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  • Howard Rutkowski

Local Flavor – Radical Abacus

"Untitled" by Krista Peters. © Krista Peters. Courtesy Radical Abacus.

Radical Abacus, an alternative space run by John McKissick, is on a street in Santa Fe that more than adequately describes the neighborhood, Calle de Comercio. It’s a little side street off the main drag of Cerillos Road and parallel to Siler, peppered with auto body shops, garages and other gritty enterprises. The street entrance to the space is marked by a cipher (only part of which I can identify as the square root of something). The interior is appropriately raw and reminiscent of the sort of spaces one saw in Lower Manhattan in the 70s or Berlin in the 90s. It’s the kind of place where one can imagine that something unusual and different could happen and indeed, it does.

According to McKissick, the address served in the past as a crash pad for artists and artisans, something he ambiguously describes as ‘A grim black metal nocturne,’ and a practice hall for circus performers. McKissick wanted to create a venue for actions, exhibitions, performances and social gatherings. So far this program has ranged from performances by neo-Goths Them Are Us Too and Drab Majesty to very thoughtful, personal exhibition installations of artists from Santa Fe and beyond. These projects are not curated in the traditional sense, but are more like gatherings of kindred spirits. They are not intended to delve deeply into motivations, concepts or even process. As McKissick explains: “For each show I wrote a fragmentary series of remarks elaborating/digressing upon the show’s title. The main point of the exercise was to establish rapport with the artists and to share a common excitement. I used this text to invite artists to consider how their practices could be altered/transformed by them.”

Radical Abacus’ next offering is the premiere on April 23rd of Grisha Kriychenia’s Refuge Cycle with soprano Tara Khozein, a benefit for the Middle Eastern refugees.

Radical Abacus is located at 1226D Calle de Comercio, Santa Fe, NM 87505

By Howard Rutkowski

Santa Fe, NM

March, 2016

Following: Installation Images from the most recent exhibition at Radical Abacus, “Raylets”, Feb 5-29, 2016. Artworks by: Maya Bush, Henry chapman, Nicholas Chiarella, Felix Fan, Krista Peters, Lauren Seiden, Lucrecia Troncoso, Martha Tuttle, Scotty Slade Wagner. Courtesy Radical Abacus, Santa Fe.

"Untitled" stoneware vessels by Lucrecia Troncoso. © Lucrecia Troncoso. Courtesy Radical Abacus.

"Animal Sketch" and "Crying" by Henry Chapman. © Henry Chapman. Courtesy Radical Abacus.

"Clear Sound (7)", "Clear Sound (8)", and "Clear Sound (9) by Martha Tuttle; "Raw Wrap 21" by Lauren Seiden."

© Martha Tuttle. © Lauren Seiden. Courtesy Radical Abacus.

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