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David Bradley
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Drew Lenihan

David Bradley, "The Passage," 2012, acrylic on canvas, 21 x 20." Collection of Robert L. and Linda K.

Continuing through January 16, 2016

David Bradley has lived and worked in New Mexico since the mid-1970s, a time when Santa Fe’s art market was beginning to boom. His art focuses on the identity of Santa Fe with its sharply critical regard for the art market and its depiction of Native Americans. His landscapes are layered with ironic characters: coyote tricksters, John Wayne, and borrowed figures from canonized art. The mostly oil on canvas paintings tell a warped narrative of a fantastical Santa Fe, where Picasso mingles with Geronimo, Hell’s Angels bikers share dinner with Magritte’s 1964 "The Son of Man" and Godzilla lights Zozobra, the 80-foot tall effigy by artist Will Shuster that burns to the ground every October during Fiestas de Santa Fe


Through these pictorial juxtapositions, the work directs viewers' focus to an oral history of indigenous identity and art in New Mexico, as well as situating its place in the broader spectrum of western art. This all amounts to a hysterical critique of the theme park of art Santa Fe has become in the 40-odd years Bradley has spent working here. There are also deeper undertones of Santa Fe-specific social issues surrounding the sensitive subject of indigenous appropriation, the region's own art history and what it means to be truly authentic within a constructed cultural environment.

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