Art has increasingly gained a foothold in the virtual space, but there will always be some undeniable appeal to encounters with art in the physical realm. These two worlds are set to meet at a new digital art space in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on April 30. Art Vault, launched by the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation, is a 3,500-square-foot art space dedicated to electronic, virtual, and new media works — one of very few such spaces in the United States.
The nonprofit gallery and two-story public exhibition space will feature themed exhibitions based around the Thoma Collection. It also offers free admission to the public. The inaugural exhibitions showcase 36 works from the collection in multiple media and spanning the 18th to the 21st centuries — which underscores the foundation’s expansive view on what constitutes new media art.
The first floor will feature Networked Nature — a show of digital and media artworks that connect with “nature’s creative energy.” Artists include Nancy Burson, Jim Campbell, Daniel Canogar, Guillermo Galindo, Ja’Tovia Gary, Hiraki Sawa, and Elias Sime, experimenting with an array of physical and virtual technologies include virtual reality, 3D-printing, information visualization, sculpture, photography, and more.
The upstairs exhibition, Saint Somebody, examines the notion and aesthetics of sainthood, pulling together work from the Thoma Foundation’s collections in Digital & Media Art, Contemporary Southwestern, and Art of the Spanish Americas. Artists include José Armijo, Dara Birnbaum, Desmond Paul Henry, Cauleen Smith, Anne Spalter, Bill Viola, Saya Woolfalk, and an unidentified artist from 18th-century Cuzco, Peru. The exhibition asserts that “the litany of saints is also a history of art,” and presents a timeline of works in response to that central theme as evidence.
Art Vault, to be found at 540 South Guadalupe Street, will take the place of the Thoma Foundation’s Art House at 231 Delgado Street in Santa Fe, which will transition to the foundation’s main office location. With this new expansion, the Thoma Foundation continues to contribute to a Santa Fe art scene that provocatively threads some of the world’s most traditional concepts of art with some of the newest and least conventional.