SITE Santa Fe is a private not-for-profit, non-collecting contemporary arts organization committed to enriching the cultural life of Santa Fe and beyond. It meets this commitment by providing an ongoing venue for exhibitions of artists who merit international recognition, as well as offering education and multidisciplinary public programs. Its International Biennial is a crucial part of this mission.
SITE Santa Fe was launched in 1995 to organize the only international biennial of contemporary art in the U.S. Conceived to bring the global contemporary art dialogue to the art-rich Southwest, and as a major event on par with such renowned exhibitions as the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale, it has become an integral event for contemporary art aficionados, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from around the world. To date, SITE Santa Fe has successfully held six biennials, each of which has drawn worldwide attention and brought important contemporary art from all over the world to Santa Fe. Past biennial curators have either arrived as or have subsequently become superstars in the world of contemporary art. Following their SITE Santa Fe Biennial guest curatorships, Francesco Bonami (1997), Rosa Martínez (1999) and Robert Storr (2004) were chosen to organize the Venice Biennales in 2003, 2005 and 2007, respectively. Dave Hickey received the coveted MacArthur “Genius Award” after curating SITE’s Biennial in 2001. In 2006, Klaus Ottmann, a New York-based independent curator organized SITE Santa Fe’s Sixth International Biennial, Still Points of the Turning World that ran from July 9, 2006 to January 7, 2007.
Following the success of the first Biennial in 1995, SITE Santa Fe expanded its operations to include 3-4 exhibitions per year; the Art & Culture series of public programming events; an extensive education and outreach program serving the communities of Santa Fe and New Mexico; and catalogue publications. During non-biennial seasons, the museum brings noted artists to Santa Fe for solo and group exhibitions. Artists who have exhibited here include Janine Antoni, Cai Guo-Qiang, Gregory Crewdson, Andy Goldsworthy, Roni Horn, Juan Muñoz, Ernesto Neto, and Dana Schutz, among more than 400 other important artists. The Art & Culture series reaches out to a diverse arts audience by providing multidisciplinary programming that includes lectures and discussions with artists, curators, and museum directors as well as poetry readings, film, chamber music, and dance performances.
In October 2003, SITE finalized the purchase of its building located in Santa Fe’s historic Railyard District, which is currently undergoing major redevelopment, and entered into a long-term lease on the land, bolstering SITE’s stability and growth potential. In 2006, SITE broke ground on the construction of a new addition to its current building—a 4,000 sq. ft. fabrication workshop. This expansion, which will be completed in summer 2007, allows SITE to integrate more commission-based works into their exhibition programming.
Laura Steward Heon joined the staff as director/curator in April 2005 after serving as Founding Curator for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) for nine years. She brings to the job a substantial and impressive record of exhibitions, publications, and awards and has quickly earned the respect of SITE’s Board and staff, and significantly, the Santa Fe community.