Art, Economics and Ecology Collide in Axle Contemporary’s ‘Economologies’

Staff | - August 12, 2014

Programs and exhibitions runs Aug. 22 – Sept. 14

Santa Fe's art scene is getting an economic boost. This month, art-gallery-on-wheels Axle Contemporary launches “Economologies,” a series of exhibitions, roundtable discussions, performances and installations that explore the relationship between art, money and economics, running August 22 through September 14.

"Economologies" features the work of more than a dozen artists and contributions from economists, ecologists and educators from throughout New Mexico. Exhibition programming – which includes interactive art shows, a "Moneyless" yard sale, panel discussions and a "Nanogrant" program – explores the intersection between artists, money and the environment.

"A lot of artists that I've talked to are concerned with the future of art and commerce, and how it all fits into the ecological construct," said organizer Jerry Wellman, co-founder of Axle Contemporary.

In an era of instant gratification, the depletion of natural resources and mass consumption, Wellman said he believes art and artists can contribute to creative solutions to these problems.

"It comes down to asking, what is it we want? Are there other ways of achieving that?" said Wellman. "I believe that a diverse approach to the situation is good. I think artists can offer creative approaches."

Wellman said that he hopes members of the public will immerse themselves in the project's diverse programming in order to learn more about creative solutions to some of the city's most pressing issues.

"The more people who participate, the more perspectives we gain," said Wellman. "The point is to show that we're thinking about it as a community."

'Economologies' Schedule

A teaser to the event, Axle Contemporary will feature some $1500 in individual dollar bills as part of the "Dollar Distribution: Exhibition of Cash" project. Starting Aug. 19, the bills can be viewed in Axle' Contemporary's signature aluminum step van before each bill is randomly distributed throughout the city, one at a time on August 22. Photos of the bills placed in a variety of locations can be seen on Twitter.

The official "Economologies" exhibition opens in the mobile gallery, on the street in front of SITE Santa Fe, 5 to 7 p.m., August 22, and will feature artists who make art about or with money, conceptual works and broadside manifestos. David Rudolph’s fourteen-foot steel sculpture “Big Money” will be featured in the Railyard Park through September 15.

On August 27, Santa Fe Art Institute hosts “Creative Approaches for Economics, Ecology and Life: a Roundtable Discussion” at 7 p.m. Mary-Charlotte Domandi is scheduled to moderate the panel, which will explore topics that address community involvement, building sustainability and resilience, and finding and promoting creative economic alternatives to the status quo.

Through September 1, Axle Contemporary is taking proposals for $10 "nanogrants." The gallery wants to know what you would do with the $10 to change the world, or to change your world? The five winning proposals will be announced at the AHA Festival on September 14, and featured on the Axle Contemporary website.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 6, Axle Contemporary co-founder Jerry Wellman hosts a “Moneyless Yard Sale” at the CCA. The event encourages gifting, bartering, and just plain fun. Clothes, household items, kids' gear, books, artwork, and art supplies – typical yard sale things and more – will be available in exchange for a song, a dance, a poem, a drawing, a service, a trade or for anything except money. The public is encouraged to participate and can contact Wellman to reserve a space.

The CCA hosts a symposium on “Evolving Intentions in Public Art,” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, September 13. This one-day symposium will feature presentations of projects in the morning, and a roundtable discussion in the afternoon on how public art can make a meaningful impact on the people who experience these ephemeral exhibits, guerrilla actions and social interventions.

Under the handle "Burning Books," Michael Sumner and Melody Sumner Carnahan will sell $10 bills for a dime during the AHA Festival in the Santa Fe Railyard on September 14. One bill per customer while supply lasts. Payment in dimes only.

September 15 marks the end of the "Economologies" series with a deadline to submit art to “Community Supported Art: Apparel,” in which Axle Contemporary will select 4 artworks to be made into limited-edition t-shirts. New Mexican artists can send images or website links and contact information to

For more information on "Economologies" visit the Axle Contemporary website.