Something to keep in mind is that this story is not all rainbows and butterflies and flower power. — curator Meredith Davidson
A fully restored 1971 VW Transporter bus owned by Michael Canfield of Albuquerque sits on a bed of Astroturf, underscoring what Davidson called the Southwest Circle, a migratory trail that young people drove on expeditions from the Bay Area to the Southwest to Mexico and sometimes back again. “There was a lot of this circular movement that was happening that was in some ways media-driven, in some ways word-of-mouth driven,” Davidson said. “I think there was a real urge to get out of urban scenes, and New Mexico provided the same kind of pull that it had for generations of artists and creatives before theirs. The open landscape and the connection to Native American communities in particular was a really big reason that I think a lot of Anglo visitors ended up coming here and staying here.” Photographer Douglas Magnus’ footage of Santa Fe and its surroundings, shot between 1971 and 1973, plays out of the bus windows to provide a feel for the terrain encountered by these first-time visitors to the state.
Elsewhere, audio from editor Stewart Brand emphasizes that publication’s influence on the commune and back-to-the-land movements. The Lama Foundation pod — which is complete with a 16-foot structure built in tribute to the spiritual commune’s recognizable dome north of Taos, constructed in 1968 — features five never-before-displayed original drawings that Lama residents made for 1971’s the bestselling spiritual guide written by Ram Dass (formerly Richard Alpert, who devoted research to LSD with Timothy Leary at Harvard in the early ’60s). Other sections on the work of Japanese poet Nanao Sakaki, who spent time in Taos, round out the story, as well as panels on the use of peyote, marijuana, and the 1969 summer solstice Bus Race in Aspen