A Grand Dame of the Printing Arts

June 23rd, 2017 by Kate Nelson

Joining our friends group, the Palace Guard, carries perks. Among them: a series of field trips, including a September visit to an unknown gem of Santa Fe.

300-JackLemonJack Lemon (at left) founded Landfall Press in Chicago in 1970. Eleven years ago, he moved the operation here, carrying a legacy of working with international artists and fine stone lithography.

To better understand the role that lithographic images played in forming people’s opinions of the Civil War, Palace Press Director Tom Leech arranged a special tour and a demonstration on Landfall’s mammoth Marinoni Voirin press. (See a cool video here.)

With Meredith Davidson and Daniel Kosharek, Leech co-curated our exhibit, Fading Memories: Echoes of the Civil War. His portion explores how mass distribution of lithographic images shaped the opinions of a largely illiterate public. Pointing to Landfall’s precious stone bearing an image of Frederick Douglass, Leech noted that it was made by Louis Kurz of the Kurz and Allison publishing team.

“In our exhibit, The Fort Pillow Massacre is one outstanding example of their work,” he said. “These prints were sold to survivors and families as memorial pieces that glorified the war. Somewhere along the line, Kurz’s conscience got to him, and he included black soldiers in a way that was very honorable.”

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Seeing the Palace Through a Pinhole

June 23rd, 2017 by Kate Nelson

PalacePinhole (2)

During the 2012 Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, Heather Oelklaus, a photographer and print workshop supervisor at Colorado College, was talking with some friends about the wonders of capturing the world the old-fashioned way. One of them asked her about the largest pinhole camera she’d ever used. At that point, it was an aluminum trash can that required two pieces of 16×20” photo paper for film. But the question made her want to go even bigger.

“I proclaimed that by next year’s pinhole day, I would be shooting with a truck,” she said.

LittleMissSunshineIt took some scouting around before she found a 14-foot 1977 Chevy box truck with an uncanny resemblance to a yellow Kodak film box. She tackled drilling, painting, designing and light-tighting it while her imagination reeled out possible photo opps. In 2013, the newly designed pinhole truck, dubbed Little Miss Sunshine, took to the open road, shooting enough images to stage a show this year at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, Colo.

By then, Oelklaus (learn more about her by clicking here) had fallen in love with our exhibit, Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography. “When I saw it the first time, I wept,” she said. “It sounds melodramatic, but to know there were people and a museum that understood what I loved about pinhole photography overwhelmed me.”

Photo Curator Daniel Kosharek and Palace Press Curator Tom Leech found out about her big truck and hatched a plot to shoot our beloved Palace of the Governors.

IMG_4876-300This fall, Oelklaus arrived on a beautiful morning and recruited nine people to place 84 pieces of black-and-white darkroom paper on the truck’s walls, using tiny magnets. The Palace was exposed for 60 minutes, then the sheets were taken into a darkroom to develop.

“As the prints were coming out of the darkroom, many of the participants enjoyed putting the large-scale puzzle together so we could see the fruit of our labor,” she said.

We’re now looking for the perfect place to display the 5×20’ image, a grand celebration of pinhole artistry.

“The outside world squeezing through this tiny aperture and being projected on the inside of my camera truck inspires me,” Oelklaus said. “Recording the world differently and over long periods of time is a main theme for my recent work.”

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Money, money, money

June 23rd, 2017 by Kate Nelson

Stucco2_10-15Do you ever wonder how the History Museum pays for all the wonderful exhibits we have? Or its knowledgeable staff? Or that fabulous lecture? The answer is … well, it’s complicated.

Under this year’s budget, the state of New Mexico provided about $2.8 million for operating costs, including salaries, utilities, and supplies. Last year’s Legislature provided an additional $680,000 for capital improvements, which includes the ongoing Palace renovation. (That’s museum Director Andrew Wulf on the right, talking with Elmo Griego of Longhorn Construction, which is overseeing the Palace stucco project.)

The Museum of New Mexico Foundation will raise another $550,000 or so this year for exhibits and programs—although that sum is a moving target, given two new major exhibits opening in May. The museum also enjoys generous support from Los Compadres, who members have repeatedly stepped up to raise money for all manner of special projects. Foundation and museum staff also collaborates to apply for grants that produce even more money, usually for public programs like lectures and symposia.

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