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Mar 31, 2009
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Lecture, Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe
At the New Mexico Film Museum

New Mexico History Museum

Join New Mexico photographer Michael Berman for the latest lecture in the exhibition, Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe. Berman will speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, at the New Mexico Film Museum, 418 Montezuma Ave.

Berman, a 2008 Guggenheim Photography Fellow, lives and works in the Black Range along the Mimbres River in southwest New Mexico. His photographs are included in Through the Lens, and photographs from his ongoing endeavor, Grasslands: The Chihuahuan Desert Project, supported by Guggenheim, will be published this year in Trinity, the third book of the border trilogy, The History of the Future, with author Charles Bowden.


Berman says of the grasslands that he photographs:


I have wandered this landscape - in between, where thing fall apart - for a long time. On the west side lies the Sonoran desert with its giant saguaros, and on the east side lies the Chihuahuan Desert. Lately, I’m in love with the Chihuahuan Desert, a minimalist dream of small ranges and grasslands that no one seems to pay much attention to. This desert is like a Rothko painting or one of Serra’s smooth black arcs - once you have begun to look closely it takes a lifetime to see what is there. I can argue that this is the most complex collision of ecosystems on the planet. I can tell you that where there used to be ten thousand people there are now a million. I can tell you about the waters beneath closed basins that are being mined for cities, and the plans to drain them dry in exchange for biofuels. I can tell you what madness happens on the border of two giant nations. I can tell you a lot of things ... None of this matters.  What is important is the land.


Berman was born in New York City in 1956. In 1974, he went west to Colorado College where he studied biology. His photographs are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum and the Museum of New Mexico. He has received Painting Fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Wurlitzer Foundation; his installations, photographs and paintings have been reviewed in Art in America, and exhibited throughout the country.

His lecture is sponsored in conjunction with the Photography Department/Marion Center for Photographic Arts at the College of Santa Fe. Through the Lens is displayed at the Palace of the Governors through Oct. 25, 2009. The Palace of the Governors has partnered with the College on the exhibit as part of their contribution to Santa Fe’s 400th anniversary celebration.

Since the 1850s many of the most recognized names in photography have focused their lenses in and on Santa Fe. Through their creative efforts they have documented a particular place and its visual history. They helped create that "place" and the mystique of Santa Fe. Photography has long been significant in the construction of notions of space and place, landscape and identity, and especially in Santa Fe, however malleable visual meaning may be, has helped define the geographical imagination.

Curated by photographer and educator Krista Elrick and Palace of the Governor Curator of Photography, Mary Anne Redding, Through the Lens examines the history of Santa Fe through the visual record created by internationally respected photographers.

The exhibition, lecture series, and publication of the companion book, Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe, are sponsored by the Scanlan Family Foundation, Verve Gallery of Photography, New Mexico Council on Photography, New Mexico Humanities Council, Visual Arts Gallery at the Santa Fe Community College, Photography Department/Marion Center for Photographic Arts at the College of Santa Fe, Scheinbaum & Russek LTD., Santa Fe 400th Anniversary Partnership, Santa Fe Art Foundation, Andrew Smith Gallery, Museum of New Mexico Foundation, Palace Guard, Phyllis and Edward Gladden Endowment Fund, and the Women’s Board of the Museum of New Mexico.


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