History

SITE Santa Fe creates significant experiences for visitors by presenting the most innovative visual art of our time in new and engaging ways.  Since its opening in 1995, SITE Santa Fe has been committed to supporting new developments in contemporary art, encouraging artistic exploration, and expanding traditional museum experiences. SITE’s year-round schedule of exhibitions serves as a platform for experimental curatorial approaches, innovative exhibition design, and projects by emerging and established artists. SITE also hosts an Art & Culture series of lectures and performances, as well as an extensive education and outreach program for local schools, all of which attract 20,000-30,000 local, national and international visitors.

Launched in 1995 to organize the only international biennial of contemporary art in the United States, SITE soon expanded its programming to include exhibitions year round, often accompanied by highly acclaimed catalogues. SITE has since presented nine international biennial exhibitions. Each has drawn global attention and brought important contemporary art to the Santa Fe community and beyond. 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 many visitors from around the world. Past biennial curators have gone on to hold significant roles in the contemporary art world, a testament to SITE’s forward-thinking vision. 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 organizing SITE’s Biennial in 2001. Klaus Ottmann (2006), Lance Fung (2008) and Sarah Lewis and Daniel Belasco (2010) have all garnered significant praise for their respective biennials, and have gone on to exciting posts and projects worldwide.

In 2010, Irene Hofmann was named the Phillips Director. Under Hofmann’s leadership, SITE took a step back to evaluate the biennial exhibition format, and in 2012 announced a new focus in its programming, a reimagined biennial exhibition series entitled SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, with exhibitions in 2014, 2016, and 2018, which explore contemporary art from Nunavut to Tierra del Fuego. SITElines signifies a radical rethinking of SITE Santa Fe’s signature biennial exhibition. It represents a collaborative structure for planning its biennials, a vision for continuity between biennials, a commitment to community and place, and a dedication to new and under-­recognized perspectives. This new multi­-dimensional approach—together with a strong geographic focus—reestablishes SITE’s role at the forefront of biennial exhibition making, proposing new curatorial frameworks for biennials globally.

SITElines is a six­-year commitment to a series of linked exhibitions with a focus on contemporary art and cultural production of the Americas. The exhibition series debuted in 2014, with the first edition Unsettled Landscapes, and will continue in 2016, with the exhibition, much wider than a line and 2018, and is organized by a different team of curators for each edition, from locations throughout the Western Hemisphere. Through SITElines, SITE will establish a new programming hub called SITEcenter to generate connectivity between and during the exhibitions. 

View Past Biennials