SITE Santa Fe Announces Biannual Series on Art of the Americas, Tilts on North-South Axis

“A radical rethinking of SITE’s signature exhibition,” and a “reimagined series,” were just two of the phrases that SITE Santa Fe Phillips director and chief curator Irene Hofmann used on Monday night at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion in Santa Fe to describe what will become, in summer 2014, the first of a three-part series of biannual exhibitions focused on contemporary art of the Americas. Replete with a new name and logo, SITElines.2014, as the biannual exhibit is to be called, takes “Unsettled Landscapes” as a subtitle. Participating artists will be announced in February 2014 for a July 13, 2014  exhibition premiere.


Lucia Sanroman

This new exhibit platform replaces the biennial format that ran at SITE Santa Fe from 1995-1996 to 2010-2011 exhibit seasons. Co-curators of SITElines from SITE Santa Fe are: Irene Hofmann and Janet Dees of SITE, and independent curators Lucia Sanroman and Candice Hopkins. Sanroman, who currently lives in Mexico City and Boston, was formerly associate curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Hopkins commutes between Albuquerque and Ottawa where she is one of the co-curators of the exhibition Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, which opens on May 16th. Featuring 82 artists from 16 countries, Sakahàn is not only the largest exhibition of contemporary indigenous art, but the largest exhibition of contemporary art to ever take place at the  National Gallery of Canada.

Sanroman, in a brief conversation after the public event, hinted at works dealing in extraction issues including mining and land-use. Wherefore migrations and immigration? remains naturally a very big question regarding how the curators will shape the exhibit.

Hofmann disclosed that a trio of themes — “landscape, territory and trade” — have been identified for this first edition of the three-part show to take place also in 2016 and 2018 in Santa Fe.

Five additional “satellite” curatorial advisers, born in  Trinidad, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Canada, now reside in American locations including Trinidad; Costa Rica and Singapore; Mexico City; Buenos Aires and Toronto. An additional set of “SITElines advisers” puts the curatorial advisory cadre at 12, in addition to the four tasked with the actual curation of the first 2014 edition of this show.

Irene Hofmann said that Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion map depicting the Americas as contiguous land masses set out an attitude to the fabric of the exhibition and  “where our work will take us.”

“Linked through transit and metaphor” along the Pan-American highway, New Mexico is a “rich microcosm” of the Americas, in Hofmann’s words.

Candice Hopkins

Candice Hopkins

“The term biennial will fade but innovation will not,” she said.

In addition, an interactive piece of the exhibit with an anticipated basis in community will be programmed. Called SITECenter, that aspect of SITElines.2014 will fall under the purview of SITE’s education director, Joanne Lefrak.

Biennials of the Americas in the recent past include a 2010 biennial held in Denver, which first tapped Toronto planner Bruce Mau as its curator and intended to feature art and culture as one of three components (the other two were an “innovation pavilion” and roundtable discussion), assigned seven themes: Education, habitat, economy, energy, health, environment and technology. As Leanne Goebel wrote in AdobeAirstream in 2010: “Consider this then a cross between a lecture series and a trade fair celebrating design and innovation.”

Curator Paola Santoscoy was tapped to curate “The Nature of Things,” the visual arts exhibit connected with that Denver biennial, after Mau was dropped as the Denver Americas’ biennial curator.

As Hofmann noted in her remarks Monday, biennial exhibitions, since SITE Santa Fe launched its international biennial in 1995 (and joined the Whitney and Carnegie as the only biennial or triennial format producers in the US, and the only US international biennial producer then), have proliferated exponentially. Arguably, a close analog to the new SITElines exhibition concept was the organizationally inclusive Los Angeles-wide exhibition, Pacific Standard Time, held in 2011 as an initiative of the Getty that coalesced some 60 presenting arts organizations to spotlight art created in southern California from 1945-1980. The Getty announced in late February that the 2017 sequel to PST, would be titled L.A./L.A. for Los Angeles/Latin America (read Jori Finkel’s LA Times post here), an announcement which effectively construes that SITE Santa Fe will scoop LA in its north-south axial emphasis.

In Santa Fe, Ryan Rice of the Museum of Contemporary Native Art is one of the SITElines advisers, indicating the import of contemporary Native American art to this panning view of the Americas spanning from Nunavut in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south, Hofmann said.

The additional curatorial advisers are Christopher Cozier; Inti Guerrero; Julieta Gonzalez, Eva Grinstein, Kitty Scott (“satellite” curatorial advisers), and SITEline advisers are Ana Paula Cohen, Luis Croquer, Douglas Fogle, Rosa Martinez, Gerald McMaster, Ryan Rice and Osvaldo Sanchez. Martinez was artistic director of the Istanbul biennial in 1997 and then continued to become guest curator of the SITE Santa Fe biennial in 1999, and director of the Venice biennale in 2005. Sanchez curated inSITE (the San Diego-Tijuana biennial) in 2005.



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