Travelers to Museum Hill may notice that the parking area looks a little emptier. Martí Anson's "Flour Factory," which has stood at that location since 2008 seems to have disappeared. Fans of the piece will be pleased to know that the work remains in the New Mexico Museum of Art's permanent collection.
The story of this piece begins in the town of Mataró in the Catalonia region of Spain where artist Anson was born. At the time the Spanish artist was participating in SITE Sante Fe's seventh International Biennial in 2008 there was a public uproar over the proposed demolition of the 19th century C. A. Fabregas y de Caralt factory on the outskirts of Barcelona. Inspired by this outpuring of support, Anson decided to take the building to New Mexico by building a replica of it for the SITE exhibition. Similar to the situation with the original building, the people here became attached to the piece and decided to keep it after the SITE exhibition ended. Thus, it was given to the New Mexico Museum of Art for our permanent collection. However, the site-specific piece was never intended to last permanently, and our repsonsibility as a museum requires us to preserve the objects in our custody. When it came to the museum's attention that it needed a lot of conservation, staff consulted Anson and decided together that it would be best to demolish it in its current state and leave open the possibility of rebuilding it. Anson explained, the art is "not in the bricks." Rather it is the idea of making this scaled down model of the Spanish flour factory. The object itself is just a document of the artist's thinking. Therefore, the art can remain in our collection as a concept without a physical manifestation.
As further testament to the artist's process, Brandon Sotor made the video below, published on the Santa Fe Reporter's YouTube channel.