Mixed Media James Kelly Contemporary’s The Last Picture Show
LEAVIN’ THE HOOD: JAMES KELLY CONTEMPORARY’S THE LAST PICTURE SHOW
For 19 years, James Kelly Contemporary has been a fixture in the Railyard District. The gallery, which opened in 1997, has moved over the years but has remained in the same neighborhood, occupying the old Sears warehouse building across from SITE Santa Fe and, since 2014, their current Paseo de Peralta location. The gallery’s focus has been on postwar artists from Europe and America, as well as established and emerging regional artists. But owner James Kelly is closing up shop in Santa Fe and taking his expertise to California, where he has accepted a position with the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles. “The nature of the art world has changed over the last 10 years,” Kelly told Pasatiempo. “A lot of the market has been consolidated among the very large galleries with multiple locations around the world, and all of the auction houses and art fairs are becoming stronger in selling contemporary art. For the mid-level galleries like mine, it’s becoming more difficult to compete in this new world. I felt like I had brought my gallery as far as I could here.”
Kelly was diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumor three years ago and, until recently, has kept a low profile after recovering from surgery. “This health issue made me rethink what I was doing with my life,” he said.
The Gagosian Gallery was founded in 1980 by American art dealer Larry Gagosian and has 16 locations, including spaces in New York City, London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Rome. The Gagosian’s roster contains major players in the modern and contemporary art worlds, including Diane Arbus, Cy Twombly, Arshile Gorky, Ed Ruscha, and Pablo Picasso. “I’ve known Larry and reached out to him, and he hired me very quickly,” Kelly said. “It was not a decision I took lightly because I worried about what my artists would be doing if I closed. Every one of them were supportive in my decision.”
Before James Kelly Contemporary closes its doors, the gallery is mounting one final exhibition — The Last Picture Show — which includes works from all the gallery’s artists, such as painter Susan Rothenberg, photographers David Taylor and Nic Nicosia, multimedia artist James Drake, sculptors Susan York and Tom Miller (the last two artists to receive solo exhibits at the gallery), sculptor Tom Joyce, and many more. The reception for The
is at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 29. The exhibition remains on view through Sept. 3, coinciding with the closing of the gallery, which is located at 1611 Paseo de Peralta; 505-989-1601. — Michael Abatemarco
Peter Sarkisian: Cup’a Joe; 2011; powder-coated steel and aluminum, oversized ceramic cup, concrete, tinted polymer resin, paper, coins, video projection, and audio