Saturday, September 8, 2007
LAURIE ZUCKERMAN DOES DURANGO AND TAOS WITH ALTAR-MAKING PAL, KATHY PINKERTON
Here are new photos of two of my favorite roadside sanctuarios from southern Colorado. The first Madonna is inside this folksy roadside shrine on the altar. The second Madonna is the focal figure of a sandstone grotto called The Shrine of the Blessed Mother in Huerfano County, which I have been photographing since 1999, often several times a year. The Madonna is always changing, as you can see by this last shot taken just months before. "The St. Mary Club of Walsenburg put a statue of Our Lady of Grace in the grotto in the mid-1960s, and since then travelers and residents have added objects to memorialize their loved ones," according to Mary Jean Porter at the Pueblo Chieftan. I wonder if this Madonna is the original statue. I found an old plaster statue tossed to the side of the grotto, unfortunately decapitated, so I am not sure.
I was photographing this grotto sanctuario again on Labor Day. I am working on a large series of photographs from roadside shrines in Colorado and New Mexico to be included in my upcoming solo show at the Loveland Art Museum in 2009. I was visiting there with my best altar-making buddy—artist Kathy Pinkerton, from Blacksburg, Virginia. Kathy came out for the holiday weekend to accompany me to the Durango Arts Center to see my altar and photography exhibit that was ending September 1st.
We stayed with artist, Mary Ellen Long and her husband in their beautiful art-filled home. Kathy and Mary Ellen are both papermakers and painters, so they had a lot in common. After packing up the car with the artwork that hadn't sold, the three of us lunched and shopped at a couple of antique stores, where I scored some old dolls and little goodies for my memory jugs.
Sunday morning, I awoke with a wild hare to drive Kathy to Taos, instead of heading home as the crow flies. Mary Ellen told us about the Richard Diebenkorn retrospective of his New Mexican paintings at the Harwood Museum. Being that it was ending in a few days, I knew this was my only chance to see the show. Diebenkorn has always been one of my favorite American painters. I had studied with two artists from his gang of Bay Area Figurative painters: Elmer Bischoff, when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley; and Nathan Oliviera, at Centrum in Port Townsend, Washington after graduate school.
The show was great, well worth the five-hour drive across Northern New Mexico. Plus the Harwood has a great collection of New Mexican santos and retablos, which I enjoyed visiting for a second time. Last fall, I met with the curator of the Harwood Museum to discuss my work. I am hoping to have some of work, likely my photography, shown at the museum someday. I am in the process of making CDs of my Mexican, New Mexican, and Coloradoan shrine photography to mail to the museum this week, per the request of the curator.
Kathy and I have been altar compatriots since the early-1990s when I lived in Blacksburg and worked at Virginia Tech. Kathy is meeting me in Oaxaca for Michael deMeng's Day of the Dead workshop. I can't wait, as we had a complete blast driving across two states, antiquing along the way, and talking non-stop!! Thank you, Kathy! Still haven't unpacked the car. Tomorrow is another day.