAI seeks to help participating artists and audiences better understand lifecycles, dependency, recycling, and innate behavior.

When an object or system stops performing its assigned function in contemporary society we tend to replace it rather than repair it. However, artists can redefine useless as useful by creating a new life for inanimate objects, and, evolved beyond original purpose, that renewed life alters the role of these objects entirely. Artists can work similar magic with degraded landscapes, blighted neighborhoods, and other systems—transforming them, infusing them with new purposes, and expanding the potential for positive change. Optimally, this change is accomplished with the participation and engagement of the surrounding communities, so that not only are objects and systems are transformed, but also the communities themselves.

Through HALF-LIFE programming and the work of many outstanding visiting artists and scholars, we will explore questions that underlie the concept of half-life: How do systems age, decline, and regenerate? How can we use the artistic and creative process to make those regenerative and restorative actions sustainable, inclusive, and effective? The artists will wrestle with complex issues such as the history of culture and community, the boundaries of cycles, the nature of place-making, how relationships with the natural environment build or destroy community, the ways in which art (past and contemporary) embodies cultural memory, and meditations on self-identity and place.


SFAI’s Artist Partners for 2011

Aviva Rahmani •

• Amy Balkin •

A piece by Amy Balkin

• Kim Stringfellow •

• Andy Goldsworthy •

• T Allan Comp •

• Free Soil •
(Website not available at this time, please check back.)

• Eve Andree Laramee •

• Erika Blumenfeld •

• Monika Bravo •

• Post Commodity •

Do You Remember When? 2009 by Post Commodity

• Patricia Watts •
(Website not available at this time, please check back.)

• Brooke Singer •

• Steve Lambert •

You Are Still Alive, 2010 by Steve Lambert

• Allora and Calzadilla •

• Mel Chin •
(Website not available at this time, please check back.)
• Steve Peters •
(Website not available at this time, please check back.)