Know Your Neighbor: Philip Bareiss


Philip Bareiss grew up in the arts. However, Bareiss revealed during a recent interview that part of the local Taos art scene also grew up around him.

"My dad was the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, so there was also much art around," said Bareiss, seated at a table in his gallery located next to KTAOS Solar Radio on State Road 150. Bareiss was the next to youngest of five children born to the late Walter and Mary (Molly) Bareiss.

From the ages of 11 to 22, Phillip Bareiss grew up in Germany, where his father owned a business. He attended high school in Germany and completed his college studies in political science at a university in Switzerland. At age 22, Phillip returned to the United States to earn his master's degree in administrative sciences at Yale University. He focused on operations research and economics.

Bareiss became a Taos resident in the winter of 1978 and has been a large part of the local art scene since then. At first, he worked for Forrest Fenn at Fenn's Santa Fe art gallery.

Then, Bareiss enjoyed affiliation with Tom Andriola at The New Gallery. Bareiss opened his own gallery next door to the First Baptist Church on North Pueblo Road 34 years ago. Then, he moved to his present location at 15 State Road in Upper Las Colonias.

In the past, part of Bareiss' work included art appraisals. "I completed appraisals with Jim Parsons, and we used to have a lot of fun. Without him, I lost my heart for this type of work, so I quit this phase of the business," he related.

In later years, Bareiss had children; the family recently honored his late son Patrick's request that his ashes be buried in a cement block in a coral reef in Belize.

Bareiss' business signature includes what he terms as "a secondary market." This means that as a retiree, he doesn't represent specific artists. Instead, he uses his gallery space for two specific artists: retired pulmonologist, university professor and researcher Norbert Volkel and Lawrence McLaughlin.

The gallery opens by appointment. The space also remains open for concerts, art shows, and fundraisers.

One such event will occur Saturday (March 17), St. Patrick's Day, at Philip's gallery. The host's personal motto of this fundraiser is "Share Your Green on St. Patrick's Day." Bareiss views his involvement as a means to help his friend Arsenio Córdova with legal bills.

"He's a star, always there for everyone, and a part of Taos history. Now that he has a serious illness, I want to help him" said Bareiss.

Bareiss visited Ireland twice and claims that in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day remains "no big deal." However, in New York, the feast is "huge. It's bigger here than in Ireland. It's a time to go out with friends and have fun. The opportunity for descendants of the Irish immigrants to get together is quite great. I hope to host a great event here in Taos on that day," said Bareiss.

Plans for the fundraiser call for door prizes, light refreshments, a raffle drawing, silent auction and mystery auction item. Interested persons for the mystery item may search the premises for clues as to what's behind the gift wrapping.

"People can get great deals. It's fun to do something that's not so serious. I view this as a reunion of friends and schoolmates," added the gallery owner. He encourages members of the public to attend the St. Patrick's Day fundraiser at his gallery space from 2 to 5 p.m.

Retiree Bareiss likes to hike and work out. One of the favorite ways to spend his time is caring for elders that he loves. He visits them and helps whenever necessary.

"I want to learn about being old. I'm talking about spending time with people in their nineties. It's a fun thing to do," Bareiss explained.

Bareiss also discussed more ideas about his attitude toward the community of Taos.

"Someone could parachute at night on Taos Plaza. When you land, you know you're there," he said. "Everything is very distinct, unlike any other place - the people, the culture. When someone is new to Taos, that person should get to know the place. There's a culture here. It's not the way I grew up, but Taos is still alive."

The gallery owner professed that at this time of his life, he mainly wants to enjoy his involvement with people and community activities. "I'll help if it has meaning or contributes to the culture and history of this area," he said.

Editor's note: Kathy Cordova is married to Arsenio Cordova, the man for whom Bareiss is holding the March 17 benefit.