Laurie Zuckerman currently has an installation of three Day of the Dead altars in Virginia Tech's Diá de los Muertos exhibit at the Perspectives Gallery in Squires Student Union. It is a colorful and lively show, excellently curated by Mary Tartaro, director of the gallery. The show was mounted to coincide with Hispanic Awaremess Month.
Best of all, my bestfriend and altarmaking pal in Blacksburg, Kathy Pinkerton, is also featured in this exhibit and has a spectacular altar display as the centerpiece of the show. It is the closet thing I have ever seen to the over-the-top exuberance of Oaxacan Day of the Dead ofrendas. Below is a wide-shot of Kathy's installation.
The gallery invited me to fly out to give the keynote lecture on my travels to photograph Colonial Mexico's Day of the Dead altars, prior to the opening on October 3, 2008. I shipped all the myriad pieces of the altars and set-up my detailed installation the day before the show opened. (14 hours and many gallery helpers later, it was complete.) I also have 25 of my Day of the Dead photos from San Miguel de Allende, Guanujuato, and Oaxaca included in this exhibit. Three of my photos are used on the show announcement included with this post above.
The News Messenger of Montgomery County, Virginia published this front page article on October 8, 2008. Here are some quotes from the article by reporter Lauren Page, who interviewed myself and Kathy Pinkerton.
"Zuckerman describes her altar as more mournful that the rest of the pieces on display at the the exhibit. The altar, entitled "Devil May Care", is mostly black with an orange background. Zuckerman said the altar contains many references to Hallowe'en, including vintage American Hallowe'en decorations beside Mexican Day of the Dead artifacts. The black and orange color scheme has a three-fold meaning, she said. First, orange and black are the colors of Hallowe'en. Second, the orange represents the marigolds traditionally used at Mexican Day of the Dead festivals. Third, since it is next to [Kathy] Pinkerton's fuchsia altar, the two colors side by side look like the signature VT maroon and orange, Zuckerman said." [Actually this is bit of a misquote, as I was referring to the maroon and orange colors within my own altar installation being chosen in homage to Tech's school colors.]
"I like puns and double-entendres," Zuckerman said. "I like things to have a lot of different [visual] meanings.
"Devil May Care" is an homage to Zuckerman's parents. There is a large altar in the center, flanked by two smaller ones. The left side memorializes her mother. The right side memorializes her father. Zuckerman described her parents as "difficult and contentious."
"It was very painful dealing with their anger and bitterness," Zuckerman said. "This altar...represents the lighter side of what I kept bottled up inside."
The following web article at Virginia Tech University announced Laurie Zuckerman's altar installation, photography, and slide lecture in conjunction with the Perspectives Gallery group exhibition of Diá de los Muertos, October 3-November 8, 2008. The other artists included in the show are The Artgirlz group, Mindy & Baldwin True North, and Gilda Machin-Scarpaci, who all created wonderful altars for the show.