Harwood Museum of Art
Taos, NM
"Taos at a Glance"©
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Harwood Museum of Art
238 Ledoux Street,
Taos, New Mexico 87571
ph 575.758.9826 | fx 575.758.1475


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In a Different Light: Larry Bell at the Harwood Museum of Art

Rafa Tarín: FOR NOW

Tom Rogers: New Painting

Peter Sarkisian: Mind Under Matter


In a Different Light: Larry Bell at the Harwood Museum of Art
June 9–October 7, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—May 14, 2018 (Taos, NM): They came for the light. Since 1898 when painters Bert Phillips and Ernest Blumenschein traversed through Taos, broke a wagon wheel and decided to stay, eventually founding the Taos Society of Artists, artists have been attracted to Taos for the clear, sparkling, golden light and extraordinary sense of space. After the painters came the photographers such as Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, and Laura Gilpin; after them, the filmmakers, perhaps most famously Dennis Hopper to produce his 1969 classic, Easy Rider, which would inspire a generation to follow their own visions for themselves instead of societal expectations—and maybe even move to Taos, which Hopper himself did in the early 1970s.

Along the way, Larry Bell came, too. He and Hopper were friends, and Hopper had included him in an exhibit in his Taos gallery. In the 1960s, art critics classified Bell a Perceptualist and a Minimalist, labels that he accepts but never truly sought. Today, the 78-year-old artist is best known for his three-dimensional glass structures.

“What interests me in the process is the very ironic and improbable reality that is the unexpected,” the famously fedora wearing, cigar-smoking artist told Vanity Fair in April 2018. (Portrait of an Artist: Larry Bell, by Maryam Eisler). “Spontaneity and improbability are the kinds of things that turn me on. The three most important tools in an artist’s studio,” he emphasizes, “are improvisation, spontaneity, and intuition.”

In his Taos studio, using a 8-foot x 15-foot vacuum chamber known as “The Tank,” Bell positions glass plates inside, seals the door, then vaporizes aluminum and silicate ingots (the materials are small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand) while he watches the action through a round porthole in the side of the tank, adjusting the controls all the while. Inside the Tank, the mist of vaporized materials then settles on the surface of the glass. Later, Bell will assemble the plates into boxes and other sculptures. The colors shimmer, they iridesce, they change based on where the viewer is standing. They reflect the light that is and transform it into something else. So even if you’ve already seen Bell’s work at the Chinati Foundation, or the Guggenheim, or the Pompidou—you will see it in Taos as you never have before. Literally, in a different light.

Curated by longtime friend, studio mate, and panoramic photographer Gus Foster, the new exhibit Larry Bell: Hocus, Focus and 12 will fill four galleries in the Harwood Museum of Art a rambling adobe structure on narrow, meandering Ledoux Street. On display in the Mandelman–Ribak Gallery will be Bell’s major standing-wall installation, Gus’s Berg (1975), and a 2017 work created as part of his Venice Fog series.

The exhibit will showcase Bell’s two-dimensional works on paper including Vapor Drawings, Mirage Works, and Fractions—all created in The Tank and with a vacuum press. Additionally, Bell’s Mylar Light Knot mobiles will be on view.

The cumulative effect will be glass sculptures rising from the floor, reflective paintings hanging on the walls, and undulating silver and iridescent mobiles dangling from the ceiling—a wonderland of light on surface.

Upstairs in the Harwood’s Joyce and Sherman Scott Gallery, Larry Bell aficionados will get to see another side of the artist. Bell is passionate about the 12-string guitar and has amassed a collection of more than 80 instruments. This portion of the exhibit will showcase 12 of his favorite guitars alongside two-dimensional works known as Church Studies (because they were created in his Venice, California studio, a re-purposed church) whose curvy forms take inspiration from the shapes of the guitars.

Bell exhibits extensively in museums and galleries internationally and in the U.S. and has been awarded numerous public art commissions. He was born in Chicago in 1939 and grew up in the San Fernando Valley of California. He briefly attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles where he met other students and teachers who would become lifelong friends and fellow artists. He moved to Taos, New Mexico in 1973 and currently maintains studios in both Taos and Venice, California.

Rafa Tarín: FOR NOW
June 9 - Sunday, October 7, 2018
Gallery: Hispanic Traditions Gallery

This summer, The Harwood Museum of Art presents the works of Peñasco-based artist Rafa Tarín and a collection of paintings titled “FOR NOW.” This powerful series of works adds to the traditional Hispanic Traditions Gallery on the second floor contemporary works bringing the conversation of current issues facing Northern New Mexico to the Harwood Museum.

Tarín explains, “These are urgent times, not more concerning perhaps than at other times in contemporary (so-called) U.S. history. U.S capitalism and its corporatocratic minions have always been at war with those that it deems anti-thetical to its project of global domination – indigenous, black, brown, woman and girls, youth, immigrant, the economically struggling, queer, trans, people with disabilities, people with chronic illnesses, the neurodiverse, the incarcerated, people working for justice…” These selected paintings represent curated images within a larger body of work that reflects Tarin’s shapeshifting positionality as a gender non-conforming, queer, xicanx, parent, artist, intersectional feminist and transformative arts educator.

As a writer, educator and artist, Tarín’s process starts out as words: poems, articles, stories, stats, and meditations. For Tarín, as language fades into the background, images emerge that form a visual lengua, culturally coded, amplifying an aesthetic rooted in xicanx culture and cosmology. These mixed media images created over the several years illustrate Tarín’s musings on intimate relationships, healing, self-love, gender indoctrination, motherhood, xicanx feminism, war, occupation and femicide. They are meant to promote visibility, stimulate awareness, and spark action.

The works require attention. Within each composition, a narrative is composed, expressing a delicate balance of beauty, frustration, anger, and hope. For generations, our community has used art as an expression of world-views, a way of translating the world around them. Tarín continues this tradition, speaking out for those that may be voiceless, expressing that which brings them hope, while grappling with issues that bring suffering.

Tarín is a northeast Los Angeles born self-taught artist with deep New Mexican roots. They are a transformative arts educator working with northern New Mexico youth in the disciplines of visual art, puppetry, stiltwalking and devised physical theatre for the past 15 years.

A reception is scheduled for June 9th at 3-5 pm running concurrent with the Summer Exhibition launch of Larry Bell’s “Hocus, Focus and 12”, and Peter Sarkisian’s “Mind Under Matter.” This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Harwood Museum of Art at 575.758.9826 x 109 or go to harwoodmuseum.org.

Peter Sarkisian: Mind Under Matter
June 9 - Sunday, July 22, 2018
Gallery: Mandelman-Ribak Gallery

Named a Master Video Artist in 2007 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Peter Sarkisian is a new-media artist whose brilliant fusion of video projection and sculpture yields multi-media projects combining rare qualities in cutting-edge contemporary video: fluent postmodern allegory, virtuoso command of the medium, and lean, compelling humanism. Sarkisian’s digital tableaux can be read as real-time riffs on modern life. Sarkisian’s allegory often features a modern-day Everyman familiar from medieval English morality plays, reprised here as the universal yet ordinary human being placed in extraordinary circumstances, mired in trivia or imperiled by some moral dilemma.

Tom Rogers: New Paintings
June 1 - June 30, 2018
Gallery: Studio 238

The Harwood Museum of art is launching the summer art season with a series of openings in June. The first of which is a Studio 238 exhibition for Tom Rogers, titled “New Paintings.” The concept that inspires his recent paintings is modest but sensuous: rhythmic combinations of saturated color and an array of shapes and patterns. For Rogers, the act of painting means playing in space, exploring and experimenting in pursuit of visual intrigue and amusement. His method makes use of the juxtaposition of vibrational colors, quizzical and illusory optical effects, and ambiguous foreground/background relationships.

His artist statement reads, “Making my art is a joyous, fulfilling endeavor. Each piece has its own animated background story. Creating new shapes, patterns and color relationships that are the foundation for each piece is an intellectual and mechanical process. The image then starts to get its soul when I draw the linear design by hand. I often will scan a small sketch into a computer to develop and elaborate on the design, to play with scale and to evaluate color ideas. I am enthusiastic about mixing traditional painting techniques and new electronic technology. I carefully consider surface texture, edges, and, at times, I consciously reveal the drawing beneath the paint. I like to work with oil paint alone, without other mixtures or media. Applying the pure fluid pigment is one of the most pleasurable aspects of my work. It is wonderfully meditative and transcendent.” For Rogers, art functions in part to inspire feelings, memories and response. He presents his paintings in order to provide that inspiration, amuse viewers, and to counterbalance the weightier considerations that seem ubiquitous in these times.

Rogers is a native of New Jersey, having lived and worked in Taos, New Mexico, since 1989. He studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn; Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey; and, Florida International University in Miami. His work has been exhibited widely in Taos, and has been shown as well in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, the New York City area, Atlanta and Miami.

Studio 238 is a pop-up gallery exhibition at the Harwood Museum of Art offering contemporary local artists an opportunity to show their work. These rotating one-month exhibitions provide a space for new series of works, experimental or traditional, to both established and emerging local artists.

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