Books Arts & Photography

Crafting Devotions: Tradition in Contemporary New Mexico Santos

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Pages: 237

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:Unknown - University of New Mexico Press

By: Laurie Beth Kalb

Santos, or Hispano Catholic religious images, are an important expression of Hispano New Mexican culture, and have been since santos were introduced in the sixteenth century by Spanish colonists. Santos are also becoming more and more marketable to a growing audience of museums and private collectors. This interest is abundantly clear in galleries around Santa Fe and in northern New Mexico, especially at the annual Spanish Market each July. In this first serious study of contemporary santeros working in northern New Mexico, amply illustrated throughout with beautiful color photographs, Laurie Beth Kalb examines the role and meaning of tradition in the work of a number of artists, both living and deceased, including Luis Tapia, Patrocinio Barela, Marco and Patricia Oviedo, Enrique Rendon, and many others. For each of these artists, the meaning of tradition varies, and the issues of self-representation, cultural expression, preservation, innovation, and market demands are all complex, powerful, and delicate. It is both troublesome and rewarding to be able to support a family on the sales of religious images to Anglo buyers. The mainstream fine art world, tourism, religion, and ethnic politics all play roles in the creation of traditional works in a contemporary world. For all the santeros, the tangle of religious, commercial, political, and aesthetic forces requires complicated choices far beyond the basic relationships between themselves and their saints. Laurie Beth Kalb tells a fascinating and revealing story about a unique art form and its significance.  

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