Published: September 20, 2016
Review and Photos by Laura Beach
SANTA FE, N.M. — Garry Shandling, who died in March, leaves behind a legacy as a writer, actor, director, producer, stand-up comedian and talk-show host. His sharp wit was matched by a sensitive taste, influenced by his childhood in Tucson and career in Los Angeles, for Southwest-inflected fine and decorative art.
Presented by Kim Martindale and John Morris at El Museo Cultural, August 11–14, Objects of Art Santa Fe offered entree into Shandling’s world and, by extension, insight into Santa Fe’s cultural lingua franca, a sophisticated blend of global references shaped by the seasonal influx of well-heeled buyers, many of them from California and Texas.
Exhibitor Philip Garaway has a life story both exceptional and typical for Objects of Art Santa Fe. He spent his teen years on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and opened the Native American Art Gallery in Venice, Calif., in 1983. The widow of comedian George Carlin, who Garaway had long known, approached him about selling Shandling’s things. The special presentation mounted at Objects of Art by Garaway resulted in his sale of “Las Monjas” by the Mexican Modernist Alfredo Ramos Martinez (1871–1946) to a Dallas collector on opening night. By the end of Martindale and Morris’s two back-to-back shows in Santa Fe, nearly two thirds of the Shandling material had sold.
A parallel tale unfolded in the booth of Ron Winters, who limited his display to work from the collection of Allen A. Davis. Head of CBS Records International in London and the recording company PolyGram, Davis, an intimate of rock star royalty, retired to Santa Fe. He died there in 2015, having assembled a diverse art collection.
“Davis juxtaposed contemporary art with ancient pieces. They worked in harmony with one another,” said Winters, who paired an Eighteenth Century Venetian mirror with Pre-Columbian ceramic figures and stone carvings. A framed work by Robert Motherwell hung over the Tang Dynasty horse that Winters sold to a well-known New York dealer.
Not limited by age or origin, the free-spirited Objects of Art Santa Fe emphasizes the handcrafted and well-designed and appeals, say organizers, “to the sensibilities of modern-day collectors who are not afraid to mix the old and the new.” Seventy exhibitors participated in the show that opened with a benefit for New Mexico PBS on Thursday, August 11. Management said attendance topped 4,000, a 15 percent increase versus a year ago. Actress Diane Keaton stopped by the booth of Monterey Garage to see her sister Dorrie Hall. The Pasadena, Calif., dealer’s inventory emphasizes Monterey furniture, vintage signs, rugs and textiles, fine art and garden pottery.
“It has been an excellent show. I sold a tramp art piece to Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art, which is organizing an exhibition on the subject,” said Jean Compton, a Wimberley, Texas, dealer with an enthusiastic following for American folk and Outsider art. Endowed with a great eye and a talent for display, Compton, who participates in New York’s Outsider Art Fair, each year here mounts a themed display on her outside wall. This year’s theme was “Creatures Great and Small.” The “creatures,” said Compton, “jumped off the wall.” One prize was a painted wood ark toy with 60 figures priced at $2,000.
Inside the booth, more than a dozen framed works on paper by Larry John Palsson hung in colorful profusion next to large Tonala pottery vases from Mexico and a pieced and appliquéd quilt. Palsson and Compton’s role in popularizing the late Seattle Outsider artist have been chronicled by Raw Vision and Art and Antiques magazines. By Saturday, Compton had sold three of her nine 1930s to 1950s Tonala vases. “One went to a gal from San Antonio, Texas. She asked, ‘Can you ship this?’ I said, ‘I’ll do better. I’ll deliver it. I live about an hour away,” Compton recalled with a smile.
Objects of Art LLC recently acquired the San Francisco Tribal & Textile Art Show from Caskey-Lees and will mount the 31-year-old fair at Fort Mason February 9-12. The fit between the two companies was a good one, as Objects of Arts traditional emphasis on textiles and costumes underscores.
“Attendance has been good and buying and interest have been strong,” confirmed Lee Chinalai of Chinalai Tribal Antiques and Chinalai Modern. The Shoreham, N.Y., dealers sold a glittering Hami vest from China’s Yunaan Province and had interest in a Miao cotton and wool robe with arresting geometric designs.
Margaret and Curtis Clemson of Dancing Threads arrayed the finely woven textiles they collected in Indonesia in the 1970s. “Some date to the Eighteenth Century. For textiles to survive that long in the tropics is extraordinary,” said Margaret Clemson. The Santa Fe dealers will curate the special exhibit for the San Francisco Tribal & Textile Art Show.
Another of Objects of Art’s many intriguing personalities is Native American art dealer Dr Mark Sublette, whose Medicine Man Gallery operates out of Tucson and Santa Fe. A physician by training, Sublette was on hand to sign copies of his new book, The Butterfly Twins, the latest volume in Sublette’s Charles Bloom Murder Mystery series.
Jewels Hawes exemplifies Objects of Art’s fluid regard for world design past and present. Hawes, who maintains studios in Santa Fe and Marrakech, repurposes fragments — beads, talismans and the like — of antique North African adornment into new wearable art. Jewels also sells intact antique ethnographic jewelry.
Martindale and Morris are taking Objects of Art on the road. The Los Angeles edition of the fair debuts at The Reef in Los Angeles from April 21-23. Objects of Art Santa Fe returns to New Mexico in August 2017.
For information, www.objectsofartsantafe.com.
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