Santa Fe

Erika Wanenmacher

Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe

As the Center for Contemporary Arts crumbled around her, Erika Wanenmacher self-produced a twenty-year midcareer survey of her openhearted sculptures. While most artists would have folded their tents, especially after the entire staff of CCA was dismissed during the run of the exhibition, Wanenmacher’s show not only went on, but was one of CCA’s most well-attended visual art exhibitions in its seventeen-year history. Appropriately, Wanenmacher’s The Boat, 1976–77—a four-foot-long, three-dimensional, open-air wooden craft outfitted with an extra-large red centerboard—was the oldest piece on view. The boat is one of Wanenmacher’s recurring images, as are self-portraits, blue eyeballs, articulated hands, thumping hearts, oversized insects, coiling snakes, chunky flames, empty chairs, big guys . . . and big dogs. All of this work is labor intensive, mostly carved and painted wooden figures,

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