House of CONSPIRACY!
Third Albuquerque Toynbee Tile Found
It was a Wednesday afternoon like any other. Business took my comrade and I to the intersection of 4th and Gold streets in downtown Albuquerque. Parking on the north side of Gold, across from the historic Simms Building, I ran across the street to deliver Alibis to a certain donut shop that operates out of the fifties-vintage steel/glass enclosure currently best known as the DEA offices on "Breaking Bad." On my return dash across the street I was keeping my eyes peeled for found money on the ground when lo and behold my psyche was confronted with the unmistakable color, shape and message of a third Albuquerque Toynbee Tile.
Cleverly deployed for decades onto streets around North America and the world, Toynbee Tiles appear to have arrived in Albuquerque sometime in 2011, the same year the excellent documentary film Resurrect Dead was released. Read the original story here and find out where the second Albuquerque Toynbee Tile is here. The coda to this most recent find reads "TIME'S UP!" and there's a nifty ashtray to the right. Keep looking down.
Frederico Vigil’s Prelude to a Monument
Full-size sketches illuminate fresco master’s process
A fresco isn’t like a painting. You can’t just pencil out a few shapes, squeeze some acrylic out of a tube and get going. You certainly don’t freehand it. Creating a masterpiece like Frederico Vigil’s 4000-square-foot fresco in the Torreón at the National Hispanic Cultural Center requires undertaking a complex series of well-timed steps. How complex? Your guess is as good as mine, but tomorrow, Aug. 31, you can learn about the fresco process from an acknowledged master of the medium and view seven of his full-size fresco cartoons at the closing reception for “Cartones del Torreón: Full Scale Drawings for the Torreón at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.”
Along the concave wall of the Torreón, Vigil’s monumental work depicts 3 millennia of Hispanic history in buon fresco, or “true” fresco, in which pigments are suspended in water and applied directly onto wet lime plaster. A skilled artist must work quickly and precisely; the color becomes one with the plaster as it dries, making buon fresco an especially vivid and durable medium. (Rome, you know, still has some nice ones from the 13th century.) As tools for planning and composition, cartoons are a vital stage of the fresco process. In addition, they act as stencils so the artist’s lines can be transferred accurately to the freshly laid plaster.
These seven cartoons by Vigil for the Torreón fresco, unseen by the public before this exhibition, are startling artworks in their own right. Make tracks to the North Valley for your last chance to see them at Nahalat Shalom Art Gallery (3606 Rio Grande NW) from 5 to 7pm.
Old Man Gloom’s New Clothes: Santa Fe artist debuts Zozobra-themed group exhibition
Every child who attended a Santa Fe elementary school made some picture or papier-mâché version of the infamous Zozobra during their academic career. And then, if they were anything like me and my friends, they proceeded to burn at least one of these homemade depictions.
Zozobra, an often-misunderstood tradition, is as much a part of our culture as are green chile roasting and farolitos during Christmastime. For unfamiliar Burqueños or visitors to the state, Zozobra is a 50-foot-tall puppet, deemed “Old Man Gloom,” into which we cast all our troubles every autumn and watch them burn away.
However, as much as Santa Feans appreciate the tradition, very few dream of the day when Zozobra would become a thread in their lives' work. Santa Fe artist Robb Rael is an exception.
Rael organized a group show featuring satirical depictions of Zozobra. The exhibit’s opening reception happens on Sept. 6 from 5 to 8pm, and the show will run through Sept. 15. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Rael's paintings will be shown alongside the work of at least 10 other artists at his business, Get Framed Inc.
Rael’s work has long included this cultural icon. In fact, one of his designs was chosen as the official Zozobra poster in 2009. In general, his paintings tend to contain various New Mexican cultural elements and icons coupled with use of psychedelic colors and patterns. Staring at his bright, fun displays, viewers are challenged to reflect on the meanings behind them.
Though Rael has worked cooperatively with the Kiwanas Club, which hosts the burning of Zozobra, this show is independent of the annual event. While Kiwanas does display depictions of Old Man Gloom, the organization takes care to ensure that he’s not presented in religious or political contexts that may be deemed offensive. On the other hand, Rael sometimes creates to shock people, as he told the Journal.
The show, titled GLÜM – Madder Than the Old Man, will be full of color, culture and wit. Check it out at Get Framed, in the Design Center (418 Cerrillos, Suite 3, Santa Fe).
Come Over, Karl: Andrew Wyeth’s painting to be housed at Albuquerque Museum
In our Instagram world, it is rare to come across a piece of art which clearly and deliberately took many painstaking hours to create, but Albuquerque is privileged to exhibit such a work for the next five years. Andrew Wyeth's “Karl,” an egg tempura painting lent by a private curator, is now on display at the Albuquerque Museum (2000 Mountain NW).
Wyeth is one of the most popular US painters of the last century, known for his dark, somber themes and intricately detailed work. “Karl,” the portrait of a German immigrant farmer, follows suit. The painting causes the audience's eyes to focus on every last color and wrinkle in this man's face, while necessarily noting the dramatic meat hooks on the ceiling. The piece moves audiences to an appreciation of its eeriness and depth.
The portrait is displayed between notable work “A Shower in a Dry Year,” by Peter Hurd, Wyeth's brother-in-law, and the work of Wyeth's sister, Henriette Wyeth. This classic representation of American art can be viewed at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History located on 19th Street and Mountain NW in Old Town.
Off The Rails: Wells Park Rail Runner Adds Two Murals
It’s more than a visual documentation, more than graffiti taking on the moniker of a “legitimate” art piece (not that graffiti isn’t legitimate art in itself). It’s a community project that embraces the quirky world of artistic triumph. Put together by 516 ARTS and the Wells Park Neighborhood Association, in appropriate partnership with The City of Albuquerque Public Art & Urban Enhancement Program, these organizations added two new murals to the existing Wells Park Rail Runner Mural Project.
The project started in 2012, with four murals going up (the lead artists were Larry Bob Phillips, David Leigh, Nani Chacon, Nettrice Gaskins and Laurie Marion). Now it’s adding two new murals by Frank Buffalo Hyde and Jamison “Chas” Banks. Drawing on their Native American heritages, both artists sought to show work that not only symbolizes their cultures, but also represents the interconnectedness of artistic appreciation and the shared experience of being able to view these works forever. The newly completed murals are located in the Rail Runner Corridor, north of Downtown Albuquerque, between Mountain Rd. and I-40 along First Street.
Censor Me Silly: “Inappropriate” art showcase at El Chante
These two artists have felt the sting of galleries and town halls turning their work away because it was deemed “inappropriate.” However the point of art is to expose the inappropriate and political. For viewers, it expresses a previously unseen vision of the world.
But instead of faltering under the mighty thumb of “the man,” Jaramillo and Muskrat are exhibiting works new and old to showcase their accomplishments and push the boundaries of what is considered art and who makes that decision. These artists' work is described as “expressions of the human body, daily life, New Mexican women, comadres and rucas assisting their comadre on her journey to Chimayo or a night out at the Saints and Sinners bar to the faces of raza, Chicanos, Matachines and compadres deep in emotion where their eyes speak of life experiences.”
Jaramillo's Los Ojos Hablan exhibition showcases multiple iterations of his contemporary eye, from the use of simplistic brush strokes to 3D panels and “androgynous characters that consume you with their eyes.” And Muskrat's New Mexico Calendar Girls exhibition takes the traditional female form of yesteryear and places them within a contemporary setting to show the authentic beauty and multi-faceted integrity that lies within the natural New Mexican woman.
The opening reception starts at 6 p.m. and ends around 8:30 p.m. So, if you're in the mood to see some artwork that'll make you think, make you question and ultimately make you proud of this beautiful, crazy state we live in, make sure you get there on time. Oh, and there's gonna be “food, music y mas.” Can't beat that. The show runs through August 11.
ArtBar stimulates thirst for arts endeavors
ArtBar, an arm of Catalyst Club Inc., is a members-only performance space and bar created to support local art. They accomplish this by donating their annual net profits to various art-based nonprofits around New Mexico. (See previous Alibi coverage here.) It’s a unique idea that came to fruition last week when ArtBar opened its doors on July 11 to its founding members.
The venue was spacious, accentuated by high ceilings and sizeable windows that skirted much of the building. A large chandelier hung near the stage, refracting light onto excited art lovers, sponsors, organizers and artistes alike. The alluring aroma of Lobster Mac n Cheese drifted from a small kitchen operated by The Supper Truck. Large black comfy couches provided space to sip Bulleit Bourbon and people watch: skinny jeans-wearing hipsters, artsy girls in bright summer dresses, suited professionals and sandal-wearing vacation types. A well-stocked bar, despite its small beer selection, quenched the thirst of members as they danced to Carlos the Tall, a local cover band.
Though the opening night party went off without a hitch, ArtBar is still finding its footing in terms of target audience. The decor felt a little sterile, aside from a cool red light along the bar and a few paintings. It was suggested to me that the lack of original music and art on display represented a missed opportunity to get the local art community involved. Striking a balance between a youthful, beer-drinking, artistic crowd and an older and likely wealthier one will be essential to ArtBar’s survival. Hopefully, further artist involvement will become an integral part of this balance as they continue to grow.
With membership at $30 per year, ArtBar is an easy way to give back to the art community. A membership can be purchased at the door or from their website. I mean really, where else can you practice philanthropy by simply drinking a delicious beverage?
ArtBar by Catalyst Club
119 Gold SW
254-8393 - catalystclubnm.org
Hours: 4 p.m.to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m.to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Membership: $30 per year. Includes personal guests for members.
Art Against the Brutal Tide
Local activist brings a million bones to Washington
On August 27, 2011, a preview installation of 50,000 bones was placed at the intersection of Fourth and Central by Albuquerque volunteers. Now, after three years of planning, education and hard work, the complete exhibit will unfold June 8 through 10 in our nation's capital. Each one of the million artwork bones, handmade by students, artists and activists from around the world, "represents a call to action, a story, a voice."
The project, which was born in Albuquerque, is headed by Naomi Natale. Speakers and performers, including Albuquerque's Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy, will be present, and a candlelight vigil will take place Sunday evening.
A second Albuquerque Toynbee Tile
My good friend Pierre LaFarge rides his Mexican-Italian bicycle through the intersection of Copper and 2nd Street just about everyday, so when he says this Toynbee Tile was not there last week, I am inclined to agree. The message reads:
HOUSE OF HADES
ONE MAN VERSUS
IN SOCIETY '2011
The tag below the tile may indicate that this tile was laid down a couple years after being made (i.e. in 2011):
well its getting kind of late
cut [sic] its been fun!!!
The tile is in the northbound lane of 2nd Street just north of Copper:
If you haven't seen "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles," drop what you're doing and watch it -but first, be sure to reread this post about Albuquerque's other Toynbee Tile located at the intersection of Tijeras and 3rd Street.
Someone painted the trees blue
I really wanted an iced coffee earlier and walked over to the Hyatt to get one. On my way there I noticed the trees were electric blue. My first thought was "won't they die?" Nope. Not unless they're "sensitive" according to this person. Turns out the blue trees are an art project Alibi staff writer Mark Lopez wrote about a couple weeks ago.
It doesn't matter if the paint kills them, they're probably going to be removed anyway. If that makes you sad, this update about a downtown grocery store might cheer you up. I hope the paint is water based so it runs onto the sidewalks and turns the whole Fourth Street Mall electric blue.