‘Little jewels’ to shed memories

     (PNAN-NM) – Set to open Sunday, January 30 at the New Mexico History Museum and the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, “A Passionate Light: Polaroids by H. Joe Waldrum” spreads the spotlight of 1,202 images (4 ½ x 3 ¼”) between the two ‘historical fortresses’ through April 10.

     Waldrum called his SX-70 monoprints his “little jewels” which are part of a collection of almost 8,000 images recently donated to the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives. For the exhibition, Curator Mary Anne Redding selected photographs from Waldrum’s studies of northern New Mexico churches to the delicate transiency of flowers: 264 to be shown at NMHM and 938, AMAH. Some of the monoprints are more than 40 years old and in near-mint condition with true colors.

Larry Frank home

     From 1971 to his passing in 2003 in Truth or Consequences, Waldrum resided and created art in New Mexico, and during this time span, his Polaroid camera recorded the ‘natural’ to those staged by this painter-print-maker, an artist that regarded the images an integral body of art, including a visual documentary of his own paintings.

     When he was challenged for their artistic merit by a gallery director, “Joe, anyone can point a Polaroid camera and push a button,” Waldrum quipped, “I will agree with him, if he will agree with me that anyone with a scalpel can cut out your appendix.” Oddly, imaging specialist, Nicholas Chiarella of the Photo Archives, who converted the images into digital form said they do “…function dually as historic documents and artistic objects.”

     Beyond his adobe churches, subject matter for his artwork, Waldrum also dedicated himself to their conservation. He made videos, gave lectures, established El Valle Foundation to raise restoration funds, hosted exhibitions and spoke often about  the importance of the churches not only as spiritual centers, but also as a means for maintaining the indigenous history and culture of Spanish New Mexico.

     In conjunction, both museums have scheduled lectures and other venues throughout the exhibition. On Friday, January 28 at 5:00 pm, a Members-only preview at the Albuquerque Museum; Sunday, January 30, 1:00 pm, “Passionate Enterprises: Archives, Photography & Collecting,” lecture by Curator Mary Anne Redding. Bring, scan and share your personal Polaroids on the instant online archive and at 3:00 pm: “Polaroid Minutes,” performance by Ecotone Physical Theatre.

Canoncita at Apache Canyon

     On Sunday, February 13, 1:00 pm: “Ansel Adams and Polaroid,” a lecture by Alan Ross, photographer and assistant to Adams. Sunday, February, 27, 1:00 pm: “How Polaroid Shaped Fine Art Photography,” a panel discussion by photographers Tom Barrow, Joyce Neimanas, Chris Enos and Sigfried Halus.

     On Saturday, March 12, 1:00-4:00 pm: “Family Day: Picture It!” Learn how photographers see and create through engaging activities, including family scavenger hunts and art projects.

     At the New Mexico History Museum, on Friday, March 18 at 6:00 pm: “Insisting on the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land,” lecture by noted science writer, Dr. Victor McElheny. This lecture will also take place on Sunday, March 20, 1:00 pm at the Albuquerque Museum.

     Saturday, April 9, 8:30 am-7:30 pm: Churches of Northern New Mexico, bus tour led by Albuquerque Museum Director Cathy Wright and Curator Andrew Connors. After viewing the exhibit, lunch at Rancho de Chimayó and then visits to some of the churches Waldrum photographed and painted. Reservations and Tickets required.

     For more information, call Kate Nelson 505.476.1141 or see www.nmhistorymuseum.org.

Published by on January 2011. Filed under AAMG Cover Section, Archives, Art-to-Art Marketplace Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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