Tasty. Very tasty. This is the kind of place you're either told about because you've got a snootful of money and class, or you find it on your own-probably because you've got a snootful of money and class, or at the very least, refined and well-informed preferences in art. William Shearburn, a gallerist from St. Louis, opened his latest venue here upstairs in the former Gary Farmer space-decluttered and newly airy-in May for those who may be in the (secondary) market for something snazzy from the estate of Robert Motherwell, which Shearburn represents. A print specialist, Shearburn has shown at Art Basel/Miami Beach, the Los Angeles Art Show, ART Santa Fe, and Art Chicago, among other art-savvy fairs. According to his St. Louis web site, recent acquisitions for re-sale include savory works by Roy Lichtenstein, Bernar Venet, and Maya Lin. Suffice to say the man knows his chops, and visiting this gallery should be a must for any serious collector or student of art history. Not a single expressionist oil painting of snow-covered aspens was spied, nor were there any bronze sculptures of horses or bears in cute poses.
Asked why he opened a gallery here Shearburn replied, "I believe that the visual arts scene is changing in Santa Fe and there is a place for the gallery here"¦. I want to be a part of that and I think my aesthetic is a nice fit. I have also been encouraged by a number of clients who live in Santa Fe to open here."
The inaugural exhibition included delectable works by Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Helen Frankenthaler, Teo González, and Robert Mangold. I drooled over a monotype by Polly Apfelbaum, Lover's Leap 20. At nearly 50" square, it's perfectly sofa-sized-just the kind of thing you want in your loft to show the cognoscenti that you, too, know your stuff. But seriously, I could live with the piece for a long time, watching flowers shift in and out of focus while the surface interplays with dimensionality. This gallery's a keeper, and I wish them well in Santa Fe. While they may not tend toward more extreme and/or ephemeral versions of contemporary art, Shearburn's has the feel of modernism at its best: thoughtful, erudite without being overly academic, nuanced yet bold, and just plain delicious to look at.