40 Prominent People | Mark Sublette

Mark Sublette
Owner of Medicine Man Gallery • Tucson, AZ & Santa Fe, NM

Mark Sublette

Distinction: Sublette is a prominent dealer and expert in numerous categories, including the work of Maynard Dixon, Navajo rugs, and today’s western artists. He is also a leader in the use of online technology in the art world.
When did your gallery open? I opened Medicine Man Gallery in Tucson in 1992 and in Santa Fe in 1996. Our website, launched in 1996 as well.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the art world during your career? The world has gotten smaller via new routes of communication. No longer does a gallery have to focus only on its local market; we are now a global art community.
What trends do you see in your market? Artists will become more involved in selling and promoting their art. Galleries who are responsive to these changes will flourish; those that aren’t will not be around for your next big milestone issue.
What’s the next big thing in terms of technology for the art world? It’s obvious to me that technology will only continue to dominate how we collect art. I spent the last two years developing two websites, www.artufind.com and www.artutrade.com, a community where artists, collectors, and galleries can sell and trade in an online format.
How have collectors’ tastes changed over the years? I see the overall art world and collectors gravitating toward more contemporary art and away from strictly representational. Santa Fe is a good example, where there are a large number of contemporary art galleries on Canyon Road that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
How has Southwest Art magazine contributed to the careers of your artists? I have heard numerous times over the years, including very recently, that the reason people started collecting art to begin with was because of “exposure to Southwest Art.” The magazine has directly impacted countless collectors.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I like to think that a reputation for quality art and artists and ethical dealings for 20 years in the art business would be my greatest accomplishment.
What’s the most unusual thing, strangest story, or funniest moment that’s happened in your gallery? I once sent out a picture of a large Maynard Dixon painting to a supposed collector, who then showed it to a dealer and then another dealer. I then received an image of my own painting, offered to me for sale at $200,000 more than I was offering it for!
If you could pursue only one of your many artistic interests, which would it be? I do hope to leave some legacy when it comes to Maynard Dixon’s artwork. We would like to continue to promote his life’s work.

Featured in “40 Prominent People” in May 2011.