Today we came back from my opening in Taos early enough to attend an
opening of a new juried contemporary art exhibition
at the Albuquerque Museum. I was totally impressed. About 30 of the
artists were there near their art to answer questions
about their work. What a great experience. I spent over two hours
picking the brains of about a dozen very cutting edge
creative people. Tomorrow begins our Docent training on this exhibit.
Our museum continues to impress me more every
new exhibit. Below is an article from this mornings paper giving some
background on the exhibit. It runs through Jan. 7th,
2007 so if you are in the area please do not miss it.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Albuquerque Museum 'Biennial Southwest' Picks Up Pieces of Other Shows
By David Steinberg
Journal Staff Writer
Today marks what the Albuquerque Museum hopes will be a landmark
date: The opening of its first biennial juried exhibit of
As the title "Biennial Southwest" suggests, it is a regional
show with 103 works by artists from New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.
The works were culled from more than 1,000 submitted by 552
artists; each artist could submit two works.
Douglas Fairfield, the museum's curator of art, said his
motivation for the museum presenting a juried regional exhibit is
One is the demise of Magnífico, the Albuquerque-based arts
organization that had presented an annual juried exhibit of works by
artists in greater Albuquerque for more than a dozen years.
That show started out by including arts and crafts, and later
limited the work accepted to contemporary art, many by college
The other motivation for Fairfield was the fact that the Museum
of Fine Arts in Santa Fe no longer does a regional juried show of
contemporary art every two years.
As a result, "I felt that the Albuquerque Museum really needed
to serve as the premier venue for a new juried competition,"
(SITE Santa Fe, meanwhile, is currently exhibiting its curator-
judged biennial show of cutting-edge international contemporary art.)
The prospectus for "Biennial Southwest," Fairfield noted, stated
that the show would be open to a broad range of art, including
painting, sculpture, work on paper, photography, furniture, fabric,
film and conceptual art.
Artists juried in competed for $8,500 in cash awards.
One artist whose work is in the exhibit is Santa Fe's Abraham
Gelbart. His work, "PCM-BB Nightwalk," is an oil on canvas that has
abstract figures. Gelbart said his other professional job doing
architectural renderings has influenced his paintings and sculpture.
He has said that his career has always been a balance between
architecture and fine art.
"I'm flattered to be in this. It's always nice to be juried into
a show of this caliber, especially with the juror being the director
of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art," Gelbart said.
"Biennial Southwest's" single juror was Neal Benezra, who
previously had worked as deputy director and curator of Modern and
Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Another artist whose work was juried into the show is 80-year-
old Terence I. Baggett, who lives in the Carnuel area of Tijeras
Canyon. Baggett's work in the biennial is a porcelain sculpture
titled "Rhythm in Motion."
"It's kinetic. The piece rotates 360 degrees every minute. I've
got a fluorescent light coming up and shining through the bottom of
the sculpture casting shadows on the inside," he explained.
"It's a constant motion of shadow and light."
In 1989 Baggett retired from Sandia National Laboratories, where
he worked as an artist doing color renderings and designing exhibits.
Tea Schiano's "The Shroud of September 11," a mixed-media photo
montage on a wood structure, was juried into the exhibit.
Schiano said the work depicting hands not only serves as a
memorial to 9/11 victims, but it is also is intended as a remembrance
of others such as the Albuquerque firefighters who helped victims as
well as others, such as those at a local senior center and a
"As an artist, this is what I can contribute towards
transforming the images of horror and helplessness, without
forgetting or denying them, into reflection upon the flower that
grows from the dung heap, the humanness of our compassion," Schiano
said in her artist's statement.
A Los Lunas resident, Schiano said the biennial is special for
her because it's her first major museum show.
Gaylen Stewart of Phoenix said his piece in the show, "Other
Tongues," is part of a group of work that reveals his interest in
"natural forms that show inherent design."
The piece is acrylic with mushrooms, plaster teeth, gum prints
and fabric. Stewart's interest in those forms grew out of his
miraculous recovery from a bout of cancer of the lymph nodes 15 years
"I had 46 lymph nodes removed. The cancer disappeared between
two surgeries. I attribute it to the power of prayer and the healing
power of Jesus," he said.
"At that point I became much more interested in the world of
cells and cellular structures and design and order. Just why things
deteriorate, what holds things together."
He has since been exploring those issues through his art.
Cathy Wright, director of the Albuquerque Museum, said it's
timely for the museum to be doing an exhibit like this.
"I particularly like the fact that it involves states in the
Southwest in addition to New Mexico because it kind of pulls the
region together and gives people an idea of what's happening in the
region," Wright said.
Some artists in the exhibit will give short presentations about
their artwork between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. today in the gallery.
In addition, the museum plans to have a meet-the-artist series
during the run of the exhibit. Details will be announced soon.
Woody, Retired in Albuquerque