By Karen Denison
Santa Fe is known for its vibrant colors: turquoise skies, earth-tone architecture, sage green hills and rock formations in rich pastels. The colors have inspired artists and craftsmen for centuries. This summer, many of the city’s galleries and museums are highlighting Santa Fe’s love-affair with color with special exhibits and events. Three of particular note:
“The Red That Colored the World” at the Museum of International Folk Art explores the history and widespread use of cochineal, a New World insect-based dye that produces brilliant reds. The tiny cochineal beetle is common on cactus in the Santa Fe area.
“Turquoise, Water, Sky: The Stone and Its Meaning” at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture presents all aspects of the stone, from geology, mining and history, to questions of authenticity and value.
“Blue on Blue: Indigo and Cobalt in New Spain” at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts explores the use and importance of blue dyes and pigments in colonial life and the continued popularity of blue among the traditional arts of today. Although “true” indigo is a tropical plant of the New World, a related species is common in the southern half of New Mexico and was used extensively for dyeing.
All three of these museums are located at Museum Hill. For more on Santa Fe’s “Summer of Color” including other participants see http://www.summerofcolorsantafe.org/about.html
In the meantime, enjoy a trio of cactus with some of our favorite colors!