Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Look Back: Two Dreamers

Quickly approaching is the eighth anniversary of Missives of the Art World ... and as such, from time to time previously published Missives will be featured.  "Two Dreamers" was originally published on October 3, 2010.

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Two Dreamers … one with eyes lowered as if in prayer and the other looking to the stars. Who are these women? We will never know, for they are not commissioned portrait busts but rather idealized heads based on a sculptor’s study of a live model. Furthermore, they are not even in the traditional materials of “fine arts”, stone, or bronze. These two dreamers are made of red stoneware known as Böttgerware, and produced at the porcelain factory of Meissen somewhere between the late 1920’s and mid 1930’s. Their authors were sculptors who made their living creating models for ceramic production.


These sculptural studies are a world apart from the precious quality generally associated with porcelain figurines. But modelers for porcelain factories of the 18th century were often talented sculptors (Kaendler at Meissen, Bustelli at Nymphenburg foremost among them) who could shape the human figure to conform to the stylization of the Baroque and Rococo eras. Just so with these two heads, where the realistic study of models is transformed through the lens of the Art Deco style of the twenties and thirties.

We know little about the sculptors themselves. Professor Emile Paul Börner (1888-1970) studied in Florence and the Italian tradition of the depiction of the Virgin Mary is evident in the mystical tranquility he evokes in his female subject. Even less is known about Willi Münch-Khe (1885-1961), the author of the Balinese beauty, who worked as a modeler at several other German factories as well as at Meissen. He clearly shared in the fascination with the exotic that was current in the art deco and moderne periods.

They both realized the potential of the high-fired red-brown ceramic that had been overlooked in the centuries since it was developed by the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682-1719) in his attempts to produce porcelain for the princely patrons of the Meissen factory. He was the first in Europe to discover the formula for true porcelain known from oriental imports and Meissen began production in 1710. But the early vessels of red stoneware, now dubbed Bottgerware, are among the most prized by collectors today.

The exceptionally hard medium allows for the most refined detail and the contrast of matte and highly polished surfaces (see the eyelashes on Borner’s piece, the glistening lips on Münche-Khe’s) Did the director of the factory encourage the two sculptors to explore the medium in large sculpture? Did the two sculptors challenge each other? I have been so intrigued by my two ladies, their relationship and their contrasting beauty. They are hors de categorie, surpassing the stigma of “minor arts” associated with the products of porcelain factories.

Will we ever know the circumstance of their creation?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Old Masters Rock

If you have not already guessed, “Old Masters Rock” is a book about how to look at art with children.  This book may not be unique in its goals but it certainly has a different way of approaching the subject.

The cover of the book shows a few wonderful Old Masters and the name of the person who had the idea and selected the pictures and wrote the text: Maria-Christina Sayn-Wittgenstein Nottenbohm.  It takes 3 lines to cover all of the names she was born with plus the last, which is her husband’s.  So it is with German aristocracy. If you forced her she could even add a title!  To make things simple she prefers her nickname, Puppa and that is how I shall refer to her.  Presently she is a dealer in the field of Old Masters under the gallery name Sayn-Wittgenstein in New York.  To assure you how well thought of she is in the art world, Gary Tinterow former  chairman of the Met’s department of 19th-century, modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum and now director of the Fine Art Museum, Houston, wrote the introduction

The entries in Old Masters Rock started with regular pieces, emailed to friends over a year ago. Even though Puppa has kindly said to me that I had inspired her to do this, the real inspiration was taking her son Gaspar to museums in this country and abroad and discussing the paintings with him.  Here they are recently at the Metropolitan Museum discussing John Constable’s, Salisbury Cathedral of 1825.


The book begins with some tips for parents and their children.  It comes down to asking questions.  My wife always asked our son and his older brother and sister what they thought a painting was about.  Puppa goes much further with lots of questions and answers about subject, technique and vision of the artist.  The contents are divided into themes, Animals, Families, Myth & Magic, News of the Day and a number more.  Some of the most famous old masters ever are included and a number of my favorites are there in full-page color illustrations.

We might as well start at the beginning with the section on animals and a Leonardo da Vinci, “Lady with an Ermine”, circa 1490.  I was lucky enough to see this picture on a junket to Poland with Basia Johnson right after the Berlin wall came down and there were, as the Polish people called it, “the changes”. Since it had not yet been hung in the galleries at the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków, the painting was quite literally brought out of the vault for us. I would take it over the Mona Lisa any day of the week!  To each of these full-page illustrations Puppa has added an equal sized page of text with facts about the artist and technique, and in this case ermine and women of history and mystery.   It is material that will intrigue children and adults alike.    As an example, regarding Leonardo, Puppa writes, “Leonardo was a wizard!  He was brilliant and loved science… and imagined…flying machines”.  She tells about the Ermine that, “are great at catching mice… Ermine fur is traditionally used for royal robes”.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Like most children of parents involved in the arts, I was dragged to auction houses, galleries and museums from the time I was born.  I don’t mind admitting that I was often bored out of my mind, but tell me that I was not allowed somewhere and I was dying to go. This was so with the Frick Collection in New York, which restricted admittance until the age of 10 and I believe still does.  Maybe it was a birthday present, I don’t remember, but I know shortly after my 10th birthday I was taken to the Frick and fell totally in love with a painting, “St. Francis in the Desert”, 1475-1478 by Giovanni Bellini, who I later learned was one of the most important artists of the early Renaissance in Venice.  This large picture, almost 4 by 5 feet, absorbed me like a large screen television might absorb a football fan today!  Puppa introduces this image by the name of the movie “Brother Sun and Sister Moon” that alone is more interesting to a child than St. Frances in the Desert.  Don’t remember St. Francis from my Jewish upbringing.  Puppa puts the latter in historical context and describes the scene, asking questions like whether you can guess what time of day it is or how St. Francis feels while he is saying his morning prayers.  These are all short paragraphs: even technique is explained in simple terms.  They can be read with your child and made into a game or you can just remember one or two when you take your child to the museum.

Copyright The Frick Collection

Another painting that mesmerized me when I was young was Albrecht Altdorfer’s “Battle of Alexander at Issus”.   The picture is in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.  Puppa calls it “Middle Earth”.  She compares it to classic movie scenes and explains the battle and uniforms.  At the same time everything that is pertinent art historically is also there, including where to find the signature, which explains that Altdorfer was from Regenspurg.  I am sure it was all the tiny soldiers on horseback brandishing weapons that so intrigued me and Puppa describes them so you won’t miss it in the illustration.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

I will mention one more painting which Puppa titles “Construction Site”.  It is Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s “Tower of Babel” of 1563. I won’t give the story away just the punch line!  Everyone ends up speaking a different language.  We had just such a construction site next door to our house in New York where the contactor got a pick-up crew that spoke Chinese, Spanish, a language from India and many others.  We could never learn anything from them because they could not communicate.  Here is the entry and illustration from the book.


If I have not enticed you to order the book, and encourage your local books store to carry it, then note that the book is already so popular an article appeared in the arts section of the Wall Street Journal earlier this year.  Puppa’s lecture tour for the book started in the Queen’s Gallery of Buckingham Palace, which, as lofty as that sounds, has temporary exhibitions from the royal collections, open to all for an entry fee.  You can find her lecture schedule on her Amazon author page HERE.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Justice at the Opera

"Justice at the Opera” there could not be a better title for this once in a life-time experience.


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg curated 90 minutes of arias from various operas relating to justice and the law at the Lensic Performing Arts Center with wonderful apprentice singers from the Santa Fe Opera.

For those not seriously interested in opera, it may not be well known, but Justice Ginsberg’s love of opera is legendary. She has been coming to Santa Fe for the opera season a very long time. In fact she told the Washington Post that she, “considers the Santa Fe Opera the finest summer opera company in the world.”

It has also been commented upon that until his death Justice Scalia, her archrival on the Supreme Court, would accompany her since, regarding opera, at least, there was a certain meeting of the minds.

Justices Ginsberg and Scalia last year

I am going to take a liberty here and I hope my readers, and most of all our favorite Supreme Court Justice, will forgive me, but in order to save space and not repeat Justice Ginsberg 10 more times, I will refer to her as others have, as RBG.  This is not the first time that RBG has done this program. In 2013 the New York Times reported on Justice at the Opera at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in Cooperstown, New York and earlier this year the Washington Post had an article about a program similar to the one in Santa Fe at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

The late afternoon performance started with introductions by the Executive Director of the Lensic, Joel Aalberts, welcoming the audience for this momentous occasion and introducing Charles MacKay, retiring General Director of the Santa Fe Opera to this joint benefit.  Both received energetic applause and cheers.  But when Mr. MacKay introduced Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg saying that she was Ambassador at Large for the Opera and must never retire from the court, everyone in the sold-out theatre rose to their feet and would not stop applauding and cheering.  It was most heartening.  When the Justice finally calmed the audience she quoted Justice O’Brian’s two favorite responses,  “Thank you and thank you again” and adding her own “Mille Grazie”.

RBG’s props were a podium and an armchair in an exaggerated Louis XV style, lent by the Santa Fe Opera, where she sat in rapt attention after making the introduction to each scene.  There were eight selections from famous operas. Justice Ginsberg’s commentary explained what was happening in the opera itself as well as some juicy tidbits from the law.    The first scene was a quartet from Verdi’s “Falstaff” and RBG explained that it was about mail fraud since two women received the exact same love letter from a suitor who was actually after their husband’s money.  She explained with mock seriousness how this had been responsible for a U.S. law regarding mail fraud.


With the aria from Puccinis’s “Tosca” where the hero anticipates the Firing Squad, the Justice mentioned that some in this country sentenced to death, who have been averse to the needle, have asked for a firing squad instead, but so far all have been denied.

In L’elisir d’Amore by  Donizetti during the quartet from Act II RBG was asked to notarize the  the contract. She rose to the podium to do so and the singer held it out to the audience for all to see.  These antics and comments added zest and laughter to the afternoon!

The most moving piece and only one that one felt quite convinced RBG had insisted on was from the opera, “Appomattox” by Philip Glass, a composer I do not care for.   The emotional aspect of the piece, however, cannot be denied. Terrence Chin-Loy, an African-American tenor who is also a wonderful actor, recounted the “Colfax Massacre” on Easter Sunday of 1873 in Colfax, Louisiana, where over a hundred black militiamen were cut down by white supremacists upset to see the freed “colored people”.

When a Supreme Court Justice, who sits on a  pedestal as the idol of many, joins the rest of us in a cultural experience, it gives one an exceptional feeling of belonging and edification.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

“Catch 22” The Exhibition

The Coe, formally known as The Ralph T. Coe Foundation, recently opened a new show, “Catch 22”.  According to the guest curator, Nina Sanders, (Apsáalooke, also known as the Crow Tribe), “we do ourselves a disservice by manufacturing boundaries that serve to exclude, define and restrict certain types of art.  ‘Catch 22’ addresses the paradox that sanctions Native American art as well as the paradoxes that exist within each artist’s life…These individuals are faced with navigating the ‘catch- that comes from standing in two worlds, as modern Americans and indigenous people”.

It is the job of every curator to edit an exhibition so that it speaks to its audience.  In my opinion this show of 22 works on paper does.  It helps to know, however, that the owner of the collection, Edward J. Guarino known as Edd, was getting bored with collecting traditional Native American art and wanted to find edgier material, which the younger Indian artists have been doing.  As someone who has spent most of his life dealing with Old Master European paintings, I find it difficult to agree but cannot disagree with Edd’s statement, “that you can’t talk to dead artists.”  Clearly both curator and collector came together on the importance of this point and each work has an artist’s statement in the small catalog that accompanies the show.

How did the Coe find this private collector from Brooklyn, New York?  Actually, Edd found the Coe about a year ago, through a Coe volunteer and someone who had set up a tour of the Coe.  Edd met its President, Rachel Wixom, and they came up with the idea for this show together.  The fact is that Edd was not unknown in Santa Fe.  The artist, Shan Goshorn, had introduced Edd to me online a short while before and an exhibition of Edd’s collection of Northwest Coast works on paper was up at the Museum of Contemporary Indian Art.

Shan Goshorn, an Eastern Band Cherokee from Oklahoma, is a basket maker who weaves stories into her works. http://www.geraldstiebel.com/search?q=goshorn  In the catalog entry for her piece in Catch 22 she states; “Art cajoles, encourages, forces us to stretch out of our comfort zone and to consider things that we might not have considered before.  I want people who see my work to walk away with the curiosity to learn more…”



An etching by Charles Loloma (1921-1991), a Hopi Jeweler who worked in many other media is called “Vertical Rectangles” and is based on a drawing from one of his sketchbooks.  What is particularly interesting is that it relates directly to some of the jewelry he was doing circa 1980. The catalog entry includes a quote from his writings: “I feel a strong kinship to stones…I feel the stone and think, not to conquer it, but to help it express itself”.


We saw Rose Simpson from Santa Clara Pueblo work in clay when she was still young enough to be called Rosy and was making small clay dolls.  Now 20 years later she is an established artist whose clay sculptures can be found in many exhibitions and museum collections.  She is from a renowned family of artists specializing in work in clay.  But as you must know by now artists never wish to pigeon hole themselves in one medium any more than an actor wants to be typecast.  Here we have a mixed media piece called “V-8 Engine”.  Possibly influenced by her mother, Roxanne, having rebuilt and decorated a car, which she loved to show off in the town of Espanola near Santa Clara.  Curator Nina Sanders says of Rose, “She is a force to be reckoned with.  She carefully and thoughtfully explores new areas of art as she navigates her own existence."


Since it is necessary to expand our horizons my final illustration will be by an artist I was totally unacquainted with, Sarah Sense (Chitimacha/Coctaw). She belongs to the tradition of basket weavers but this piece, like most of her work, is  flat. Titled “Elizabeth as Cleopatra”, 2015, it is woven from an inkjet print on Bamboo paper.  I love it when a picture emerges for me slowly and the first time I viewed this work I did not really see it other than colorful patterns. Then, as a volunteer at a Coe function, I found myself sitting opposite it and slowly the face of Elizabeth Taylor came out at me and the image clicked. The artist’s statement said, “The ultimate connection between me and this weaving would be the personal romantic journey that I had experienced at the same time I created Elizabeth as Cleopatra.”  That mysterious comment has all wondering.  What is important to me, however, is that the statement only amplifies the experience, but is not necessary to appreciate, the art.


If I have piqued your curiosity the exhibition can be seen at The Coe at 1590B Pacheco in Santa Fe. Just call, even at the last moment, (505) 983-6372 or come to an open house on the first Friday of every month from 1-4pm.  If you can’t make it, the fully illustrated 16-page catalogue with artists’ and curatorial commentary can be acquired by writing to or emailing the Coe, info@ralphtcoefoundation.org

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Planning a Season

I am back at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, this time with the new Executive Director, Joel Aalberts.  Actually, he is not that new having started a year ago tomorrow.  He comes to Santa Fe having been Director at the Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts since 2013.  He also served in other Midwestern theatres, as a performer as well.

He had several concepts not tried before at the Lensic.  One was that the season’s program should be ready to be announced in May for the following August though May of the next year. This would allow his audience to plan, and most importantly buy tickets in advance.  Personally, we have already booked tickets through next April.  Here is Joel with his family at the announcement of the coming season.


An important goal for any theater is not to lose money on a season.  If you are a theatergoer, beyond Broadway or the Las Vegas strip, you are always told that tickets only fund a percentage of any year.  They cannot cover the tens of thousands it costs to book the entertainment plus supply the additional lights, other tech and musical instruments that might be needed through tickets alone.  The care and feeding of the headliner for the evening is also vital to the reputation of the theater and staff in the industry.

Joel with Actress Rita Moreno
Joel with Jazz Singer Dianne Reeves

The Lensic, being a converted 1930’s Movie Palace in a small town, has 821 seats.  I asked Joel whether we could have a particular political satirist whom I like and I think would do well in multi-cultural Santa Fe.  Joel said he would like to have him as well, but that he would probably not be interested in playing to an 800 seat theater when there were 2,000 plus seat auditoriums in Los Vegas or even where Joel worked previously in Kentucky.  When planning a season you have to be realistic as to whom might play the house.


If the Lensic would charge $10 for a family event, that would bring in only $8,210, which would not cover costs.  If you bring in a star the costs can come to $50,000 or  even much more. If all seats cost the same you might have to charge $100 per seat and you would lose much of your audience. Currently the most expensive seat in the house is $79 for a few shows and prices go down substantially from there.  In fact, the less than ideal seats at the Lensic are usually priced in the neighborhood of $25.

Joel with Nancy Zeckendorf, founding director, at the Lensic

Practically speaking when planning a season you need to know as much as you can about your patrons.  Joel’s first season he had a very short time to do this, but he could look at past seasons and see which events sold out and which had less than perfect attendance.

Last year there was only a week between his start date and one of the arts conferences he attends every year.  There are three in the United States: one is the Western Arts Alliance Conference which he goes to at the end of August, one in the mid-west and one on the East Coast.  These conferences try to focus, as much as possible, on the arts that appeal to that part of the country.  The theatre directors are pitched from morning ‘till night by the agencies trying to book their programs and talent. 

Once the actual season begins Joel can get direct responses by seeing not only how the house fills but also by comments made to him by members of the audience.  He attends many events in the house and is very open to the public’s comments, which surprised me since everyone has an opinion!

Agencies continue to pitch via email all year long and Joel will try to find an opening in the schedule if he thinks a particular act will appeal.  Two such sell outs this season were Trombone Shorty and Chris Botti neither of whom I had ever heard of.  Trombone Shorty, as his name implies, plays trombone and has a band.  Having played at the Lensic, he is going on a European tour this fall.  Chris Botti is a Grammy-winning trumpeter.  My point being that Joel has to know a lot of different parts of the entertainment industry and learns more all the time, including the tastes of his audience.  Here, like New York, you have great ethnic and age diversity.

Every theatre Director will have personal goals and one of Joel’s is to offer a diverse choice every year to expose people, not just to the same success as last year, but variations on a theme.  I have written a couple of times on Taiko drummer groups; each was different, so our experience was varied and our horizons broadened.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Steve Jobs Redux

Even before we had seen the new Steve Jobs opera called “(R)evolution of Steve Jobs” my wife suggested that I should write about it. My reaction was, “Why should I?” I thought it would be very contemporary atonal music, which I usually hate and, even though I was definitely curious, I had just written about Jobs a couple of weeks ago.

Seeing the opera, however, I was totally bowled over. It has wonderful music, sometimes amusing and sometimes gut-wrenching lyrics and is produced in not only an original manner, but one that works perfectly!  From me it gets 5 stars!! 

The music is by Mason Bates and the libretto is by Mark Campbell.  It was co-commissioned with Seattle Opera and San Francisco Opera.  This is no surprise since Jobs lived and worked in the area.  The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music joined them as co-producers.  The world premier was right here at the Santa Fe Opera.

The conductor on the night we went was Michael Christie.  As was written by John Stege in our local weekly magazine, The Santa Fe Reporter, “Bate’s score works just fine on several levels.  Forget the fearsome, distant electronic days… Bates offers and performs a kinder, gentler use of electronica that works right along with his multi-hued and often brilliant orchestral patterns.”

At the beginning of the opera a 10 year old boy is given a work table made for him by his father so he will have, “a place to take things apart and put them together again”.  Panels that serve for projections, often of circuit boards, slide back and forth as the characters move along.  Soon a grown Jobs takes the boy’s place.  If you force me to critique anything it is that the plot jumps back and forth in Job’s short life from 1955 to 2011 and it is sometimes difficult to keep track.  Still by the time it is over, you feel you understand the story of his life.  Here is Edward Parks as Steve Jobs and Jonah Sorenson as the young Jobs.

Photo Credit: Ken Howard for the Santa Fe Opera

The opera gets going with an aria or really a song called “Tap, tap, tap” which imitates all of us pressing on the icons on our iPhones.  I believe I forgot to mention how good the entire cast was!  We have heard wonderful voices in the past and sometimes they were good actors as well, but one usually picks them out individually.  In this performance we found all were good in both categories and some excelled.  The chorus is made up of Santa Fe Opera apprentices who in other productions sometimes have been given solo roles.  Opera companies from all over come in the summer to hear then sing and make some choices.  A bit like job interviews at major universities.  Steve Jobs and the Santa Fe Opera Chorus.

Photo Credit; Ken Howard for the Santa Fe Opera

Every story comes from a different point of view: my Missive, “Fearless Genius” dealt with Jobs creativity from the positive perception of the photographer Doug Menuez; the opera has a far more personal and in some ways tragic point of view.  In fact my wife and I were both in tears by the time it was over.  The part of Laurene, Job’s wife, was played by Sasha Cooke, a fabulous mezzo-soprano and actor, though I would prefer actress, because she symbolized the most wonderful strong but sympathetic wife!  Others who stood out were Job’s original partner Steve Wozniak, Garrett Sorenson and Jobs’ Zen Priest, Kobun Otogawa sung by Wei Wu.

Photo Credit: Ken Howard for the Santa Fe Opera

Photo Credit: Ken Howard for the Santa Fe Opera

If you want quite contrary thoughts on the same opera we saw, read the New York Times review. It is hard to believe that Zachary Woolfe, the author of this piece, saw the same production. We stayed until the last hand was clapped.  It was at least a five-minute standing ovation with more Bravos, Bravas and Bravis than I have ever heard in Santa Fe.  Mr. Woolfe seems to also believe that people are either all black or all white.  I read the same book he did by Walter Isaacson revealing Steve Jobs as an often insensitive SOB who clearly had another extremely charismatic way of enveloping people and having many totally devoted to him.

Photo Credit: Ken Howard for the Santa Fe Opera

I have gone to an awful lot of opera in my 70 plus years, starting with Aida in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome when I was 11.  I can honestly say I have been bored out of my skull by many operas since.  However, when you see and hear an opera put together so expertly with music, story line and performers at their best, and even an amazing set that cast and stage crew slide through effortlessly, for me it counts as a success and wonderful evening!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Tom Joyce - Sculptor

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t drop out of school at 16 and be a success.  It just depends what you want to do with the rest of your life.  If perchance you decide you would like to forge hot steel for a living you may have a chance.  So it was with Tom Joyce (b.1956-) who picked up his first hammer when he was 14 and by the age of 16 he had made up his mind that was what he wanted to do.  When asked about how he learned, his response is always, “I had a classic black smith’s training.”.  Black smith for me always makes me think of horse-shoes not 3 ton sculptures.  Tom’s work has developed from practical items such as agricultural tools made from worn iron hand-me-downs, to a gate near our home on the old Santa Fe Trail, to major steel sculptures weighing many tons.


Whenever, I am asked about Tom Joyce I immediately say that I met him before he received the half million-dollar MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2003.  Why? So no one thinks it is because of the award we tried to meet him!  Around that time he invited us to breakfast at his home.  It was and is the only time I have been asked to fetch my own eggs from the hen house ... hey, I’m a city kid!


His work has been shown all over the world and can be found in the collections of the Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C., the Minneapolis and Detroit Institutes of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York among others.

There is presently an exhibition of Tom’s work called “Tom Joyce: Everything at Hand” at the Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Santa Fe.  It occupies their new sculpture garden as well as the entire museum gallery, and it will be up until the end of the year.  An unusual aspect of CCA that it is on an Armory campus and the building now housing the art gallery is the original Tank Garage -- a good thing for Tom since the floor and even the walls can hold thousands of pounds in weight, which would not work in a normal museum building.  This outdoor sculpture “Aureole VI” which is over 6 feet in diameter weighs 4,407 lbs was created this year surely for this space.


Tom is a celebrity artist who has not let it go to his head: he is a very modest guy.
Listening to Tom speak, which he did at the museum the other day, expecting 20 people to show up and ending with about 220.  We learned of his fascination with iron and steel and their unending challenges.


He has worked with forges both in this country and abroad.  He told us that he now pays by the minute to use a large industrial facility so he cannot afford too many mistakes.  Therefore, he works with models in his studio here in Santa Fe making sure that his ideas can work on a very large and heavy scale. He was speaking to us in front of two sculptures “Bloom IV and Bloom V done last year of forged high carbon steel.  The smaller sculpture weighing 15,750 pounds and the larger 26,815 lbs.  These very large pieces are a composite of several smaller pieces of steel.


His huge sculptures come from industrial manufacturing castoffs.  As he says, “It’s a sculpture now, but it’s a store of material, and in my eyes, always tied to it origins.  Its practical nature ensures that it will be used again for another purpose and that most assuredly it will be here long after I’m gone.”  When was the last time that you heard an artist admit that his work might be destroyed to be used for another purpose?  In history it is not unusual for metals to be melted down for better and for worse!  It’s all part of the continuum…  To demonstrate that he believes what he says, he created an installation of light.  The label says, “Untitled (3-D printed tools made and/used by the artist) 2017.  Stereolithography printed clear polycarbonate-like plastic, LED lights, dimensions variable”. The hanging elements are casts of the tools he used to make a living before turning to sculpture.


Some of his multi-ton sculptures actually have the appearance of being squishy.  Take a look at this one called ”Lignifact I” created this year in 4 pieces of forged stainless steel weighing 14,000 pounds.


CCA also has a marvelous film program with two movie theatres which gets top billing on their website so if you go to https://www.ccasantafe.org be sure to click on “Visual Arts” at the top of the page for museum hours and other practical information.