Matthew Irwin

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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Post image for Going WEST in Austin

AUSTIN, Tex. — A few months ago, when Salon.com 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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