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In Memoriam

Visions of the Aztec: A demolition gallery

Marking the one-year anniversary of the death of the iconic Route 66 motel

All images by Patrick Shorty

The first of three pieces documenting the life and death of the famed, doomed Aztec Motel.

It was one year ago this week that punk rock print maestro Patrick Shorty documented the Aztec Motel’s demolition.

By most accounts, the Aztec was the oldest surviving motel in New Mexicoit was six years older than the El Vado, which the city designated as a landmark site and spared from development a few years back.

The hodgepodge of paintings, bottles, tile, pottery and tchotchkes that positively bloomed off the stucco was painstakingly installed by Phyllis Evans in the ’90s. She was a professor at Michigan State University who sometimes lived at the motel and treated it like a retirement project.

I’d like to point out that the Aztec is renowned (everywhere but here, it turns out) as a folk art heritage site. It’s featured in art books and tons of websites, and it a was a priority stop on Larry Harris’ Orange Show Eyeopener Tour, a roving event that hits important regional folk-art environment landmarks.

Many thanks to Shorty for sharing.

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Bearing witness

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