A Latest Historical past of Albuquerque’s DIY Galleries

ALBUQUERQUE — Because the millennium, DIY galleries have contributed considerably to Albuquerque’s vibrant modern artwork scene, supporting the practices and careers of artists and curators. A variety of these areas handed from one group to a different, fostering connection, creativity, and group within the course of.

At first look, the unassuming Territorial Revival storefront comprising 1413-1415 Fourth Avenue SW within the Barelas neighborhood may not appear the likeliest nexus for Albuquerque’s experimental artwork scenes. Largely occupied since 2004, this block of Fourth Avenue has housed a number of DIY areas, together with Donkey Gallery, The Regular, The Tan, The Tannex, Small Engine Gallery, GRAFT Gallery, fourteenfifteen gallery, and La Chancla. 

Alongside different notable artist-run areas in Albuquerque throughout the twenty first century — like Off Lomas, an outside gallery run by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Raven Chacon (Diné) and curator Candice Hopkins (Carcross/Tagish First Nation), micro-gallery Vitrine, and Postcommodity’s efficiency artwork hub Spirit Abuse — Fourth Avenue has a storied historical past of empowering particular person inventive expression and collaborative curation.

In-built 1954 to accommodate ABC Actual Property and Coronado Chili Merchandise — and later Nick’s Small Engine Restore, whose signal by Frank Holmes stays to today — this concrete block and stucco constructing discovered new function in 2004, when David Leigh and Sherlock Terry approached fellow College of New Mexico (UNM) graduate scholar Larry Bob Phillips with their imaginative and prescient, inviting him to function a live-in anchor for Donkey Gallery at 1415, an area centered on scholar and normal artwork exhibitions by 2006. 

Phillips now serves because the Roswell Artist in Residency program’s government director, the place he was as soon as additionally a resident artist. Phillips informed Hyperallergic, “I feel the teachings I realized at Donkey Gallery have been integrative: placing on a present, coping with artists, bringing the house collectively, and making a theme. All these components — from taking part in a present to drawing a postcard — required expertise we had as a gaggle or individually, however bringing all of it collectively was an vital lesson.”

Group members paint Luke Hussack’s (aka Brapola) “Al Hurricane” mural at The Tannex (2013) (picture courtesy The Tannex)

UNM undergraduate Eli Wentzel-Fisher based The Normal in 2009 within the former Donkey Gallery house. Wentzel-Fisher ran The Regular for nearly two years earlier than passing the curatorial torch to Andy Lyman, who constructed The Tan. In response to Lyman, “The Tan was a totally noncommercial house. If artists wished to promote work, they might nevertheless it was not an artwork retail house. We by no means had costs listed … and the first curiosity and focus was doing issues that existed temporally inside that house, even when it was a collective physique of labor.”

Across the similar time Chacon, Mateo Galindo, and Malinda Thursz-Galindo took over the house subsequent door as Small Engine Gallery, a collectively operated gallery devoted to exhibiting artwork in all media. They handed the house on to Luke Hussack and Scott Williams in 2012, and whereas that iteration ended the next yr, artists Bradford Erickson and Jackie Riccio reopened the house beneath the identical moniker and with comparable intentions in 2015. 

I spoke with Mateo Galindo in Marfa, Texas, the place Malinda now serves as Chinati Foundation’s Affiliate Director of Improvement and the place the 2 plan to open one other gallery, Tierra y Que. Galindo stated, “Albuquerque has a lineage of individuals making one thing for themselves and the group. Teams of individuals can nonetheless get collectively and attempt to preserve folks secure and show issues you’ll be able to’t see [at a commercial gallery] or in Santa Fe. It’s vital for the town, particularly the college.” 

Within the spring of 2013, Marya Errin Jones created The Tannex at 1417 as a efficiency annex to The Tan in live performance with Andy Lyman and Joe Cardillo. House to Albuquerque’s solely zine library and run solo by Jones for 4 of its seven years, The Tannex proved the longest-lived of those areas, serving as an inclusive efficiency and visible artwork house by the summer season of 2021.

Reyes Padilla stands inside his Syn-aesthetic solo exhibition at GRAFT (2015) (photograph courtesy GRAFT)

“Particularly within the final 4 years of The Tannex, my intention was to have folks of coloration and girls on each invoice,” stated Jones. “It was an area for everybody nevertheless it was additionally an area for me. If a black girl feels comfy within the house, in all probability everybody goes to really feel comfy. On the time, there weren’t any areas on the town the place the needle didn’t scratch on the document [when I walked in].” 

From 2015 to 2018, 1415 Fourth Avenue SW was helmed by one other collective, GRAFTJessica Chao, Danny Crouch, Jazmyn Crosby, Beth Hansen, and Cecilia McKinnon — and centered on collaboration, hybrid practices, and eclectic approaches, exploring themes referring to intimacy in public and private areas, distortion of time and reminiscence, collective relationships, shared identification, and capitalist spectacle in cultural manufacturing. 

McKinnon stated, “Given the success and tenure of this block of buildings, the historic affordability of these areas can’t be ignored. We have been capable of do what we did as a result of we have been renting that house for peanuts. There’s actually an enormous want for artists and organizers to consider the economics of buildings and that tenants’ rights and hire management are issues all of us should be involved about. The work you’re capable of make depends on the type of areas you’re capable of transfer into and experiment in.”

One other curatorial crew — Ren Adams, John Morgan, Cristine Posner, Amanda Dannáe Romero, and GRAFT’s Beth Hansen — took over in 2018, creating fourteenfifteen gallery to creatively interact the group and provides experimental and underrepresented artists the house to take probabilities. Its curators stated that whereas the pandemic and vital renovations by the location’s new proprietor, Homewise, necessitated a prolonged lull in internet hosting public gallery exhibits, they’ve fourteenfifteen and adjunct house Alpaca booked with solo exhibitions, group exhibits, group fundraisers, and movie screenings by 2023. 

Set up view of Apolo Gomez’s Males I Know (2017) at GRAFT, Albuquerque (picture courtesy GRAFT)

The previous Small Engine house was rebuilt in early 2022 by Bethany Baca and Adri De La Cruz as La Chancla, a woman-, nonbinary-, and queer-led house. Along with group collaboration and an intention to move the house on, La Chancla’s focus has been showcasing numerous visible artwork and music with an emphasis on selling queer and nonbinary artists and artists of coloration.

“We’ve seen a number of males do actually nice issues and possibly not-so-great issues, however there hasn’t been as a lot intention positioned on folks like us on this house,” stated De La Cruz. “La Chancla is only a four-walled field. There’s nothing particular about it aside from what’s inside the field. The purpose is having a really clear lens of wanting every little thing besides what we’ve already seen on this house.”

Set up view of Video Retailer (2019) exhibition and fundraiser for Basement Movies at fourteenfifteen gallery, Albuquerque (picture courtesy fourteenfifteen gallery)
Opening reception for Enjoyable-A-Day (2022) group exhibition at fourteenfifteen gallery, Albuquerque (picture courtesy fourteenfifteen gallery)
Set up view of hazel batrezchavez’s solo exhibition Operating with Relations at La Chancla, 2022 (picture courtesy La Chancla)

Editor’s be aware, 2/20/23 6:55pm EST: A earlier model of this publish misidentified hazel batrezchavez exhibition. It has been corrected.