“The idea is not to live forever, but to create something that will.” –Warhol
Just off the famous Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico, resides an art exhibition venue called, Art House. The distinguishing aspect of the building is that within its historical, thick walls are ground-breaking digital and electronic artworks by some of the most visionary artists from the early 20th Century to today. The brainchild of Carl and Marilynn Thoma, who are collecting art since 1975, and passionately believe in the powerfulness of art to enrich life and to intensify understanding of the cultures, times, and places of which we are a part.
In 1986 the artful couple established a family foundation to live up to their deep passion for philanthropy. As time flew by, the couple got inspired to contribute on a wide-ranging level, and in this lieu founded Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation to differentiate their initiatives in, and in support of, visual art. Although the exhibitions are staged at Art House in Santa Fe, the collection is securely stored at Orange Door, the Thomas’ modern warehouse facility in Chicago, which is open by appointment for private and educational tours.
A principal objective of the Foundation is to demystify the lingua franca around art and collecting. Therefore, it organizes and sponsors educational programs that stimulate critical thinking and offer a deeper understanding of the elements related to the fields in which they collect. Events range from interactive learning experiences to the support of symposia and endowments of curatorship and professorships. Latest acquisitions from the Art Foundation feature artworks from the digital art collection including works by Eduardo Kac, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Steina Vasulka, Vera Molnar, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Beryl Korot, Daniel Rozin, Brigitte Kowanz, and others.
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation collection includes more than 1,000 works of art in four distinct fields. The fields are;
Digital & Electronic Art
A pioneering collection encompassing artistic innovations in an algorithmic software, Internet-connected and real-time animation, primitive computer drawing, video installation, interactive technology, electronic sculpture, and works that use LCD and LED displays.
The Japanese Bamboo collection offers modern Japanese Bamboo baskets, representing both bamboo artists and independent artists from the two professional associations devoted to the field, Nihon Kogeikai (Japan Craft Arts Association) and Nitten (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition).
Post-war Painting & Sculpture
The mid-century global abstract art is focused around the years 1950–1979 and the leading movements of that period, including Hard Edge, Color Field, Op, Light & Space, Washington Color School, and shaped canvas.
The Spanish Colonial collection includes paintings that captivate the expressions and interwoven history of Andean and European cultures. The paintings illustrate the geographic diversity of the Viceroyalty of Peru, and Spain’s management of its stakes from Mexico and Central America to South America.