Sunday, October 14, 2007


Props to Aran Donovan in our classified-ad department for inviting me out to the unTRAINed opening on Friday night at the ... err ... how do I describe where it was held? OK, I think I've got it. You know SITE Santa Fe, that art space lauded last month in the NY Times? Well, let's imagine that one of the installations caught on fire a la Charles Saatchi and you, the patron-peruser, had to make a mad dash for the back exit (I say back, because, really, if you ran out the front, you'd run face first into that awesome white-pole installation). So, keep imagining with me ... You run out the back door ... and smack into a box car and a luxury train car. That, friends, was the place to be Friday night. Or at least it was the place I was, and I wouldn't have been anywhere else. Same goes for Emiliano and Co., though it looks like I beat him to the blog.

According to Aran, who is on the inside track, so to speak, on all things Railyard-related, a few artistically inclined kids, some, I understand, being graduates of College of Santa Fe, cleaned out and refurbished an old box car, and turned it into an art space. And for openings, they roll over the luxury liner for drinks 'n' musical performance.

I didn't catch the names of the artists on exhibition on Friday. And for that there's no excuse, only an explanation: I didn't have my notepad with me and when I came through, their generator wasn't working and so it was pretty dark. I suppose I could've taken a camera-phone snap of the name card, but I didn't. (If you know their names, email me at davem @ and I'll update this post).

There were two artists on display (Aran was a bit disappointed that her wood-cutting friend wasn't one of them), with two very different styles. On the top-top, you see an example of the book-based conceptual sculptures -- very Fluxus if you ask me, but what do I know, I'm a news writer. I really get a kick out of art that plays with words; the image top-top isn't really clear, but that's a book called "Passages in Modern Sculpture." The artist has cut holes right through the middle, and looped through long paper ribbons of test. Very clever, especially the very appropriate Post-It note amending the title to read "Passage in Post-Modern Sculpture." On the other side of the gallery space there was a huge hollowed out dictionary, where the artist had meticulous left hanging single words, like "one" and "light" in a sort of tiered poetry. That was the most impressive, in my opinion, but it was too dark on that side to photograph.

The image on the top-bottom is a close-up of one of the paintings on the other side of the train car. I have mixed feelings about that display. I do like paintings that are so heavily painted that there's a topography of texture, and in this case it did kind of fit with their tribal themes. At first I thought there were too many damn paintings on the wall, as if the artist thought this would be his/her only show this year and had to show everything. Reflecting back, though, this too was fitting, because combined with the unintentional darkness, it created the impression of walking through a dark rainforest shaded by a jungle canopy. It was a nice effect, but I can't say I was as as impressed as I was with the book art.

After about 15 minutes in the dark box car, Aran and I migrated over to the luxury car for beer. Emiliano and his crew turned up and shared the top level of the double-decker, a greenhouse like observation room with comfy, swively chairs. It was one of the best post-opening cocktail hours I've ever experienced.

I'm not sure how often unTRAINed will put on these events, but I wouldn't mind if it was a twice-monthly even. Hell, if they installed an espresso machine and a Wifi router, I can imagine hanging out with a book and laptop a few afternoons a week.

So, in conclusion: Kudos, Props, Thumbs up, High fives and knuckle knocks. This is why I'm falling in love with Santa Fe.