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Libby Lumpkin Picks Urbane and Quirky Art for New Mexorado

From the Harwood Museum Website:

Libby Lumpkin, art historian, curator, and professor of contemporary art history and art theory at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, served as the primary juror. “Although most of the submissions were relatively traditional in terms of media, the intentions and sensibilities of the artists ranged widely, from sophisticated and urbane to really ‘out there’ quirky,” Ms. Lumpkin said. “Some of the quirkiest were just too good to pass up. So, the exhibition will be a kind of broad-based showcase.”   Juror Lumpkin adds, “There you are a REAL art museum out in the wilderness where anything can happen. Even though the population is relatively small, there’s very little social cohesion. Taos is not like some small Renaissance town in Italy where everyone goes to the same cathedral and eats the same spaghetti. It’s more of a ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ sort of place, where maybe the only thing that connects one resident to another is that they saw a light and were drawn there. This kind of juried exhibition provides the opportunity to better know some of your scattered neighbors—to learn more about all those loners, hippies, socialites, cowpokes, scientists, and retired generals living at the end of some dirt road, some of whom are developing as artists, and a couple of whom might actually be waiting for that space ship. Think of the Harwood as the big rock butte that draws all those disparate types of people to one spot. There’s no resisting it!”

Actually, it was worth resisting. I waited until the last moment to see this exhibit. I wanted to love it. I had high expectations. I believe strongly in the idea of a creative corridor between Denver and Albuquerque–a cultural connection. I just don’t see it as alien or extra-terrestrial. The show had too much work, and too many pieces by the same artists. One or two of Ed Forde’s large canvases told the story, we didn’t need to see four of them. One sculpture by Wesley Pulkka would have made a statement, the same with Jeremy McDonnell’s cast paper work. And I know there are more artists from Colorado worthy of being in a museum exhibition other than the included choices: Pard Morrison, Kate Petley, Jean Gumpper, Margaret Kasahara, Jeff Brown, Adam Holloway, Vince Jerez Sherry, George Beggs, and Marina Eckler.

Juror Lumpkin said it herself. The show was “all over the place!” And not in a good way.

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