Katherine Slusher outside the “Lee
Miller: Picasso En Privat” exhibition which she curated, in
Lee Miller (USA, 1907—United Kingdom, 1977)
took over a thousand photographs of Picasso during the thirty-six
years of their friendship. The Lee Miller: Picasso in Private”
exhibition shows a selection of more than one hundred of these pictures
and also offers a taste of the production of Lee Miller as documentary
and advertising photographer, as well as war correspondent.
Featured artist of the month: Katherine
From high desert solitude
Artists attuned to the magical, fantastic, revolutionary
aspects of creation—that element of surprise and enchantment—feel
an elemental tug to the European Surrealist movement of the 1930s
and ‘40s. Growing up in the desert tableau of Placitas, wrapped
in the enchantment of her mother’s private world of art, culture,
and high fashion, Katherine Slusher found a natural muse in the
Surrealist Lee Miller. The 1930s-era photographer, artist, and free
spirit who was close to Man Ray and Pablo Picasso has become a natural
forebear to the girl from Placitas herself.
Slusher, an independent curator schooled at Barnard College, University
of New Mexico, and Syracuse University, just wrapped up a three-month
exhibition at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, where she now lives.
“Lee Miller: Picasso in Private,” along with Slusher’s
2007 biography, Lee Miller and Roland Penrose: The Green Memories
of Desire, are helping to revive interest in a woman whose influence
was long overshadowed by her famous contemporaries.
Just like Slusher’s glamorous mother, Elaine—who still
teaches painting in Placitas—Lee Miller began her career as
a high-fashion model on the cover of Vogue. That’s how she
came to meet Man Ray in 1929, who fell instantly and perilously
in love, eventually training her in the art of photography.
Lee Miller’s life had multiple phases, as Slusher writes
in the catalog to the exhibition. From surrealistic photographs
of Paris under the tutelage of Man Ray, to commercial work in New
York, where she opened her own studio in the mid-1930s, to haunting
photos of the desert in Egypt, where she moved with her first husband,
Miller embodies the Surrealist ethos of embracing the irrational,
accidental, and unseen, of peering behind the fabric of the ordered
world to tease out forces of the subconscious.
Miller lived an adventurous life according to her own principles,
embracing her freedom long before it became a cultural norm, Slusher
writes. She socialized with the likes of Andre Breton, Max Ernst,
and Paul Eluard—a mostly male group known for treating their
women “like poodles,” as Jackson Pollock’s girlfriend
Lee Krasner remarked of the European Surrealists—but Miller
“was no poodle,” Slusher writes.
Miller’s best-known work was as a photojournalist for Vogue
in the 1940s, documenting the effects of the war and liberation.
But it is as a confidante and portraitist of Picasso that Slusher
has brought Miller’s work to public attention. Thousands of
photographs taken over thirty-six years testify to the intense triangular
relationship between Miller, Picasso, and the British artist Roland
Penrose, with whom she had a love affair and marriage that spanned
from 1937 until she died in 1977.
It is here that Slusher’s own life meets art, for she “discovered”
her subject initially through a chance encounter with Anthony Penrose,
the son and biographer of Roland Penrose. Having written his parents’
story as players in the Surrealist movement, Anthony encouraged
Katherine to tell the story of his parents’ symbiotic relationship
blooming in the strange creative soil made up of Man Ray, Marx Ernst
and Leonora Carrington, Paul and Nusch Eluard, Picasso and Dora
“What is a mystery in most people’s minds is how an
American girl from Poughkeepsie ended up on the cover of Vogue representing
the quintessential look and style of 1920s New York,” Slusher
writes in the biography, “[and] moved on to take her place
at the center of the Surrealist effervescence in Europe, then returned
to New York City to open her own successful photographic studio,
all before she was twenty-five-years old.”
One might ask the same of the girl from Placitas, who, her mother
says, went from UNM to Quito, Ecuador, traveled around South America
and ended up in Spain. An interview with the artist Jesus Vilallonga
for a school paper eventually led to marriage, and Katherine Slusher
found herself ensconced in the European art world. After earning
a degree in museum studies from Syracuse, she became a curator,
and thereby met Anthony Penrose.
Their collaborative relationship as curators and biographers has
sparked a four-year (so far) investigation into the lives of Miller,
Picasso, and the Surrealists that may yet lead Slusher to author
studies of Man Ray and Max Ernst. Chance encounter—that darling
instrument of the Surrealists—bore fruit for the adventurous
curator raised in desert solitude with a sophisticated sense of
Her mother Elaine takes credit for the latter. “Katherine
used to thank me for teaching her good taste,” she winks,
“so she knew what to buy” on her travels. Waving off
her own accomplishments, Elaine Slusher says she enjoys being active
with the New Mexico Watercolor Society, painting retablos and teaching
painting, and visiting with Katherine, who comes back to her hometown
of Placitas once or twice a year.
“Shop Rio”—a short story contest
A short story contest for creative writers is underway for the
Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce (RRRCC)’s “Shop
“Shop Rio,” an initiative to increase public awareness
of the importance of shopping locally, was launched in July with
a series of educational articles, a July 25 presentation to the
Rio Rancho governing body, and brochures. The short story contest
for area residents expands the campaign.
Creative writers are encouraged to write a story up to two-hundred-fifty
words about the “Shop Rio” character, a lizard who’s
a “lively, lovely shopper.” The story should name the
character and include an interesting story of its shopping habits,
the value of hometown shopping, or what’s inside those shopping
“This character will become a fun way to identify the ‘Shop
Rio’ program, which will focus consumers’ attention
[on the idea] that where they choose to make purchases has an impact,”
said Debbi Moore, President and CEO of the RRRCC. “By shopping
locally in your community’s businesses, those tax dollars
stay in your town to provide local services.”
Several age categories are open to writers age six and up. Prizes
will be given for each age bracket. The deadline for the contest
is October 15, 2007. Submissions may be mailed or dropped off at
the RRRCC offices at 4001 Southern Blvd. NE, inside the NM Bank
and Trust building, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on “Shop Rio,” contact Debbi Moore
Corrales Fine Arts Show benefits Old Church restoration
The 19th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show, a New Mexico multimedia
art exhibition and sale, takes place in Corrales at the historic
Old San Ysidro Church from October 6 to 14. Presented will be works
of thirty-nine artists in the fields of painting, mixed media, sculpture,
and photography, selected by jury from over two hundred entries.
The show will be open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
daily, and there is no charge for admission or parking.
An opening reception will be held on Friday, October 5 from 5:00
to 8:00 p.m. A portion of each sale at the show will go to the Corrales
Historical Society for the restoration and preservation of the Old
San Ysidro Church. The church is located one mile north of the Corrales
Post Office on Corrales Road, then three-tenths of a mile west on
Old Church Road.
New sculpture, by Armando Alvarez, stands on five-acre
park, in memory of Lauda Medara
Mariposa opens new park, unveils memorial sculpture
Mariposa has announced the completion and official opening of its
five-acre recreational park at the Mariposa East Commons town center.
In addition to the park, a special sculpture was commissioned and
has been dedicated in memory of Lauda Medara, a long-time employee
of High Desert Investment Corporation, the developer of Mariposa.
Medara was killed in an accident last year.
Well-known painter/sculptor Armando Alvarez said, “My sculpture
depicts Lauda riding her bicycle. Depending on the sun’s rays
during the day you can see her in the reflection created on the
ground, which I think is also in keeping with its home in the park.”
The five-acre park boasts an enjoyable variety of recreational
activities, as well as providing a link between what will ultimately
become an urban village center and the natural desert environment.
The park’s layout includes spaces for active play, relaxation,
and enjoyment that are connected by a pedestrian trail leading to
the village center and the new office complex, which was recently
opened just to the east of the park.
The field is designed to conserve water by catching natural precipitation
and is irrigated by treated wastewater. The amphitheater, which
is built into a hillside, will serve as a venue for small concerts,
lectures, and performances. It can be used in the evening through
electronic connections and path lighting.
The park’s central plaza is framed by two large shade structures
and has a water pop-jet fountain in which children can play.
Construction is ongoing on Phase I of Mariposa East, which includes
single-family homes, small parks, and ten miles of trails for walking,
jogging, and cycling. More than half of Mariposa will be open space,
including the twenty-two-hundred acre Mariposa Preserve. For more
information on Mariposa, call 823-9360 or visit www.mariposa-NM.com.
“Morning’s at Seven,”
an American classic, to open at Adobe
What’s better than three sisters? Try four.
“Morning’s at Seven,” Paul Osborn’s warm
domestic comedy, opens October 19 at Albuquerque’s Adobe Theatre
for a four-weekend run. Directed by UNM Emeritus Professor of Theatre
Brian Hansen, this production brings a strong cast of Albuquerque
theatre regulars and new talent to bear on a script that is recognized
as an American classic.
Set in the years before World War II changed everything, “Morning’s
at Seven” captures both the familiarity and eccentricity of
small-town America. With a warm and loving eye, Osborn follows the
lives of four sisters of seemingly mature years—all living
within walking distance of one another—as they deal with the
monumental, yet absurd, challenges of family life complete with
family scandals, spoken and unspoken. The critical incident is that
the son of one of the sisters is bringing home his fiancée
to meet the family for the first time. The fact that he is forty,
still lives at home, and has been dating the woman for twelve years
give special energy to the occasion.
“With a script this solid and a cast this professional—including
three experienced directors—I cannot get away with anything,”
says director Hansen, with mock alarm. “We are striving for
rock-solid portrayals in which all the wonderful humor arises totally
from character. ”
The title, “Morning’s at Seven” is a quote from
Robert Browning’s Pippa Passes which ends, “God’s
in His Heaven/All’s right with the world.”
“Morning’s at Seven” opens October 19 and plays
through November 11 at the Adobe Theatre, 9813 Fourth Street NW
in Albuquerque. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $12; senior and student tickets
are $10. For reservations, call 898-9222.
Sixth Annual Sun Mountain Gathering returns to
Sun Mountain Gathering, a unique cultural celebration for all ages,
returns to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe on
Saturday, October 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This event is geared
toward families and is free to the public.
Held annually since 2002, Sun Mountain Gathering is an exploration
of Southwestern archaeology and celebrates over twelve thousand
years of cultural heritage in New Mexico. Native American dancers
and musicians will perform throughout the day on spectacular Milner
Plaza. The festival also provides visitors many opportunities to
learn about archaeology and the ancient technology and traditional
arts of Native peoples in the southwest. Visitors can enjoy exhibits
on Native foods and crafts, including drum making, flint-knapping,
stone axe use, traditional gardening, and a mock archaeology dig,
to name just a few. Visitors will also have an opportunity to learn
about traditional arts by trying their hand at forming a coiled
pot, making rope from yucca, using a pump drill, or making a replica
of a stamped silver bracelet.
Another main attraction is the Atlatl Range. The atlatl and dart
were the first true and natural weapons system of the human race,
invented thousands of years before the bow and arrow and used longer
by humans than any other weapon system yet developed. Spear throwing
using replicas of prehistoric atlatls will go on continuously throughout
Located on Museum Hill-T, the Museum shares the beautiful Milner
Plaza with the Museum of International Folk Art. “Here, Now,
and Always,” a major permanent exhibition at the Museum of
Indian Arts and Culture, combines the voices of living Native Americans
with ancient and contemporary artifacts and interactive multimedia
to tell the complex stories of the Southwest. The Buchsbaum Gallery
displays works from the region’s pueblos. Five changing galleries
present exhibits on subjects ranging from archaeological excavations
to contemporary art. In addition, an outdoor sculpture garden offers
rotating exhibits of works by Native American sculptors.
The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is a division of the Department
of Cultural Affairs, and is located on Camino Lejo off of Old Santa
Fe Trail. For more information, call (505) 476-1250 or visit www.indianartsandculture.org.
The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00
“All That Jazz” performs in Placitas
—GARY LIBMAN, PLACITAS ARTISTS SERIES
On October 14, the Placitas Artists Series is proud to
present “All That Jazz,” a jazz concert featuring the
Stu MacAskie Trio with guest vocalist Joanna Morska-Osinska.
One of the top jazz groups working in New Mexico, the Stu MacAskie
Trio plays contemporary jazz. This can best be described as an amalgam
of the classic jazz tradition, personified by musicians like Miles
Davis and John Coltrane, and recent developments in pop, jazz, and
world music. The Trio, which consists of Stu MacAskie on piano,
Michael Glynn on bass and Cal Haines on drums, plays music drawn
from the great jazz tradition, but often with a unique and personal
slant, along with plenty of new and original material. Joanna Morska-Osinska
will sing with the trio for this performance.
The concert is generously sponsored by Claudia Moraga, a Placitas
Preceding the concert, a reception will be held for the October
visual artists: Mary E. Carter, Leila Hall, Judith Roderick, and
The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. at Las Placitas Presbyterian
Church; the artists’ reception begins at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets will be available at the door one hour before the concert,
or may be purchased in advance at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa
in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas, or online at www.PlacitasArts.org.
Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 for seniors and students.
This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division
of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment
for the Arts. The facility is completely accessible, and free child
care is provided for families with children under six. Las Placitas
Presbyterian Church is located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165
For more information, call 867-8080.