convergence & connection in 40+ years of wayfinding in the art world


James Rutherford - Chronology

1960 Born in Albuquerque, NM – youngest of five children of Bets & Jim – 9 years younger than closest sibling – family stories relate that I was conceived during thunderstorm at family cabin in Jemez Mountains

1962 Per accounts of family members stood up in crib and grabbed the railing and said: “let me out of this damn crib”

1963 Serves as Honorary Page from NM House of Representatives where father is Representative signed by Speaker of the House Bruce King - my duties included looking adorable and crying at inopportune times

1964 Engaged in many craft and art projects organized by sisters Anne & Julia who were my frequent babysitters – early artistic and creative activity that left indelible impression

1966 Starts 1st grade – elementary school is two blocks from family home and six blocks from UNM campus

1969 Sold enough fundraising peanuts to attend YMCA Camp Shaver in Jemez mountains for two weeks in summer

1970 Brother Rusty is stabbed by National Guard at peaceful anti-war protest at UNM – tear gas canister accidentally dropped on Monte Vista schoolyard – brought a gas mask obtained previously at surplus outlet to class the following day

1971 Parents began to allow to go unsupervised to UNM student union building – played pinball and bowled – visited Rusty at work-study job in crafts area and experimented with potter’s wheel

1972 Attended first balloon race with brother Tom who was organizer – accompanied by Penny Marshall & Rob Reiner who were in town for fundraiser for Tom’s first State Senate campaign – became permanent campaign volunteer going forward – serves as Page during legislative session throughout junior and senior high school – sells silver and turquoise jewelry to Capitol staff

1973 Volunteers as balloon and chase crew at First World Hot Air Balloon Championship - State Fairgrounds, Albuquerque

1973 Weekend mornings frequently spent with father as balloon crew on West Mesa of Albuquerque – becomes youngest member of Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association (N1954R) – logs first 2 hours as student pilot – practices driving skills in chase truck – arranges for balloon inflation at Jefferson Junior High

1974 Issued first student pilot certificate student pilot on 14th birthday (#33111) – logs just over 1 hour for year – gets automobile learner’s permit in Fall

1974 Spent summer month travelling with mother via Greyhound bus to visit relatives in California and Midwest – included visit to sister Julia in Virginia City, MT where she was cast-member and costumer for Virginia City Players melodrama troop

1975 Moved to Santa Fe for summer – lived with brother Rusty in artist Eli Levin’s guesthouse – worked for Paige Pinnell at Professor Horace Lightning’s Old Time Photo Salon carrying sandwich board around Plaza

1976 Spends summer in Virginia City, MT – works at Wells Fargo Café and on narrow gauge train running 1.5 miles between Virginia City and Nevada City – sells Bicentennial-themed silver and turquoise jewelry 

1976 Enrolls in APS Alternative High School program – students cultivate curriculum – greatly influenced by art class taught in studio of Reinord Von Whitt-Pritchette and poetry class taught by Gordene McKenzie.

1977 Drops out of High School to work full-time for World Balloon Corp – travels to community events throughout US serving as crew and co-pilot operating balloons for various clients – competes as co-pilot for brother Tom in Budweiser balloon at National Balloon Championships in Indianola, IA – part of team that sets world record for longest duration of tethered balloon ascension at Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta – completes first solo in Reno, NV during same ascension as Malcolm Forbes – logs in excess of 20 hours for year

1978 Issued Student Pilot Certificate (#60523) limited to “Free Balloons Only” – Sid Cutter is FAA examiner

1978 Volunteers in brother Tom's campaign for Lieutenant Governor - logs in excess of 20 hours flying one-man balloon at campaign events around NM

1978 Enrolls at University of New Mexico (UNM) – professors included former US Senator and Presidential candidate Fred Harris, painter John Wenger, film historian Ira Jaffee, among others

1979 Appointed to UNM Student Government position as Co-Chairman of ASUNM Lobby Committee – unsuccessfully lobbies against tuition increase before State Legislature

1979 Spends summer in Los Angeles – works for smoking paraphernalia manufacturer – meets art dealer Lonny Gans – lives for period on late 19th Century 42’ wooden boat Pactolus in Marina Del Rey docked across from Natalie Wood & Robert Wagner’s Splendor


1979 Reconnects with family friend David Brownlow in Venice – works as stage-hand for set-up to test Pink Floyd “The Wall” concert construction at LA Memorial Sports Auditorium

1980 Drops out of UNM and moves to Los Angeles on a whim – first true exposure to big city art world – becomes enamored and immersed in art scene and partners with artist Gary Burns to start art installation and transportation business – provides services for numerous artists, galleries and organizations

1980 Meets filmmakers Godfrey Reggio and Alton Walpole working on their groundbreaking film Koyaanisqatsi in Venice studio

1980 Lives in basement of Lonny Gans Gallery at 21 Market St. in Venice – neighbors on block include DeWain Valentine and Larry Gagosian – on trip back to NM and meets numerous important contemporary artists including Paul Sarkisian, Larry Bell, Ken Price, Joan Myers, and others.

1981 Founds art installation & transportation business Contemporary Installations with artist Gary Burns. Installs seminal exhibition California 1: Light and Space at Lonny Gans Gallery – among artists included are Larry Bell, Ron Cooper – constructs installation environments for Eric Orr and Laddie Dill. performs installations in numerous corporate and private settings.

1982 Returns to Santa Fe, NM – works as art handler and meets artist Stuart Ashman while installing Festival of the Arts exhibition at Sweeney Convention Center

1982 Volunteers at Music and The Movies Santa Fe Film Festival – duties include assisting Entertainment Tonight crew with filming of interview with legendary actress Lillian Gish

1982 Meets IAIA faculty member Chuck Daily – assist with installation of exhibits at former campus of SF Indian School

1982 Attends First annual Taos Poetry Circus: meets Ginsberg, Orlovsky, Corso, and SOMOS organizers Anne MacNaughton & Peter Rabbit and artists Bill Gersh and Tony Magar

1982 Pursues goal of becoming an independent curator – meets artists Tony Price and Linda Fleming – co-presents exhibition at Heydt / Bair exhibition space in Santa Fe

1983 Moves to Brooklyn and assists with renovation of live/work space – visits Mark DiSuvero at Socrates sculpture park in Long Island City – travels to N. Miami to assist with installation of exhibition of sculpture by members of ConStruct

1983 Works for Dyansen Gallery in SOHO – becomes director of Atomic Art Gallery showing Tony Price’s work in loft owned by patron Ann Maytag – coordinates sculpture installation in Battery Park – hosts NY premier of Atomic Artist documentary as fundraising event for Film Fund

1984 Moves entire Atomic Art installation to 11th floor of building at corner of Broadway & Houston after being booted from Greene St space by NYC Loft Board – Keith Haring hosts month-long party in basement

1985 Serves with Nancy Sutor and Stuart Ashman as juror and co-curator for Space X, 1985 exhibition at Armory for the Arts, Santa Fe – show is pivotal survey of emerging SF art scene of the time

1985 Presents exhibition of Mexican artist Antonio Alvarez at Telluride Film Festival – works appear in Entertainment Tonight interview with famed Mexican actor and Director Emilio Fernandez

1986 Hired as Director of Governor’s Gallery – serves until 1992 in three gubernatorial administrations

1986 Organizes and presents schedule of 10 exhibitions in Governor’s Gallery including solo exhibition of Atomic Art by Tony Price – show dedicated to father Jim who dies before opening – Capitol closed for portion of show for filming Governor’s office scenes for Robert Redford film Milagro Beanfield War – hired as extra for film appearing as State Police Officer

1986 Originates sculpture displays on Capitol grounds – work by Bob Haozous is first installation


1987 Organizes and presents schedule of 13 exhibitions in Governor’s Gallery – coordinates annual Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts with NM Arts Division

1987 Presents exhibition of Tony Price's Atomic Art at 3rd Telluride Ideas Festival

1988 Organizes and presents schedule of 15 exhibitions in Governor’s Gallery – coordinates annual Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts with NM Arts Division

1988 Founding Board Member of Megavision New Mexico – Co-produces 1988 Santa Fe participation in Music and Peace: A Concert to Celebrate Global Community worldwide concert at NM State Capitol via “space bridge” satellite uplink to 120 cities

1988 Member of committee that establishes TENGAM non-profit exhibition space in former dojo at Project Tibet to display Atomic Art of Tony Price (image: Dalai Lama visit to TENGAM - c. 1991)

1989 Organizes and presents schedule of 9 exhibitions in Governor’s Gallery – coordinates annual Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts with NM Arts Division

1989 Organizes Megavision New Mexico’s Santa Fe presentation of Glasnost Film Festival, coordinated by Citizen Exchange Council in New York

1990 Assists in establishment of public art acquisition committee to coincide with renovation of State Capitol building

1990 Conceives and co-curates A New Mexico Tradition: Southwestern Realism exhibition and benefit sale at NM Museum of Fine Arts

1990 Establishes Governor’s Gallery “On-the-Road” initiative during closure of State Capitol – travels exhibitions to Albuquerque, Clovis, Taos, Farmington, Las Cruces

1990 Facilitates participation of members of NM Legislature in training program at Pecos River Learning Center – curates photography exhibition for PRLC facility

1991 Represents Governor’s Gallery at Shake Hands with Santa Fe promotional exhibition and sale in Beverly Hills, CA


1991 Conceives and organizes Month of Sculpture – statewide celebration of sculpture in 20 cities – presents Santa Fe Mile of Sculpture exhibition

1991 Serves on host committee for Santa Fe visit of Dalai Lama – part of team arranging five days of events and programs

1991 Travels with Governor & Mrs. King to Taiwan for A New Mexico Tradition: Southwestern Realism at Taiwan National Museum in Taichung

1991 Moves into live/work studio in converted stables at historic Los Luceros in Alclade, NM – other compound residents include artists Doug Coffin, Tony Abeyta and poet Judyth Hill

1991 Presents Bob Wade with "Golden Chainsaw Award" at annual Santa Fe Fiesta Hysterical Ball in recognition of his handling of vandalism his sculpture sustained while on display in Governor's Gallery Mile-of-Sculpture display

1991 Travels to Nepal and India – visits Tibetan refugee settlements – has private audience with Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamsala

1992 Leaves Governor’s Gallery – opens Copeland / Rutherford Gallery with partner Jack Copeland at former TENGAM space at Project Tibet – serves as gallery Director

1992 Presents schedule of 12 exhibitions and numerous events at Copeland / Rutherford Gallery – travels Another 500 Years: Art of Indigenous Peoples exhibition to Piazza Gallery, Sausalito, CA

1992 Instrumental in establishment of Capitol Art Foundation by Act of NM Legislature – appointed to Board of Directors – conceives and implements program to market sculpture maquettes to fund acquisitions

1993 Serves as auction ringman for Washington, DC charity auctions benefitting Democratic National Committee and National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

1993 Presents schedule of 12 exhibitions and numerous events at Copeland / Rutherford Gallery – co-hosts lecture by noted art historian Edward Lucie-Smith "Race, Sex, and Gender in Contemporary Art" at CCA

1994 Appointed by Governor Bruce King to Board of Directors of National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque

1994 Serves as auction ringman at first Buckaroo Ball at Eaves Ranch movie set outside Santa Fe – meets Mary Miller, widow of singer/songwriter Roger Miller


1995 Presents schedule of 8 exhibitions and numerous events at Copeland / Rutherford Gallery

1996 Presents abbreviated schedule of exhibitions and events at Copeland / Rutherford Gallery – closes gallery in August in anticipation of move to Nashville

1997 Works with studiox, inc on the creation of first website dedicate to Roger Miller – first time a URL was included in credits on The Nashville Network at conclusion of special Roger Miller Remembered – response required additional servers to handle the immense traffic

1998 Moves to Nashville – initially works for Arts Company – transports and installs outsider art exhibition in NYC featuring artworks on new Mercury boxset of Hank Williams music

1998 Hired by Tennessee State Museum as Assistant Director of Special Projects – serves until mid-2000

1998 Appointed to Cheekwood Museum and Botanical Gardens – Museum of Art Committee – advises on acquisitions, programming, and policy

1999 Serves with Marty Stuart, Tony Brown, and others on Gentleman’s Committee for TN Museum Foundation annual fundraising gala A Tennessee Waltz

2000 Serves as Art Coordinator for TN State Museum Travelling exhibition: The Complete Graphic Works of Red Grooms, 1956-1999


2000 Leads TN State Museum Collectors Club on tour of Santa Fe

2000 Assumes position with Roger Miller Music, Inc. – assist with various aspects of music publishing company – commences cataloging collection of music, memorabilia and personal affects

2001 Meets Glenda West, Mayor of Erick, OK – hometown of Roger Miller –initiates dialogue about potential for establishing a museum there

2002 Coordinates successful pursuit of 501 © 3 status and establishment ofBoard of Trustees to oversee Roger Miller Museum – assists in obtaining and renovating building on Old Route 66 – creates and installs permanent exhibits – co-hosts public opening reception

2003 Commences training in web design and digital photography – enrolls in various classes at New Horizons Learning Center – updates rogermiller.com and creates rogermillermuseum.com among others

2003 Chaired event committee organizing A Starry Night benefit concert featuring Kim Carnes, Suzy Bogguss, and others – special guest appearance by John Hiatt.

2003 Guest curator for Museum of New Mexico TREX exhibition Tony Price: Atomic Art – writes 2 essays and assembles images for 75-page catalog – first venue is Fuller Lodge Art Center in Los Alamos

2004 Tony Price: Atomic Art exhibition opens at NM Museum of Art, Santa Fe ­ – image of Price artwork featured in ½ page article in NY Times

2005 Curates and installs retitled exhibition Swords Into Plowshares: Tony Price Atomic Art opens at United Nations Headquarters, NYC­ – in conjunction with Non-Proliferation Treaty Talks – Philip Glass and Patti Smith perform at opening reception

2008 Co-produces concert featuring Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives and special guest Connie Smith benefitting Roger Miller Museum in Erick, OK

2009 Returns to Santa Fe after 12 years in Nashville – commences reinventing life and reconnecting with family, friends and colleagues – hired by studiox as Media Specialist – works primarily on City’s travel website SantaFe.org

2009 Attends opening of Amon Carter Museum exhibition, Selections from the Kelly Collection, featuring work of Ron Adams – assists artist with impromptu tour for Laura Bush – serves as auction ringman at charity event for African American Museum, Dallas

2010 Re-establishes connection with IAIA Alumni Association – serves as auction ringman at annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner

2011 Serves as auction ringman for Tourism Association event at Governor’s Conference on Tourism

2012 Enrolls at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC)

2013 Returns to art world as gallerist at Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art in Santa Fe – in three years conducts sales in excess of $900,000


2014 Hired as Adjunct Professor at SFCC – teaches Arts Organizations class for School of Arts and Design – curates exhibition for SFCC Fine Arts Gallery: PREcognition | REcognition: Examining the Reciprocal Gaze in Godfrey Reggio's Film VISITORS

2014 Travels to Marfa, TX – visits former partner Jack Copeland, studios of artists Bonita Barlow and Valerie Arber, Arber & Sons atelier, and Chinati Foundation sites

2014 Spearheads successful effort to prevent funding cuts to NM Art in Public Places Program

2015 Attends reception for State Department – Art in Embassies exhibition of printmakers from IAIA at VP Joe Biden residence – Washington, D.C.

2015 Attends unveiling of Post Commodity artist collective Repellent Fence installation and related programming in Douglas, AZ and Agua Prieta, Sonora, MX

2016 Completes Associate of Applied Arts degree at SFCC – enrolls at Institute of American Indian Arts pursuing BFA in Museum Studies – makes Fall semester IAIA President’s List

2016 Becomes Acting Director at Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art – presents solo exhibition for Native artist Jeff Kahm among others

2016 Volunteers during Fall semester in curatorial department at NM Museum of Art

2017 Attends opening for Whitney Biennial – visits MoMA, Studio Museum Harlem, and NMAI

2017 Travels with IAIA students, faculty, and staff to documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany

2017 IAIA Scholarship Benefit Auction - La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe

2018 Receives Bachelor of Fine Arts in Museum Studies degree from IAIA

2018 Conceives and manages innovative project with Roxanne Swentzell to raise funds for IAIA scholarships

2018 Guest curator for Edwina Milner exhibition at WNMU - Silver City, NM

2018 Visits the Mona Lisa - The Louvre

2019 Public talk on Santa Fe art colony - Nedra Matteucci Gallery


facebook LinkedIn YouTube Instagram Twitter

James Rutherford  •  STUDIOPASSPORT  •  P.O. Box 1054  •  Santa Fe, NM 87504
505.204.6034  •  [email protected]  •  All Rights Reserved