Sunday, May 13, 2012

from the many, one.

Axle Contemporary is a sort of rolling gallery in a truck. The two directors, using that term loosely, because they'd probably laugh, are Matthew Chase-Daniel and Jerry Wellman. Their program, again using the term loosely, involves a few group shows in the summer, with one of them, usually Jerry, manning the gallery and chatting up the visitors, and installations in the winter that are visible through glass, thus the truck can sit unattended.

There are a few sites where the parked truck is welcome, like the Farmer's Market, and SITE Santa Fe, but if they want to park it downtown, for instance, they have some serious issues. I'm not sure if they feed the meter all day or what. But that's where the bulk of the walking traffic is, especially in the summer.

Their latest project is called E Pluribus Unum which involved taking a photograph of anyone who walked in, and each person would hold something that was dear to them. At the end, after the portraits were displayed all over the truck, the photographs were combined into one portrait, a meta-being if you will. It's pretty clearly female, and I can't reproduce it so you'll have to check it out here.

I thought it was a brilliant idea and I bought the book that they published of all the photos. Some of them are people I knew, my students, colleagues, and friends; but most of them I don't. As I flip through the book I reflect on how the people in it are specific to Santa Fe in a way- I mean they certainly don't look like folks back east. I regret not taking part, and I can't explain why I didn't except I don't love having my photo taken and displayed on a truck. The project speaks to the specificity of place and time and having the book gives me a little piece of that.

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