Santa Fe Culture: Past Meets Future

Past Meets Future (Travel + Leisure)

Becoming Human, a 30-foot-tall sculpture by Christian Ristow, greets visitors to the House of Eternal Return. Brian Finke (Source: “Past Meets Future”, Travel + Leisure)

The city’s carefully constructed image as a mecca of Southwestern-themed art, turquoise jewelry, and folksy spiritualism has lately begun to evolve, thanks to a group of oddball artists and entrepreneurs who insist on seeing their hometown differently. (Source: Amanda Fortini, “In Santa Fe, the Past Meets the Future”Travel + Leisure)

In this Travel + Leisure article, Fortini explains how the cultural identity of Santa Fe was deliberately crafted to portray its Southwestern aesthetic to encourage tourism — “the idea was to give the city a historic regional identity and the patina of an exotic travel destination.” It has worked well and the city does attract many travelers and it has even become one of the best known art destinations in the United States. However, some felt that the the art styles being promoted and encouraged were only those that fit with the theme already embraced as the Santa Fe style and limited the possibilities of new art styles. That has recently begun to change.

Using a new installation created by the company Meow Wolf as an ultimate example of the new artistic movement, Fortini describes The House of Eternal Return “as a haunted house without the monsters, an amusement park without the rides, an acid trip without the drugs,” it is both an abstract visual experience and has a mysterious narrative waiting to be explored. The complex that contains this feature also has studios, offices, and a youth-education center. Although not like the “traditional” art of Santa Fe this destination is drawing in the crowds and is showcasing the fact that Santa Fe can be this blend of old and new styles and doesn’t need to be stuck with a singular identity.

Fortini also explores some other traditions that are being played with, updated, or ignored including what is seen as art by Native Americans that doesn’t need to “look like” Native American art and in the category of culinary “art” the popular chiles of Santa Fe.

The article also discusses the issue of an aging population of Santa Fe residents, and what some are doing to try to develop policies and activities to help attract and keep a youth population, like encouraging more night life (as there is a lack) that would be available for and of interest to a younger crowd.

The article also ends with a list of recommendations of both places embracing the traditional and others the new, so check it out: “In Santa Fe, the Past Meets the Future.”

Leave a Reply