• LOVELAND ART MUSEUM & GALLERY: "GRAVE MATTERS: ART OF MEMORY AND MOURNING" EXHIBITION, SUMMER 2006
• THE LOVELAND ART MUSEUM NEWSLETTER/BROCHURE RAN SEVERAL IMAGES AND ARTICLES ANNOUNCING MY GALLERY LECTURE AND MEMORY JUG WORKSHOP/LECTURES.
The front brochure photo is one of my cemetery images from the show:
• TWO OF MY CEMETERY PHOTOS APPEARED ON THE EXHIBIT POSTERS AND STREET BANNERS ANNOUNCING THE "GRAVE MATTERS" EXHIBIT:
• LOVELAND ART MUSEUM: "GRAVE MATTERS" EXHIBITION, "FORBIDDEN FRUIT" DAY OF THE DEAD ALTAR INSTALLATION
Here are photos I took from the Loveland Art Museum's exhibit, "Grave Matters: Art of Mourning and Meaning." This first piece is my Day of the Dead altar to my mother, Blanche Zuckerman. I was able to create this 30-foot long installation to headline this international exhibit, which included works by Kathe Kollwitz and Rembrandt, pre-Columbian and Egyptian artifacts, contemporary Day of the Dead sculptures, among many other treasured objects, and dozens of cemetery photos, of which more than 30 were mine. All the photos in my installation were photographed in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, Mexico.
• IN THE CENTER OF THE ALTAR IS A PHOTO OF MY MOTHER, BLANCE KLEID ZUCKERMAN, TAKEN IN 1946.
Below is a photo of my brother and myself with our Mom. I am probably five in this picture. A true fifties family.
• THIS IS THE PROTOTYPE VERSION OF THE DAY OF THE DEAD ALTAR CREATED OVER A SIX-MONTH PERIOD IN MY GARAGE.
Fortunately, the curatorial staff allowed me to create a much bigger, wider, and taller altar. I liked this trial one, too;.
• LOVELAND ART MUSEUM: "GRAVE MATTERS" EXHIBITION, "DEVIL MAY CARE" and "THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND" ALTARS
Both of these altars are dedicated to my mother. "Devil May Care" is a compilation of Mexican Day of the Dead figurines I had been collecting for more than twenty years, including bride and groom skeletons that I had at my wedding ceremony in 1989.
• LOVELAND ART MUSEUM: "GRAVE MATTERS" EXHIBITION ALTAR INSTALLATION PHOTOS
Here are just a few contextual shots of the exhibition itself showing my dollhouse altars— "Devil May Care" and "The Girl I Left Behind," and my memory jugs.
• LOVELAND ART MUSEUM: GRAVE MATTERS EXHIBITION CEMETERY PHOTOGRAPHY
Some sample shots of the cemetery photography I had on display, including single images and tryptichs taken in New Mexico, Colorado, and Baja. The skeleton in the window was shot in San Miquel de Allende, Mexico and was used for the introductory image to the exhibit. Most of this photography was shot expressly for this exhibit.
• LAURIE'S PHOTOS FROM COLONIAL MEXICO (San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato) were shot during the Day of the Dead celebrations in 2005 expressly for this "Grave Matters" exhibit. These images flanked my Day of the Dead installation which featured similar items seen in the sugar skull markets and cemetery displays. Some of the items I collected in Mexico, but the bulk were purchased at flea markets, thrift stores, and folk art outlets in Colorado and New Mexico.
• GREAT PRESS ABOUT THE "GRAVE MATTERS" EXHIBIT APPEARED IN THE COLORADOAN [FORT COLLINS] AND THE LOVELAND REPORTER-HERALD :
• A CHICANO WEBSITE POSTED NOTICE OF THE "GRAVE MATTERS" EXHIBIT:
One of the other participating artists, Jerry Vigil of Denver, had many great works pertaining to the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration.
• A WEBSITE ON AFRICAN ART LOANED TO THE EXHIBIT POSTED NOTICE OF THE EXHIBIT:
• FRONT RANGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE "DIA DE LOS MUERTOS" LECTURE AND ALTAR DEMONSTRATION, FALL 2006
After the "Death And Dying" psychology instructor at FRCC saw the Loveland exhibit, she invited me to hold a public lecture at the community college. I built a sample "ofrenda" in front of the audience, explaining the symbolism behind each offering to the altar. The next day the psychology students built their own ofrendas for the public to witness.
• ARTISTS NOOK GALLERY—DAY OF THE DEAD COMMUNITY ALTAR INSTALLATION, FALL 2006
I constructed this small, casual Day of the Dead ofrenda (or altar) for Christine Webb's store, using some of the items from my Loveland Museum installation. Her customers brought their own photos and memorabilia to add to the altar during our Day of the Dead potluck dinner and ceremony. I loved the community participation aspect to this type of public altar.
• FORT COLLINS MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART: "THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIENNIAL," SUMMER 2006
"In the Pink" Altar Installation, Third Place Award/Honorarium Lecture
The juror, William Wylie, told me he selected my piece because it was "creepy." Exactly.
• CLICK ON THE FCMOCA WEBSITE—www.fcmoca.org/past.html—to see a Listing of past exhibits at Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art.
• TWO REVIEWS OF THE "ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIENNIAL" FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS [DENVER] AND THE COLORADOAN [FORT COLLINS]:
• TWO GRACES GALLERY, TAOS, NEW MEXICO, "DAY OF THE DEAD INVITATIONAL" EXHIBITION, FALL 2006
I had some great press from the Taos News TEMPO once again. The photo in the Grim Reaper article is a detail of my Day of the Dead altar entitled, "Devil May Care." I've included a full shot of the altar, which appeared in an earlier version last summer at the Loveland Art Museum's, "Grave Matters" exhibit.
• THE TAOS NEWS TEMPO ART REVIEW "GRIM REAPER TO GRIN CATCHER": American Indian Day of the Dead Harvests Happy Memories, by Virginia L. Clark, gave me some great exposure.
All Saints Day takes on a whole different character in the Americas. Here the somber European “Dia de Todos Santos” is replaced by Dia de los Muertos, a prehispanic, Mesoamerican Indian festival celebrating children, Dia de los Angelitos, and loved ones who have passed on. Originally, the three-day festival fell in the Aztec month of Miccailhuitontli, which overlapped the end of July and the beginning of August. The “Lady of the Dead,” Mictecacihuatl, was the mistress of ceremonies. Spanish priests moved the Indian festival from the beginning of summer to coincide with All Hallows Eve, Oct. 31 and All Saints Day, Nov. 1. Rather than erasing the existence of the ancient pre-conquest practice altogether, however, the sunny American Indian children’s celebration has turned the Old World’s Grim Reaper of martyred souls into a friendly and bony New World harvester of happy memories.
Except for green chile, Dia de los Muertos is arguably the most beloved tradition of both Old and New Mexico by natives and non-natives alike. To date, besides the annual Nov. 2 celebration of George Chacon’s community altar at the Historic Taos Inn, three other public Dia de los Muertos altars have been announced in Taos. “Dia de los Muertos III” opening reception is from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday (Oct. 20) at Two Graces gallery in Ranchos de Taos. This is one hugely popular opening every year.
The featured artists in the Two Graces exhibit will be Mary Hockenbery, Robin McLean of Taos Sound, Debbe de Taos of dessert and bar-b-que fame, Lyn Bleiler, Caterina Giglio, Laurie Zuckerman and Leah Benau. With the exception of Leah Benau, owner/director Robert Cafazzo rotates the participating artists every year. Laurie Zuckerman’s altar “Devil May Care” is a dark spark in honor of her mother that is part of an original installation for “Grave Matters,” first installed at the Loveland Art Museum in Colorado earlier this year. Zuckerman’s complete installation was 30 feet in length and two stories high, celebrating the renewed bonds with her mother with whom she’d had a love-hate relationship before her mother’s illness and death from cancer. “Devil May Care” is the smallest segment of the museum installation and carries the Jungian “shadow” of the mother-daughter relationship. While dying from cancer, the women bonded in a way they had never bonded before. Zuckerman admitted the dark beauty of the piece, and referring to it’s title, said she “didn’t have too great of a relationship with my mother while I was growing up. I really miss her and really want her to care about me.”
Contrasts of subjects, themes, textures, light and dark values, all contrive to create complexity, an almost inadvertent duplicity stemming somehow from both her mature mind and her youthful incomprehension of the mother’s seemingly adult perspectives. In the 30-foot installation, Zuckerman explored every conceivable positive and negative aspect of the relationship with her mother. Zuckerman is Jewish and in the five years since her mother died, leaving her parentless, Zuckerman has been creating altars, honoring the lives and loves still vibrant in her psyche. This is the first official Day of the Dead altar she built to her mother. Besides the fascinating altars, Cafazzo has marigold seeds saved from the 2005 traditional altar by Maria Clarita Peralta, which he propagated this year and which will be given out at the exhibit. Cafazzo will also have handmade Papel Picado (paper cut flags), Sugar Skulls, the delight of children, and everyone’s favorite the traditional sweet batter bread, Pan de Muerte, will be available at the reception.
• THE ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL PRINTED THIS REVIEW BY TOM COLLINS IN THEIR GALLERY GUIDE along with a photo of my "Devil May Care" Day of the Dead altar.
"OUTSIDE LOOKING OUT": The Taos art scene is far removed from what's happening in the City Different [Santa Fe], but there are still a few fringe artists worth checking out
Back in the day, Taos had it all over Santa Fe as far as interesting artists in residence was concerned. No longer, and not for a long while now. Like Santa Fe, Taos today is all about real estate, with Hollywood movie chat running a close second. But while the sizzle seems pretty much gone out of anything approaching a "visual arts scene" in Taos, Santa Fe seems cookin' by comparison.In Santa Fe, a really supportive community of artists and gallerists has taken root in the last decade and a half or so, in part due to the infusion of kulturdollars injected into the scene by John and Ann Marian in the mid-'90s, but even more so thanks to the support of dealers like Linda Durham, Charlotte Jackson, et al., and institutions such as the Center for Contemporary Arts and SITE Santa Fe, as well as St. John's College, the College of Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Institute of Art and Santa Fe Community College. All that, and Santa Fe has a bigger population! and many more tourists. Which is why so many interesting artists would dodge Santa Fe (see O'Keeffe and Agnes Martin, to name two) and head to Taos and other outlying precincts. And while Taos is still a fine place not to hang out and get some actual work done, there's very little support system from the galleries or the institutions for artists once they arrive. The Taos Art Association died long ago; there's no Stables Gallery to speak of; and the Harwood Museum wanders aimlessly along with weird exhibitions as they duplicate the Wurlitzer Foundation mission, handing out free rent to artists and writers as long as they don't live here. As for those in residence, let them eat corn tortillas. As far as actual, edgy aesthetics in Taos these days, my votes are for the Kultur Cafe/Mondo Video bistro, and Taosounds record and CD shop, in general; and in the visual realm, Two Graces Gallery in Ranchos de Taos and the ArtLobby in the La Fonda Hotel on the Plaza. The sign in the La Fonda lobby reads "D.H. Lawrence Forbidden Art Tours," referring to Lorenzo's bad "erotic" paintings now safely behind curtains in a little-used side room. As it turns out, the only "forbidden art" around the La Fonda these days is work like that in the current Peter Opheim show, "Microscope/Telephone," in the lobby. For a year and a half, independent curator Kristin Bortles has presented eight tremendously engaging exhibitions of underappreciated, neighborhood, mostly youngish artists in the lobby that, with only one or two exceptions, had more sizzle than Joe's duck-fat fries. Unfortunately, when the Opheim show closes on Dec. 11, that's it for the ArtLobby. In the meantime, Opheim's dozen strangely decorative, vegetative watercolor and paper collages, and trio of wildly hued and patterned, nonobjective oil paintings, are installed against big backdrops of kitschy, pseudo-Victorian wallpaper. The overall effect is dizzying and hilarious at the same time. There is such a din of optic opposition and disharmony that all your visual energy must be focused on a painting or the background, one or the other. All peripheral vision is shut down. It's as if Opheim is anticipating the philistine's critique that his stuff "looks just like wallpaper." It does, but it's not. Indeed, you would never find a couch or wallpaper that could coexist with a work of such large, random, Klimtian business and color as "Mountain/Something."
Meanwhile, down in Ranchos in the shadows of the buttresses of San Francisco de Asis, Two Graces still boasts a room full of cool antiques and tchotchkas, a big room full of all sorts of paintings, assemblages, photos and more by local and regional artists ranging from disturbed to brilliant (sometimes, maybe both), and a small middle room wherein resident genius and director Robert Cafazzo mounts an odd, usually intriguing exhibition or other. Currently, the gallery is holding its "Dia de los Muertos III" exhibition of altars and shrines by seven women, one guy, and a husband and wife duo. Having some years ago, and at the risk of mixing metaphors, declared a fatwa against all shrine or altar shows, I tried to avoid this one at Two Graces, but I couldn't. Cafazzo's too curious an intelligence to just blow it off. Be that as it may, there's only so much you can expect from these kinds of "Day of the Dead" shows, and one is not disappointed, or surprised, in this one...
I DID LIKE LAURIE ZUCKERMAN'S MAD BLACK VOODOO SHRINE OF A GAZILLION SKELTONS AND SKULLS,...
and I loved Robin McLean's (the guy) assemblage shrine of classic LP covers from Santana, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, the Clash, etc., combined with McLean's hand-lettered, blackmarker-on-yellowcardboard history of rock 'n' roll and American culture. McLean's history is better than anything that Rolling Stone has published for the past 25 years, but it's still not enough for me to rescind my fatwa. But one man's fatwa is another's fine art, so check it out and you tell me.
October 27, 2006
• THE TWO GRACES GALLERY, RANCHO DE TAOS, NEW MEXICO—"MEMENTO MORI," WINTER 2006
The Two Graces Gallery is located immediately behind the San Francisco of Asis Church, made famous by Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams, in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. Here's some shots from my solo show. These are two of my "dollhouse" altars and a detail of my "wedding cake" altar alongside some of my shrine and cemetery photography. Currently, I have some of my photography on view at the gallery.
• HERE ARE TWO EXAMPLES OF THE 30 CEMETERY AND SHRINE PHOTOS I HAD ON DISPLAY AT THE TWO GRACES GALLERY. These were shot in several remote areas of Baja Sur in 2004. The blue Madonna shrine is my most popular selling photo.
• I HAD A WONDERFUL INTERVIEW/REVIEW OF MY "MEMENTO MORI" SHOW IN THE TAOS NEWS TEMPO MAGAZINE:
• ARTISTS NOOK GALLERY—"MEMENTO MORI" ALTARS & CEMETERY PHOTOGRAPHY, FORT COLLINS, CO, SPRING 2006
This is the same exhibit I showed in Taos at the Two Graces Gallery, only installed differently. I wanted my friends in Fort Collins to get a chance to see this new body of work. Owner, Christine Webb threw a great opening and I gave a gallery talk on "Shopping for Soul," which was surprisingly well-attended.
• PIRATE GALLERY, DENVER—"DAY OF THE DEAD EXHIBIT," "THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED" ALTAR INSTALLATION, FALL 2005
This is a detail of the Day of the Dead altar I mounted especially for this exhibit. It is a suitcase altar made in honor of the homeless Hurricane Katrina victims.
• FORT COLLINS MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART—"STUDIO TOUR ARTISTS" "SAINT FRANCIS," ALTAR INSTALLATION, SUMMER 2005
Saint Francis' statue and shrine were handcarved and hand-painted by Laurie and her husband, Tom Mathies in 1993. I had my house open on the FCMOCA Studio Tour for two days, so that the public could view my home altars in place. There were upwards of 35 altars and memory jugs on display, in all the upstairs rooms, as well as, the two studio rooms downstairs. I got dubbed "The Shrine Lady" that weekend. I met many wonderful people, including Christine Webb, Linda Folkerts, and Maggie Kunze through this event, all associated with the Artists' Nook in Fort Collins.
• UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN COLORADO, MARIANI GALLERY, “AMERICAN VODOU: JEW-JU” ALTAR INSTALLATION, WINTER 2003
An overview shot of three of the thirteen altars I had on exhibit in this spacious gallery. The title of this two-person exhibit was "Jew-Ju." It was the first major public show of my altar installations in Colorado.