Linda Durham (Photo: New Mexican)

On a sad note: Linda Durham Gallery in Santa Fe will be closing this month after 33 years.

I have admired Linda’s bravado and devotion to her artists and her gallery. I’m sorry to see her move on.

In an interview with Linda that appeared in the Santa Fe Reporter, she had this to say about her decision:

I’m worried about the world. Not just the artists or myself or our community, I’m worried about what’s going on in the world. I don’t represent that many artists on a full-time basis, and the ones I do have a few things in common: They’re brilliant, they’re resourceful and, of course, they’re really good artists, I think. So good things will happen for them. But I think the art world has changed a lot in the last few years, so it’s not what it used to be. The gallery used to be a vehicle for communication, and I love what I’ve learned from artists, what I’ve learned about art, what I’ve learned from people who love art and artists, and the conversation about the importance of art in culture and in life has been central to the gallery. But that’s changed a little bit.

I feel that art is a really, really important component of a good life and important to society. I think real artists are at the vanguard of society and that we learn about ourselves as a culture through art. How do we know cultures of the past? From the architecture and the sculpture and the music and poetry and paintings that remain. What is art teaching us now, and what will the future know about us and our culture and our time from the art that we’re producing? What I’ve noticed is that it’s gotten to be really chic to be involved in the arts. It’s attracting a wider and wider array of people, some whose passion for what they do is deep and profound, and some for whom it’s a whim and a game. And that goes for the art that’s being made, the people who are displaying or showing the art, and the people who are collecting it. It’s different than it was even 20 years ago. It used to be that one became an artist because one had passion for it. And people opened galleries out of love and respect for the work. And people collected for the same reasons.

We’ve lost, as a general group, lost the interest, willingness, ability to slow down and look at something and let it talk. There’s celebrity art, there’s expensive art that makes people salivate—some people—because of its price, because of its fame. Now, anyone can become an artist and anyone can open a gallery and anyone can be a collector. When I started, I didn’t know much, but I spent a lot of time asking, learning, looking, making mistakes and honing a point of view. I don’t think you can have a point of view about art without looking at a lot of art. And I don’t think you can look at a lot of art with a few visits to The Met or the Guggenheim or by taking one class in college.

There is a lot of heart in these words. Good luck to Linda in whatever form her art loving continues.

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