Matthew Irwin

Post image for An Experimental Performance Captures Prison, Neglects Inmates

ALBUQUERQUE — Carlos Contreras glares down from the stage at Tricklock Performance Laboratory, animated and preaching into the mic like the National Poetry Slam champion that he is.

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Post image for ‘Game of Thrones’ Author Funds Interactive Art Center

ALBUQUERQUE — Last week, George R.R. Martin, writer of the Game of Thrones books, made his second multimillion-dollar property investment in Santa Fe’s entertainment and tourism industry.

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Post image for What Happens When You Steal an Artist’s Identity

ALBUQUERQUE — If you live on the West Coast, you’ve probably already read plenty about Jessamyn Lovell’s “revenge” piece Dear Erin Hart,.

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Post image for Opening a Gallery in a Contemporary Art Desert

ALBUQUERQUE — Writer, curator, and (now) gallery owner Nancy Zastudil summarized her experience opening a commercial art gallery in Albuquerque with one Facebook post.

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IFAM organizers

ALBUQUERQUE — Not often, when a popular board member leaves an arts organization, do constituents get riled enough to do something about it, other than perhaps grumble on Facebook. However, John Torres Nez’s resignation from the Southwestern Association of Indian Art in April tapped a well of discontent that had been bubbling for a while: Native artists were unhappy with Native art markets run by non-Natives.

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Post image for SITE Santa Fe’s Attempt to Kill the Biennial

SANTA FE, New Mexico — SITE Santa Fe claims to have established the first international art biennial in the United States. The year was 1995, the theme was “Longing and Belonging,” the raison d’être was to create a global exhibition in lil’ ole Santa Fe, and the response was so strong, according to the organization’s current director and curator, Irene Hofmann, that “SITE Santa FE” shifted from the name of a biennial to a cultural institution with full-time programming the very next year.

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Going WEST in Austin

by Matthew Irwin on May 1, 2013

Post image for Going WEST in Austin

AUSTIN, Tex. — A few months ago, when announced its search for a new culture editor (who would be based in New York City), a fan quickly snarked on Facebook that Gotham is passé; Austin is the new home of American culture.

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Post image for A Bolivian City Where Street Art Means Activism

It’s a drizzly Sunday in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and the cafés near the Simon Patiño Cultural Center are closed. We duck into Blueberry, a Bolivian knockoff of the Pinkberry franchise, where on a warmer day, affluent teenagers might be making out on the candy-colored couches, the boys occasionally turning to tease each other, while English speakers crowd the benches with gossip from home. But today, I sit in the stark-white space alone with the street artists El Dengue, Li Q, and Machy, as well as an interpreter, to discuss the local urban art movement over hot, too-sweet coffee. Immediately, we recognize the irony of our location. “Bolivia is a country for sale,” El Dengue says.

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Post image for Going East in the Southwest: A Studio Tour of Austin

AUSTIN — At a photography exhibition during the East Austin Studio Tour (EAST), visitors wondered aloud if Big Medium, the nonprofit that organizes the 11-year-old event, would ever jury the participants. The EAST catalogue, they noted, had expanded to nearly 550 pages to accommodate more than 400 artists and many “happenings.”

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