When there is too much to do, it’s sometimes the best time to just take off. So when the email headed Reno baby! came to me, amid an insane schedule, I knew it was an invitation worth considering.
This was the message header to me from David Maisel, a notable Bay Area photographer and friend. His work is up at the Nevada Museum of Art, a venerable institution that since 2003 has occupied a building designed by Will Bruder, a Phoenix architect whose work has helped remind the world that the American Southwest is not all spas and sprawl (sorry, I’m from Arizona; I get a little territorial).
David told me about a panel he was going to be part of in relation to his work, along with several other intriguing people: Bill Fox and Geoff Manaugh. I can only detail a small fraction of all the amazing things these writers are involved in. Bill is one of the few thinkers who draws connections among landscape, art, cognitive science, and imagination. He contributed a masterful essay to one of my favorite photo books we published last year, Terry Falke’s Observations in an Occupied Wilderness (once again, desert bias). Geoff I’ve mentioned before and is just on the up and up: his BLDGBLOG, forthcoming Chronicle book, and hey, he’s now moving to the Bay Area and joining the Dwell magazine crew (congrats Geoff!).
So, yes: I drove to Reno to see a panel. Not everyone’s idea of fun, but it was totally worth it. The level of discussion was really high, and I kept thinking that it was refreshing to see such an interesting event in a relatively small town. The museum itself is excellent, too. Not only was David’s work up, at breathtaking scale, but all of the galleries had something of interest. In important ways it shames highly funded museums that are three times as large. This is going to sound snotty, but if I miss the next major touring Picasso show, so what? The packaged art megatours wear thin, and institutions like the Nevada Museum of Art have to work harder, and on a different scale, and don’t get the traffic that museums in bigger cities get.
But I have to hand it to them. I’m going back. And thanks to curators Colin Robertson and Ann Wolfe for the extra attention. You’re doing a great job.
Alan Rapp, Senior Editor | Art & Design
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