Gene Kloss with David Witt
Art historian David Witt shares how one of America’s greatest printmakers Gene Kloss told stories through Etching and Brush.
Frederick Hammersley Foundation...
New Mexico PBS Great Southwestern Arts & Education
Endowment Fund at the Albuquerque Community Foundation
...and Viewers Like You.
THIS TIME, ON COLORES!
ART HISTORIAN DAVID WITT SHARES HOW ONE OF
AMERICA'S GREATEST PRINTMAKERS GENE KLOSS
TOLD STORIES THROUGH ETCHING AND BRUSH.
THE NORTON MUSEUM OF ART'S EXHIBIT "WHO?
A BRIEF HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY THROUGH PORTRAITURE."
EXPLORING HER LIFE, STEPHANIE COLE'S
CONSTRUCTIONS TELL A STORY THROUGH MATERIAL CULTURE.
INTERACTIVE INITIATIVE CREATED "TROPI"
AN AUGMENTED REALITY PHONE APPLICATION.
IT'S ALL AHEAD ON COLORES!
TELLING A NORTHERN NEW MEXICO STORY.
(Hum of Traffic)
>>David Witt: Years after Gene came to New Mexico,
she remembered her first time in Taos.
We traveled through old world Santa Fe up to Taos,
climbing the narrow road of the Rio Grande Gorge.
The first sight of the vast Taos plateau left us
breathless and still does.
Two weeks camping in Taos Canyon revealed the
endless subject matter for an artist as
it has to many artists before us.
Artists are storytellers.
Sometimes the story is not a linear one or even a one
with a lot of detail, if it's abstract enough.
Sometimes as in the case of Gene it's very detailed
and very exacting and she may give us at the inner
best work a chance to be in that moment with her.
>>David Witt: I met Gene a few times and I came to
know her because I did a show with her at the Harwood museum.
The last one-person show which she would have during her
And I think the thing that really came across about her was
that she was just one of the most lovely people I ever met.
I got to observe her a little bit with her and
her husband Phillips he was not in particularly
good shape by the time I met them but she was just
so kind and gentle with him in his extreme old age.
Gene seemed to have a certain humility about herself.
You probably wouldn't have guessed that she was as
popular as she was, in fact there would have been
no way to know that because she didn't make
any big deal of that at all.
She did her work, she was proud of the work.
Gene did something very interesting.
I'd never seen it before with any artist.
She purposely priced her work under market value.
She wanted to make it accessible to as many people as possible.
>>David Witt: So the role of the artist is
to depict whatever they feel it represents - truth.
Gene depicted the life of the people as she saw it
at the time, centering this in the 1930's.
So pre-World War II, the economy in New Mexico was very
different than it was afterward and in some ways she was
capturing something that had been around for centuries.
What she saw and what she recorded in her own memory
she then has passed down to us something that we
can't know firsthand and yet in looking in detail
at some of these scenes, people in front of the
Saint Francis church in Ranchos or Native American
people in the fields working.
Things that were very contemporary to her.
She was able to convey to us the beauty and honor of
a particular time in New Mexico's history.
>>David Witt: One of the things that happened when
these Anglo artists moved into New Mexico
is that they discovered light.
Here it's the contrast of dark and light, the stark
contrast, which so stands out in Gene's work and
that of many of the other artists from that time.
When I see certain scenes in the mountains, in certain
moments of light, it makes me think of a particular artist
and how that artist depicted light in the same way.
So in some of Gene's work when I see these beams of
light coming through, right away I know that
I've seen that scene before.
Not that exact tree or that person but that
quality of light that she's captured is
something that's familiar to me and familiar to
anybody else who's lived here for very long.
>>David Witt: We see not just nostalgic past
but also certain conditions of light and weather that
are very much still part of our experience of this place.
>>David Witt: Gene is really a master of perspective.
You get a sense of the distance receding away
from you which is very important in her work.
Sometimes it's people receding into light.
Sometimes it's mountains receding into darkness.
But perspective is really a vital part of what she
was up to as an artist.
>>David Witt: Taos, for all the other reasons
that it was an interesting place and still is,
has always been a place where women, who happen to be artists,
got more attention than other places.
Taos was a place where talent was really, artistic talent,
really was appreciated and there were some disputes
between the modernists and the representational artists.
They didn't always recognize each other's
work as as good as it was, so it was that.
But maybe less, but more bias in that way than
there was over gender, so that Gene was recognized
as a significant artist in her own time in Taos.
Oftentimes there's no way to connect to the past or
no real visceral way of connecting to the past
other than through the images that the artists
have be quested to us really and uh Gene is one
of those artists that gives us a connection to
that past in New Mexico that continues to be, it's
very important that we understand it.
Some of it comes from ancient buildings
or the eternal landscape.
Some of it comes from the creative imagination of
artists including Gene, who also had that sense of
history and who knows how to convey it, I believe.
FACES ACROSS TIME.
This is the first gallery at the Norton Museum of
Art that is dedicated to the permanent collection.
As a curator, one of the things I always look to is,
how do my objects relate to the rest of the museum.
You want to have the collections speak to one another.
In this case it speaks across centuries.
I decided that for the first six years I would
follow the great questions of journalism.
So this year there'll be three rotations of "who",
a short history of photography through portraiture.
Each one in n this case, addressing how we look at
them as a contemporary audience with contemporary eyes.
And that's important
We start with the very
beginnings of photography.
We start with daguerreotypes 1839,
and we end with the 21st century.
We really do brush against the major artistic
currents of both America and Europe.
The funny thing about early photography is that
it went through so many incarnations.
The real big deal was to figure out how am I going
to make this negative so that it's as crisp and
clear an image as it was when it was a daguerreotype.
Somebody comes up with the idea that they are going
to use glass plates.
So that once it's set it's clear and you got as in this
portrait of Lincoln by Hessler, you get incredible detail.
You see the wrinkles, you see the moles, you see
everything, how the hair lays, which was something
that prior to this it was difficult to do because
they were using paper negatives We always see
him with a beard.
He's supposed to have a beard.
But here it has pre-beard, which I rather like.
The other thing that's on this wall and the reason I put
these two together, this is an image by Julia Margaret Cameron.
And I have to tell you that Julia Margaret Cameron
was an anomaly in the, in the whole photo world.
And, and I say that because, a) she's a woman
and it was a guy's world.
This is Sir John Herschel.
And Herschel is important not only for being a polymath,
but being incredibly brilliant.
But he's also the one that coins the term photography.
And the reason I put them together, as you can see,
they're so different.
She's really looking at it as an art.
This is really a political statement.
We think they're so simple and yet they're really,
really complex little objects
From the 19th century to the 30's, cameras change.
They get more sophisticated and more than that,
they get smaller.
Photographers can roam the streets and, and nobody
really knows they're taking pictures.
So they're not reacting as if they're having their photograph
In the 19th century there was this, when people had leisure
people would walk around the streets of primarily Paris,
the metropolitan areas.
They were just looking at other people.
They were called the flÃ¢neurs.
Cartier-Bresson was probably the mid century's
most important photographic flÃ¢neur.
He was that that amazing talent that was able to
anticipate when all of the stars would align,
and take the picture just as everything was coalescing
into what he called the decisive moment.
He really is the, the godfather of street photography.
The really great thing about this piece is that
a, it is a joyful piece.
It is postwar.
So here you have, you're in the streets of Paris,
postwar, post occupation.
Cartier-Bresson playing with his camera,
with the depth of field.
So you can see that he's like completely in focus.
He's really vignetted that, that one moment of
pride of place, pride of adulthood for this little kid
Arne Svenson found a collector and the
collector was really amazing insofar as he had
hundreds and hundreds of sock monkeys and yet each
sock monkey had its own personality.
And so Arne goes through and takes these very
formal portraits of sock monkeys.
It would never happen in the 19th century, wouldn't
have happened in the middle of the 20th century.
But by the time you get to the end of the 20th century,
all of these ideas are playing through
and all the photographers are thinking about not
only what kind of pictures do I take,
but what happens when I take them.
And that's a key for the end of the 20th century.
Moving into the 21st.
If you are looking at contemporary art right now,
you'll see, oh my God, everything's really
big and really colorful.
That's the period we're in.
And if we have anyone to blame for that, it is the
German photographers in this case, Thomas Roof,
but also Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky.
It's completely neutralized.
There's no expression, there's no emotion.
It's really about this head as an object, as a
thing that we have unlimited access to
Avedon once said that portraits are just the surface.
You can get nothing more and nothing less.
It's only the surface.
Whereas we are led to believe from the time
we're tiny that through a great photograph you can
see into the person's soul.
Take your pick.
The Germans don't think so.
PAINTING WITH STUFF.
When it comes to the artwork of Stephanie Cole,
here you will find her life...in pieces.
"I found that building things and making things
was what was really I was meant to do."
Within these wooden frames are bits of everything the
artist has been collecting for more than 70 years.
Shards and shells, windows and words -even Cole's DNA
is embedded within these assemblages.
"Are you thinking of the Royal Reliquary Window?
Probably in other places, too.
I think there's some of my hair in the getting there.
Temples to the artist's tenacity, these sculptures
now on view at the Fuller Craft Museum represent how
Cole has looked at herself, her grief and the world.
From the pain of losing a beloved cat
to the euphoria of turning 60.
"The one thing that is more joy than
anything else is my self-portrait.
It was supposed to be a self portrait at age 60.
But there was so many things going on it wasn't done till
// It's called domestic goddess because I was
really happy with everything that I had accomplished."
An artist for as long as she can recall-
and well documented here when she was four,
Cole first learned from her artist father then at
She later became an art teacher, raised a family
and with her husband, restored an antique home
where she's excavated many an artifact now found in her work.
And it's here where she's had the luxury of working
in a filled-to-the-brim studio...
only since she was in her 60s.
You just get deep into it.
And I've had to learn to be able to portion it out
because I'm I still I'm a grandma.
I'm a mom.
I'm a wife.
There are still responsibilities.
That's my first priority.
But I'm able to do it in bits and pieces, and I'll
tell them I'm going out in the studio and they're
pretty good about letting me be.
"To hear about an artist that was only creating for
herself to make sense of the world around her, to
chart her own history, it's really compelling to me."
Elements of the show bring us deep in Cole's life and
We find a radiant rendering of her husband Jim or my golden man
And a frank assessment of her own aging.
The work is so personal...
Cole never intended to sell or even really share it.
Until curators like Beth McLaughlin took notice.
"She has this very deep understanding of objects
and this very intuitive connection to material culture.
And she has a respect for the histories of these
objects and for the embedded stories that come with them."
It was Cole's daughters who urged her
to put the work out in the world.
Art is the family business, by the way.
"I don't want to wait for or lives to be over."
Her daughter Paula Cole is the Grammy-winning singer
and achieve champion.
Seeing her work in a museum leaves Stephanie Cole
both delighted and slightly perplexed.
"How do you go from being private to a museum?
That takes chutzpah, doesn't it?
So it was my daughters' chutzpah, not mine.
(And how do you feel about them being out now?)
I love it.
I love it.
And what I love especially is people's reaction to it.
That's what I love.
Both Cole and McLaughlin say women in particular are drawn
to her work-finding pieces of themselves among hers.
"I see an artist who is juggling the demands of family.
She also has very overtly feminist work, such as
Don't Wake the Tiger, which is a gorgeous mosaic
piece that was created after the 2016 election
that is speaking directly to the oppression of women and
how we do need to rise up and to fight for equality."
"It's mostly women that talk to me about their feelings
They've said things like, I feel brave now.
I think I'm going to do things that I have not
allowed myself to do or they identify with moments,
moments of grief or joy or materials lying around.
because alot of people collect things.
Because we are the sum of our parts.
CREATE YOUR OWN ART EXHIBIT.
We hope that we can give artists like their dream project
because we can defy gravity and we don't necessarily
have to have performers or lights or anything.
It's a person walking up with their phone.
My name is Jen Clay.
I'm a co-founder of Interactive Initiative.
Hi, I'm Samuel Lopez de Victoria.
And I'm the founder of Interactive Initiative.
We started Interactive Initiative because Sam is
a very altruistic person.
He really wants to teach.
And we think about artists who maybe are frustrated
or maybe at a dead end in their practice, or even
like catch-22s where you need to have work already
made to do an open call.
Sometimes that happens with like public art or like video work.
We saw an opportunity in a space...like primarily in
South Florida there wasn't really a facilitator for
artists to be able to make interactive artwork.
And there are so many opportunities to be able
So, we kind of wanted to step in and be kind of a
helping hand for artists to be able to get there.
We also really love video art and we're like you too can be a
Like with digital art, like a big opportunity
there that even like kind of goes beyond the
technology itself is interaction.
If they paint, then that can be a stop motion animation.
And then that can be in a video and then you can
project it on a building and it can also be
included in a, in a video game.
We primarily try to mentor them and show, kind of
show them how to use tools in an intuitive way.
So that it's like more a part of their practice rather than
like this obtuse thing that like they have to learn.
When we were telling artists like what they can
do in the, in the augmented reality space,
you're not limited by the physical world, the rules,
and they can kind of set their own rules.
So something can be grounded or it can be floating.
So right now, Sam's created this AR app called Tropi.
The app is free.
Sam worked with 12 artists for the Hollywood area,
mostly centered around Arts Park.
He's made over a hundred virtual works in the app.
So it's similar to kind of like Pokemon Go where you
interact with the work.
You can collect the work on the app and learn about the artist.
So you can come out here Hollywood and pick up artwork.
And then what you can do with like the artwork that you've
collected so far, you can actually place it around you.
So here, I'm just going to choose like this artist,
Alyssa Alfonzo, who's a local artist.
I can also place, um, a different art piece.
If I wanted to place like these little palm trees
put a little like flamingo over here.
If you're looking at artists and you want to
find out more about that artist, you can choose one
of the artworks and press this button.
And it actually has like a little info card.
When you don't own an artwork, but you want to
like get a specific one you can search for it in
the menu here and then click on it.
It'll show you where you can actually pick up that
or a work and kind of make your own like little
gallery space of like work you've collected and just
kind of be your own curator.
We actually worked with local artists to create their work,
but digitally and most of these artists don't work digitally.
So we have like sculptors, we have,
illustrators, painters, fiber artists, musicians.
We have poets also
we've helped them translate
their work into three-dimensional
interactive piece that is publicly available to
anybody to, to interact with.
We're hoping that we can expand the app from
Hollywood to Miami, Miami beach.
Even like, like Pompano.
Just getting feedback from the local community and
actually hearing what it is that they're looking for.
And then we can create that programming for them
either be remote or, uh, when like doable, like in-person.
TO VIEW THIS AND OTHER COLORES PROGRAMS GO TO:
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What We Do and Local Productions.
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"UNTIL NEXT WEEK, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING."
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation...
New Mexico PBS Great Southwestern Arts & Education
Endowment Fund at the Albuquerque Community Foundation
...and Viewers Like You.
(CLOSED CAPTIONING BY KNME-TV)
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