Santa Fe’s 10 Best Contemporary Art Galleries

Photo of Lauren England
10 October 2016

Santa Fe’s Art and Museum District has evolved over the years into a vibrant hub for contemporary art. With a cluster of high-quality galleries located within the Railyard complex, Santa Fe presents a variety of cutting-edge exhibitions by up-and-coming, as well as significant blue-chip artists. These ten contemporary art galleries put Santa Fe on the map as a key destination for respected art in New Mexico.

Santa Fe Railyard District | © Jmeeter

Center for Contemporary Arts

The Center for Contemporary Arts is a hub for contemporary art of all forms including film, visual arts, and performance. Founded in 1979, the vibrant and ever-evolving venue is one of the oldest arts-oriented organizations in the area. It provides an interdisciplinary exhibition and education program that explores current issues, encouraging critical discourse on contemporary art topics and community engagement. The center focuses on multifaceted collaborative exhibitions presenting the region with a range of provocative, conceptual artworks. Its in-house Spector Ripps Project Space, for example, is dedicated to the presentation of risk-taking first-time exhibitions by New Mexico artists such as Zoe Blackwell, Brandon Soder, and Betsy Emil, in addition to exploring spatial experimentation, site-specificity, and scale.

Center for Contemporary Arts, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe, NM, USA +1 505 982 1338

SITE Santa Fe

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SITE Santa Fe, Facade Architectural Intervention, Greg Lynn/FORM
SITE Santa Fe, Facade Architectural Intervention, Greg Lynn/FORM | Courtesy of the gallery © Kate Russell
Non-profit art museum SITE Santa Fe has been responsible for bringing global attention and important works of contemporary art to Santa Fe since its inception in 1995. SITE has an extensive year-round exhibition schedule showcasing innovative contemporary art, and a strong educational program encouraging community engagement with avant-garde works. The organization’s mission is to nurture, discover and inspire through contemporary art, working collaboratively with local and international emerging and established artists to present groundbreaking solo and thematic group exhibitions. The exterior of SITE is also a work of art in itself, featuring installations by different artists, designers, and architects such as Greg Lynn. SITE’s new biennale exhibition series, SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas consists of a six­-year program of linked exhibitions focusing on contemporary art and cultural production in the Americas, beginning with Unsettled Landscapesin 2014, and with future exhibitions in 2016 and 2018.

Evoke Contemporary

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Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe
Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe
EVOKE Contemporary holds a diverse range of exhibitions and events showcasing provocative artworks by internationally renowned artists from New Mexico and abroad. Over the years, EVOKE has evolved into a prestigious cultural destination, representing Santa Fe’s distinct and varied heritage. Located within the Railyard complex amongst a number of established galleries, EVOKE is a key feature of the Arts and Museum District and the First Friday Art Walks. Featured artists include figurative painter Kent Williams and landscape painters Francis Di Fronzo and Lisa Grossman. Alongside its regular exhibition schedule, EVOKE holds several collaborative annual events throughout the year such as E.A.T Edible Art Tour in association with ART Feast, which takes place every February.

Turner Carroll Gallery

Turner Carroll Gallery has a global outlook when choosing artists to represent. Since its establishment in 1991, the gallery, owned by experienced gallerists Michael Carroll and Tonya Turner, has presented works by artists from Romania, Ireland, France, Russia, Mexico, Korea, China, and Japan. Several of Turner Carroll’s featured artists including Michael Coleman, Josh Garber, Rupert Garcia and Hung Liu also exhibit internationally at prestigious museums. The gallery is an active member of the local community, regularly fundraising for arts education in collaboration with arts charities in Santa Fe. In addition to their main gallery program, Turner Carroll Gallery also organizes exhibitions and charity events through its contemporary Mexican Art project ArteMita.

Turner Carroll Gallery, 725 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505 986 9800

Courtesy of Zane Bennett Gallery

Courtesy of Zane Bennett Gallery

Zane Bennett Gallery

Housed in one of the most unique architectural spaces in the Railyard complex, Zane Bennett Gallery has a strong presence on the national contemporary art scene. The cutting-edge interior is matched by the stimulating exhibition program of shows by established, mid-career and emerging artists, alongside a number of blue-chip names. Featured artists include Mary Shaffer, Roger Atkins, Rachel Stevens, and Joshua Rose, among others. Zane Bennett Gallery features works in a variety of traditional mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture and photography as well as new media and video installations. Visually engaging but also accessible, the shows take place within the gallery’s numerous exhibition spaces surrounding its stunning atrium and glass staircase.

Zane Bennett Gallery, The Railyard, 435 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM, +1 505 982 8111

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, founded by gallerist Charlotte Jackson in 1998, has gained international recognition for their focus on Monochrome artworks, light and space, and California modernists. The gallery has a well-defined and unique vision, which is presented internationally through a number of visually stimulating, high-quality exhibitions throughout the year. Charlotte Jackson represents renowned artists such as Charles Arnoldi, James Turrell and Anne Truitt, among numerous others. Charlotte Jackson’s other ventures include founding the non-profit arts organization Art Santa Fe Presents, the organization behind Art Santa Fe art fair in 2003. Over the years, Jackson has elevated the status of this fair from a regional to an important event for the international art community.

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, The Railyard 554 S. Guadalupe, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505 989 8688

Charles Arnoldi Possession, Image courtesy of Charlotte Jackson Fine Art

Charles Arnoldi Possession | Image courtesy of Charlotte Jackson Fine Art

James Kelly Contemporary

Museum, Art Gallery
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James Kelly Contemporary Gallery, Santa Fe
James Kelly Contemporary Gallery, Santa Fe | Courtesy James Kelly Contemporary
James Kelly Contemporary is unique to Santa Fe and the Southwest region of the United States. Focusing on museum-quality exhibitions by national and international emerging and established post-war artists, the gallery is recognized for its high standard of exhibition content and presentation. Established in 1997, James Kelly’s 1998 inaugural exhibition featured the now internationally acclaimed artists Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Susan Rothenberg, and Richard Tuttle, all of whom were living in the Santa Fe region at the time. The gallery has since maintained deep ties to the region, representing local artists whilst also bringing in the latest international talents. James Kelly Contemporary has also been instrumental in the ongoing development of the Railyard District, the focal point of the Santa Fe contemporary art community.

Karan Ruhlen Gallery

Karan Ruhlen is a key venue for contemporary art by well-established New Mexico artists. Often referred to as one of Santa Fe’s most preeminent art venues, the gallery is owned and run by veteran painter and arts advocate Karan Ruhlen. For over 20 years, the gallery has represented some of the best contemporary, nature-inspired paintings and sculptures, but the range of works on show at Karan Ruhlen is highly diverse, portraying varying styles from realistic, to minimalistic and abstract. The gallery’s main focus is on paintings, drawings, and sculptures, exhibited at a number of solo and group exhibitions throughout the year. Represented artists of note include Pauline Ziegen and Stephen Pentak.

Karan Ruhlen Gallery, 225 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505 820 0807

Pauline Ziegen, The hour of departure | Image courtesy of Karan Ruhlen Gallery

Pauline Ziegen, The hour of departure | Image courtesy of Karan Ruhlen Gallery

David Richard Gallery

David Richard Gallery is one of the premier art galleries in Santa Fe. You will find numerous important contemporary and historical artworks on show here, particularly those linked to post-war and contemporary abstract art movements. David Richard Gallery presents works in a variety of mediums, focusing on works of abstract expressionism, Color Field, geometric, op art, pop art, minimalism, and conceptualism. Their extensive roster includes emerging and well-established American and international artists, and the schedule is filled with contemporary shows alongside key exhibitions of significant modern artworks – organized through the gallery’s curatorial collaboration program – which explore key thematic developments in art practice from the 1960s through the 1980s. David Richard is not only a high-quality gallery but also an interactive environment for artists, collectors, curators, and the wider art community.

David Richard Gallery, The Railyard 544 South Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505 983 9555

LewAllen Contemporary

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Ronnie Landfield, After the Rain, Exhibition View, 2013
Ronnie Landfield, After the Rain, Exhibition View, 2013 | Image courtesy of LewAllen Contemporary
Part of the collection of galleries found in the Railyard, LewAllen Contemporary is the largest and most modern site of them all. Designed specifically to exhibit fine art, its stunning museum-like space has earned a national and international reputation for showcasing a diverse range of contemporary artworks by internationally acclaimed artists. LewAllen Contemporary features a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, paper, and glass works by artists such as Hiroshi Yamano, Emily Mason, and Tracy Rocca. As a pioneer of contemporary and modern art in Santa Fe, the gallery also represents distinguished emerging artists ensuring the delivery of cutting-edge exhibitions. Throughout the year LewAllen Contemporary delivers a strong program of educational events and publications to coincide with its stimulating exhibition schedule.

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