The biggest week in Santa Fe is here, centering around the 87th Indian Market with 1,200 artists from 100 tribes exhibiting this weekend (2008 poster at left by Cochiti artist Mateo Romero). Over 100,000 visitors are expected downtown. Yesterday I went to the 30th Whitehawk Antique Indian Show, sneaking in on the last hour to get a sense of how prices are going for items and what is being shown. I saw one original Allan Houser sketch, a couple of Helen Cordero story tellers (priced at $22,000 and above) and two Harrison Begays for close to $1,000 each. I came out empty handed, determined to wear more of my grandmother's silver and turquoise jewelry since it seems more valuable now but thinking old bolos on men aren't so interesting looking anymore.
Contemporary bolo ties are new forms that local men are eying and buying. Extra events are all over the place, early and late, like a breakfast with Cochiti artist Diego Romero tomorrow morning. Kachina carving is considered a dying art so there won't be much of this art form. Harrison Begay, the oldest living artist from Dorothy Dunn's Santa Fe Indian Art Studio won't be there exhibiting and his work isn't influencing new artists much anymore.
Legends Gallery in Santa Fe is not alone in having events at 5:00 a.m. One of most influential artists in the Contemporary Indian Art movement is Kevin Red Star, raised on the Crow reservation in Montana. His schooling in art at the Institute of American Arts in Santa Fe was a pivotal element in his art career trajectory -- he was among the first 150 students selected in 1962 to attend the (then) experimental Native American art school in Santa Fe which has become a dynamic force in contemporary Indian art.
Kevin Red Star's works, such as the one at right, have an echo of the Plains Indian tradition of flat line figurative art produced on animal hides. It was that style that was encouraged in Oklahoma by the head of the University of Oklahoma Art Department and the Kiowa Indians who then exhibited their works abroad became known internationally as the Kiowa Five. Dorothy Dunn then took that approach with her students in Santa Fe. Last year's exhibit of Pablito Vellarde's works at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture was one of the few showcases of Dunn's students works.
Some of the best original artwork in America will be showcased here. I can't wait.