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Anti_Art_11.11.13
The masked anti-art artist appeared on Canyon Road on Sunday.
Alexa Mangrum

The Masked Man on Canyon

Anti-Art Artist Wants Audience to Consider Balance

November 11, 2013, 1:30 pm
By Alexa Mangrum

“This is anything but beautiful!” he says.  It's a sunlit Sunday on Canyon Road, and a philosophizing robot walks past The Teahouse.

“This is anything but beautiful!” he warns again to no one in particular, dressed in all black with a voice disguised like Darth Vader. Once more with feeling. “This isn’t art,” he insists as he continues up the gallery-lined street. Shopping-bag toting Texans in cowboy hats pass him cautiously, confused about whether he is crazy or if he knows something they don’t about the authenticity of the pricey purchases they carry.

He walks alone. Masked in plastic, he wears pseudo-anonymity. From the sidelines his audience finds the mantra-chanting misfit  confusing. "I wonder if he's carrying a taser?" a waitress wonders. (He isn't.)

He rounds the corner where his Jetta is parked. The curtain has closed on his debut performance, which in the span of two hours, attracted numerous complaints from shopkeepers. But the police, who stopped him and scanned his license, found him guilty of nothing but being an oddity among scene of the iconic street.

“This is a radical form of sociopolitical activist-art,” says the man who refuses to reveal his name. Canyon Road is his canvas.

He takes off his voice-changer, but stays masked. In his natural, more high-pitched voice, he calls himself a radical. “This isn’t a gentle approach,” he warns, however.

He is an artist, he says, but still nameless. “I am still developing a name for myself,” he says with a pause, then reconsiders. “I’ve been playing with the idea of calling myself 'Anti-Art'.”

A young Santa Fe native, he isn’t actually against art, just the matrix in which he thinks it exists in Santa Fe, that isn't really art at all, but a tourist trap curated by commerce. He wants a time-warp. He would like to be considered an inspiration. He wants the young to rise up. He wants the City Different to be more like the 70’s when he says things were “vibrant and alive,” when art had meaning and wasn't afraid to be messy or aesthetically jarring. 

His mission is awareness. He wants his audience to think. To reconsider art as a means of balance.  “Art, here, is reduced to the lowest common denominator,” he says, questioning the tastes of what he names as "the majority" who stroll the road looking for nothing more than "kitsch"something to hang above their sofa.

“There needs to be a balance,” he says, the driving philosophy behind his street preaching. He isn't sure how this will happen, but he is sure it will, eventually. He packs up, still masked, smiles and says this is only the beginning; he'll be back.

 

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