Alibi V.14 No.3 • Jan 20-26, 2005 

Culture Shock

It's been a hugely successful experiment that hopefully will be repeated for many years to come. New Mexico Books & More is a co-op that was located in the Cottonwood Mall during the holiday shopping season. Operated entirely by volunteers, the store sold books exclusively from and about New Mexico. According to the organizers, the co-op ended up selling more than 3,400 volumes in 40 days. Not too bad, eh? To make matters even better, the store will be donating much of its profits to local literacy groups. For details, call 344-9382.

Like Tarzan on a vine, I swung by the He Show the other day, beating on my chest and yodeling like the half-ape, half-man I resemble in my more primitive moments. Have you seen the exhibit? The He Show, currently running at the Downtown Contemporary Art Center, consists entirely of work by male photographers. You won't find any quaint Ansel Adams-ish landscapes here. No-sir-ee-bob. From start to finish, this show offers some truly amazing pieces on the cutting edge of photographic image-making.

As you might expect of a show consisting entirely of art created by men, much of the exhibit focuses on the physical and the erotic. There are Pat Berrett's lovely small-scale images of women's tattooed backs, for example. Or Steve Malavolta's well-endowed female model, breasts, hips and skin integrated seamlessly into various New Mexico landscapes. Even Kip Malone's large C-print, "Lime," at least in my filthy mind, has an erotic quality, with strips of duct tape pressing down on a big hoop of emerald green gelatin.

Barry McCormick's scream series aren't even vaguely sexy. But his faces of naked people screaming through mesh hoops are deeply physical. They have a surreal, visceral quality about them that's both attractive and terrifying.

Other photographers in the show don't fit into the pigeon hole I've arbitrarily constructed for the sake of this article. I've been a fan of David Ondrik's work for a while. In this show, the pieces of his I enjoyed most were his small-scale mixed media assemblages of scrubby New Mexico desert scenes blighted by human structures. Likewise, some of the most appealing photographs come from Steve Bromberg. His small black and white silver gelatin prints of subjects ranging from mechanical doodads to three chairs on a black and white checkered floor to a cup of joe beside a newspaper to a detail of a balpeen hammer are comforting in their familiarity—especially in the midst of much stranger images, such as Wes Naman's freaky bird mask photos.

All in all, it's a very interesting show. Get in touch with your masculine side and give it a gander. 105 Fourth Street, 242-1983.