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SITE Santa Fe Announces Curators, Theme, and Dates for 2018 Biennial

SITE Santa Fe renovation designed by SHoP Architects.

Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

SITE Santa Fe has announced the curatorial team for the 2018 edition of SITElines, the institution’s biennial, which is dedicated to art from the Americas. The team is José Luis Blondet, a special projects curator at LACMA, independent curator Candice Hopkins, and MoMA PS1’s Ruba Katrib. In addition, Naomi Beckwith, a curator at MCA Chicago, will serve as an advisor.

The theme of the latest edition of SITElines, which runs August 3, 2018, through January 6, 2019, was inspired in part by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar’s 1946 short story, “Casa tomada” (“House Taken Over”). In a joint email, the curators said that it “is a story of a brother and sister who are gradually and mysteriously kicked out of the house where they had lived all of their lives,” and explained that it serves as a “potent metaphor to address current issues of housing, ownership, and displacement.”

“New Mexico is in the center of hot button issues like immigration, which is why we decided that this exhibition also offers an opportunity to speak about borders,” the group added. The central mystery in “Casa Tomada” revolves around who exactly is driving the siblings out of their house. For the curators this invisible threat—”real or perceived?” they write—also reflects the need to not only focus on the “outright political dimension” of immigration issues, but also “how these conditions are internalized and subverted through various means.”

“Santa Fe is also a city that is created from, supports, and also performs, indigenous cultures within North America—in part through its booming marketplace of art and crafts,” the group said. By bringing tourism to Santa Fe, the curators admit that SITElines fuels this “complex mix of traditions, contemporary cultures and their various forms of commodification.” Taking this into careful consideration, the curators said they have  engaged the local community throughout their planning work, commissioning new work by local artists, holding all curatorial meetings in Santa Fe, and doing studio visits with local artists. They have also established the SITE Center, a year-round physical space that engages the local community through “long-term artist-led projects.”

As for those participating artists, the official list of them will soon be announced in a rather idiosyncratic manner: through a song written by Los Angeles-based artist Stephanie Taylor. “We are still finalizing the list of artists,” the curators said, noting that the exhibition’s themes have “emerged from many of the artists we are considering and speaking to.”

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