2018 - Las Vegas: CONVERGENCE
New Mexico Arts, Mainstreet Las Vegas, Casa de Cultura, New Mexico Highlands University and the Las Vegas Arts Council presented TIME 2018—Temporary Installations Made for the Environment in Las Vegas, New Mexico. New Mexican artists from throughout the state were invited to create temporary environmental artworks based on the theme of CONVERGENCE. T.I.M.E 2018 featured seven visually engaging and conceptually rich outdoor artworks displayed for a short term exhibition in Las Vegas; sites included the Gallinas Riverwalk, the Acequia Path, the Arroyo de Manteca, New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas Museum and Carnegie Library. The artworks were displayed from June 30th- August 30th 2018.
TIME was inspired by the emerging public art trend to engage artists interested in creating more spontaneous and immediate artworks with short life-spans. The project is designed to engage unique and distinct New Mexico communities and professional artists in the public art process.
East and West: Come Sit by William Geusz was an interactive installation that allowed participants to engage with the site by sitting and spending time in an outside area that they may not have otherwise. Two couches were sculpted and painted to represent the varying geographic features of Las Vegas. The Western Couch was modeled after Hermit Peak, a prominent mountain nearby with bold cliff faces and pine forests. The Eastern Couch represented the Great Plains, where ranches, farms, and grasslands stretch. The placement of the couches was next to each other brings communities of Las Vegas together.
Abuela árbol by Katherine Glickler and Reiney Brown invited viewers to contemplate questions of an old growth Cottonwood tree on the Eastern bank of the Riverwalk just South of Mills Avenue. The questions asked the tree what she has seen, whose secrets she keeps, whose joys she has shared and whose sorrows, whom she has loved, whom she mourns for and what she wishes she could make us understand. The questions were pierced in metal in Spanish and English and attached to an antique door purchased in Las Vegas that came from Ft. Davis during American Expansionism and was finished by Mary Margaret Mitschke, an artist in Truchas, New Mexico. The door was in front of the tree, allowing visitors to experience a visual passageway to the past and to healing.
Story Experiences of Northern New Mexico was an interactive wooden shed constructed by Rock Ulibarri. The shed represented the responsibility of stacking firewood to prepare for winter in rural Northern New Mexico. The user was prompted by audio of a grandfather figure to stack firewood in the shed. In return, the shed responded by playing audio clips of Las Vegas student interviews. In order to hear all of the interviews, the user had to stack all of the firewood. The goal of this installation was to share the students’ stories through experiences that they live every day.
The New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) Art club created around 2,000 butterflies made from biodegradable paper and approximately 100 larger butterflies were made from thin sheet metal. The butterflies were placed around the university, plaza, NMHU Library and the Carnegie Library, leading community members from one butterfly to another. Butterflies are a dynamic symbol for life, peace, and harmony, and the sculpted and colorful versions were intermingle and interacted with the community. Butterflies act as pollinators in nature and are essential to our ecosystem, though recently the overall butterfly population has seen a decline. The fragility of the species was mirrored by the delicate paper used in the construction of the butterflies, and the fragility inherent to the installation in the outdoor environment converged natural entropy with art.
Tiempo Duro by Diego Romero took visitors through the history of Las Vegas by viewing photograph transfers of historic and contemporary images of Las Vegas on lajas (flagstones) and cement structures in the Gallinas River. The lajas created a path to the Gallinas River where more images were transferred on to the cement structures by the water. Viewers were invited to experience parts of the Gallinas River that may go otherwise unnoticed.
Descanso de la Gente by David Pascale was an installation honoring the people of San Miguel County alive and deceased. Descansos are crosses placed on the side of highways in memory of those lost in highway accidents. Descanso de la Gente was placed on the bridge of the Arroyo de Manteca, one of the oldest bridges in New Mexico and one of the first in Las Vegas. This bridge was a major crossroad in Las Vegas and carries much history. The piece engaged the viewer by silently recalling the memory of the past and looking forward to the future.
Roadrunner by Matthew Luna was a large-scale roadrunner made from recycled materials. As an iconic New Mexico symbol, the roadrunner was also decorated with Zia symbols, recognizing New Mexico’s state bird and state symbol. Luna’s work is focused around recycled materials and allows the used to become beautiful, exemplifying the convergence of used materials and creativity. The Roadrunner sat outside the Las Vegas Museum so travelers on I-25 could spot the sculpture and draw attention to the Las Vegas Museum.