A SITE to Behold

A view of SITE Santa Fe’s new black and silver facade from Railyard Park. Photo by Chris Dorantes

The contemporary art museum SITE Santa Fe is putting the finishing touches on its new exhibition Future Shock after a year long renovation project. The museum will reopen to the public Oct. 6 with an inaugural gala and exhibition preview, followed by a weekend of community events.

The renovation broke ground last August in collaboration with the New York based SHoP Architects. One of the major driving forces of the new facility was to make SITE responsive to community needs. “We had people from the community come and meet with us to talk about what they wanted SITE to be and from all of those conversations we then put together a plan,” Director of Education and Curator of Public Practice Joanne Lefrak says. SITE has added space to its front lobby with comfortable seating, tables, a larger museum store and the new cafe Crave. There is also the free rotating exhibition space “SITElab,” which now hosts Kota Ezawa’s “The Crime of Art.” All of these additions are part of making SITE a more accessible place for the community. “We really want the community to feel like this space is theirs,” Lefrak says.

The Community Time Capsule Project is a work by artist Dario Robleto in collaboration with the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe. Photo by Chris Dorantes

SITE’s new exhibition, Future Shock, takes its name from the Alvin Toffler book, which defines the term “future shock” as a kind of culture shock toward a rapidly changing society. The exhibition explores the excitement and consequences of technology’s speedy development and features 10 artists from all over the US, Canada, Brazil and Germany. At the front of the exhibition is Tom Sach’s “Space Program,” which celebrates space exploration of the past, present and future through recreations of NASA’s machines using objects found in a hardware store. To the right of Sach’s recreation of the Curiosity Mars Rover is Lynn Hershman Leeson’s installation “Infinity Engine,” which explores genetic engineering and AI technology. The installation features genetically modified fish, an archive of legal papers regarding the ethics of genetic engineering, and an AI named Dina that visitors can ask questions. “Zoom Pavilion,” an installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer in collaboration with Krzysztof Wodiczko, explores surveillance and facial recognition technology. Several security cameras record visitors as they enter the installation and are projected onto the walls, while behind them their faces are logged and displayed. The decision to curate Future Shock as the museum’s reopening exhibit came partially from the reopening itself. “This is a new future for SITE,” Lefrak says.

With the new SITE building comes opportunities for an increased level of student involvement such as the new education lab. “Prior to this we didn’t have a space for students to meet and do projects and now we do,” Lefrak says. Artist Dario Robleto and a group of New Mexico School for the Arts students are already working with SITE and have crafted a time capsule as part of Future Shock. The capsule is entitled “The Sun Awaits Our Shadows” and is split into 12 different categories that encapsulate both the human experience and their own. “[The students] wanted to tell people of the future what they were like now but not to have it be so individual that it wasn’t universal,” Lefrak says. “The Time Awaits Our Shadows” is inspired by the 1977 Voyager Golden Record, which was launched into space containing audio explaining life on Earth to any intelligent life that might exist outside of our solar system. The capsule will be buried in May 2018 and is planned to be unearthed 100 years later. The new auditorium is another educational space where SITE plans to have educational talks and community and private events, such as the reopening party Oct. 6.

The new entrance to SITE Santa Fe illuminates the night. Photo by Chris Dorantes

To kick off the new exhibition, SITE has several exciting reopening events happening Oct. 5 -Oct. 8. Thursday’s events begin with a gala and dinner as well as an exhibition preview. Friday has several ticketed events including a special performance by Apsáalooke rapper Supaman, interactive exhibition experiences, along with food and drink. The party will take place throughout the museum as well as on the new sky terrace on the roof of the building. Tickets can be bought online with tiered experiences ranging from $20-$300. Both Saturday and Sunday events are free to the public. Saturday events kick off at 10 a.m. with the official ribbon cutting by Mayor Javier Gonzales and continue all day with photo booths, fortune tellers and exhibition tours. An exciting opportunity to write down their “wishes for the future” as a part of a “wish tree” by Yoko Ono will only be available during reopening weekend. The wishes will later be incorporated into the artist’s Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland.

SITE Santa Fe officially opens Oct. 6 and is free to the public all day Friday and Saturday mornings. More information about exhibitions and events visit SITE’s website.