Sunday, April 05, 2020

Little dreams and big ones

In a post a month ago, the one called Now Look What I’ve Done, I wrote about submitting to calls for entry from The Harwood Museum of Art here in Taos and from The Albuquerque Museum. The Harwood’s call is for Contemporary Art/Taos 2020 and the Albuquerque show is called Art Thrive, formerly Miniatures and More.

I had modest expectations for getting into either show. Maybe Less than modest.

So, imagine my amazement when I received a congratulatory email last Monday morning saying that from 330 submissions, I was one of 30 artists who made the short list for the show.

The good news was followed by a request to sign up to host a virtual studio tour. This in lieu of a face to face right here at Casa Immel. I learned the tours would be held during most of April with the final decision being rendered on April 24. Tour slots would be on a first served for tour slots. And being the aggressive lad that I am, I opted for the first available tour date. That meant I got the very first slot Wednesday at 1:00pm. Somebody has to be first. And they might change their mind.

The show and tell was to be performed via Zoom, a virtual meeting platform that has erupted on the social distancing scene and that has received a torrent of press lately, almost none of it good. Privacy breaches have been abundant. The FBI is on the case.

Reservations notwithstanding I found myself sharing the screen with the new Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Harwood, Nicole Ashley Dial-Kay. I was a twitchy old man till Nicole told me how well received my photographs had been. Her encourgement and warmth quickly put me at ease and we were off the races.

First, we talked about the photographs I’d submitted. I spoke of my intent to offer work that was distinctly Contemporary. I suggested that the images were about shapes and the relationships between them. I said I was seeking simplicity. I had submitted them with a rounded white border to enhance the contemporary presentation. She asked why I had added the border and I responded, and I quote, “I thought it looked cool.” That’s not the apogee of artspeak but that was the reasoning. The question about the border could suggest that she thinks that the embellishment was superfluous. Hey, I’m not married to the border. It was part of the pitch.

ased on the call my understanding was that artists were to submit three works, one of which would be hung if accepted. Instead Nicole said that the overarching goal was to mount the strongest possible show and that she believed an exhibition with several works from fewer artists would accomplish that objective better than one piece per artist. In my follow-up email I agreed that strategy made sense even if it reduced my odds of getting in. And I added, I had submitted the images that I did because “I thought they hung together as a grouping.” More than one piece works very nicely.

As we wound down, Nicole asked if I had a specific project that would benefit from the collaboration and support of the museum. Open that door and I'm coming in. In a nanosecond, I had a print of Cuba and his Mauser España 1893 in front of the screen followed by one of Cuba’s “campo” on the Taos Plateau in late January. She proclaimed that they were “beautiful” and that led to a discussion of The Last Shepherd and its potential for a full-blown exhibition. We agreed it's a story that should be told. That it's the story of rural Hispanic life in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, a life of the Land, Water, Family and Faith. There’s nothing I want more than to tell that that story.

Nicole, being local outreach oriented, asked if I thought Cuba would attend the show. I said that he's a rustic soul who speaks no English but that I knew that the Abeytas of Mogote, Colorado who own the sheep that Cuba herds would want to be part of it. I said I hoped they would that they would bring the 80 year old herder to the opening. He should be there.

In my thank you email I warned Nicole that she’d need a bigger museum because Andrew Abeyta, the patron of the outfit has five children and fifteen grandchildren. And that’s only one of Abeyta families.

Then I promised her that she’d be receiving a full blown proposal for a The Last Shepherd exhibition at the Harwood. I began writing it yesterday.

Stay tuned.


Blacks Crossing said...

How one thing leads to another, Steve, and how absolutely fabulous you will having a huge exhibit for the Last Shepherd at the Harwood, virtual or not! Congratulations. I am only saddened that we do not have wifi nor the band with to Zoom and be there for your virtual studio tour, to give you our kudos. It sounds terrific! 2020 with all of its kinks, sending almost everyone into limbo, looks like it is shaping up to be a good year for you, Steve. Great news! Our best to you and Peggy. Keep safe.

Steve Immel said...

Not so fast. I don't want to jinx it. The door is ajar for me to make a proposal. That's all it is. Nicole Ashley Dial-Kay was taken by the images and story of The Last Shepherd, nothing more than that. I will use her interest as the basis for making a full blown proposal. Even being art of the upcoming Contemporary Taos/2020 show is not guaranteed. I've made the cut from 330 to 30 artists under consideration, period. I'm delighted that's the case but won't know I'm in till 4/24.

The virtual tour was done Wednesday and is not available to be seen as far as I know. And 40 minutes of one on one conversation would put an insomniac to sleep.

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