Saturday, December 6, 2014

LAURIE BETH ZUCKERMAN'S BLACK MADONNA MADRE DOLOROSA ALTAR at the Boulder Dairy Center for the Arts 2014

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Madre Dolorosa altar installation
uses Mexican Oaxacan pottery of angels, saints, and skulls

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady
installation has this smaller Black Madonna altar on one side


Laurie Beth Zuckerman's fall exhibition at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado was a complex installation of three altars and four memory jugs. The largest altar, Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady, was comprised of three smaller altars. Pictured are photos of the side altar portraying the patron saint of Oaxaca, Mexico, the Virgin of Solitude, known as Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. She is a black pottery statue that I bought about 25 years ago. Newer black pottery from Oaxaca, in the form of skulls and angels, has been collected on my more recent trips to Mexico.

The black madonna figurehead at the top of the altar was actually a broken white concrete madonna I found in a metal trashcan outside a roadside shrine in Southern Colorado. I painted her black and placed her head on an old crock, to simulate her missing body. A lot of statues get broken at roadside shrines, and this was not the first madonna I have rescued. I like that I have given her new life on my own shrine. The idea of throwing away any part of a sacred shrine seems so senseless.

Everything on this altar is black or gold. I have collected the objects for these altars over the past 20 years. Hope you enjoy these detailed photos of my collections of religious folk art.


Friday, December 5, 2014

LAURIE BETH ZUCKERMAN'S BLACK MADONNA ALTAR INSTALLATION at Boulder's Dairy Center for the Arts during Día de los Muertos

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Madre Dolorosa altar installation
at the Boulder Dairy Center for the Arts 2014



Laurie Beth Zuckerman's altar exhibition at the Boulder Dairy Center for the Arts was on display from October 15-November 4, 2014. Here are a few closeup photographs from my Black Madonna altar installation, Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady. I dedicated this altar to my grandmother, Sara Melnik Zuckerman and her six-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Zuckerman, who died in the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918, in Brooklyn, New York. The entire altar is built from antique furniture, Victorian mourning apparel, vintage pottery from Mexico, and a multitude of other old objects collected in antique store, flea markets and thrift shops around the country.


Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Madre Dolorosa Altar

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Madre Dolorosa Altar

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Madre Dolorosa altar installation
in her exhibition at the Boulder Dairy Center for the Arts,
entitled Memory: Loss and Found


Please see my earlier post Assemblage artists Laurie Beth Zuckerman and Susan Wechsler.html for more photos from our two-person exhibition at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado, in October-November, 2014.



Thursday, December 4, 2014

LAURIE BETH ZUCKERMAN EXHIBITS SHADOWBOX ALTARS at the Historic Carnegie Building's Community Creative Center, Vivid Conversations Show, November 2014


Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Nuestra Senora del Monte Carmelo,
shadowbox altar, 2001-2014

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Nuestra Senora del Monte Carmelo,
shadowbox altar, 2001-2014

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's shadowbox dollhouse altars were on display in the "Vivid Conversations" exhibition at the Historic Carnegie Building's Community Creative Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. This November 2014 show was curated by artist Lili Francuz, who invited ten local artists to be included. Each artist was given their own wall and I displayed several new altars.


Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Nuestra Senora de la Soledad altar 2014


Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Maximón: Hear No Evil, See No Evil,
Speak No Evil shadowbox altar 1993-2014

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Breaking the Mold I
dollhouse altar 2014

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Breaking the Mold II
dollhouse altar 2014

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
shadowbox altar 2014

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's The Girl I Left Behind
dollhouse altar 2009/2014

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's exhibit of shadowboxes and dollhouse altars
at the Community Creative Center in the Historic Carnegie Building


My husband, Thomas Mathies, also exhibited his religious folk art crucifixes in this exhibition. Carved from tree roots and painted with traditional gesso and egg tempera, Tom's work looked spectacular in this historic building. Below are a few photos of his display.


Installation photo of Vivid Conversations exhibition in November 2014
at the Historic Carnegie Building's Community Creative Center in Fort Collins.
My husband, Thomas Mathies' crucifixes are hanging in the rear of this photo.


Installation photo of Vivid Conversations exhibition in November 2014
at the Historic Carnegie Building's Community Creative Center in Fort Collins.
My husband, Thomas Mathies' wooden crucifixes are hanging in this photo.
The wooden altar nicho, with a statue of Saint Francis, at the right of the upper photo were both built and carved by Tom, and painted by Laurie Beth Zuckerman.



Monday, October 20, 2014

ASSEMBLAGE ARTISTS LAURIE BETH ZUCKERMAN AND SUSAN WECHSLER'S EXHIBITION OF ALTARS, "MEMORY: LOSS AND FOUND" SHOWING AT THE DAIRY CENTER FOR THE ARTS, BOULDER, COLORADO, OCT 17-NOV 4, 2014


Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady" installation
includes three altars and three memory jugs at The Dairy Center of the Arts

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Memory: Loss and Found altar installations
at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady
altar installation center closeup, Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, Co.

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Memory: Loss and Found installation
at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Memory: Loss and Found installation
at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Bella Donna" altar installation at The Dairy Center

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Bella Donna" altar installation at The Dairy Center.
Donna Zuckerman is pictured on her wedding day with her husband,  Irving Stone.

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "The Tarnished Angels"
altar installation at The Dairy Center

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady"
altar installation, grandma's empty rocking chair and suitcases at The Dairy Center

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady"
altar installation with "Locked Away" memory jug at The Dairy Center


Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady"
altar installation with "The Bell Jar" memory jug at The Dairy Center
Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady"
altar installation with "Locked Away" and "The Bell Jar"
memory jugs at The Dairy Center

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Behind the Eight Ball" memory jug
made in 2003 is included in her altar installation at The Dairy Center

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's altar exhibition at The Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder is entitled, "Memory: Loss and Found." This is a joint exhibition with my dear friend, mosaic artist Susan Wechsler of Boulder County, Colorado. Susan and I collaborated in her Longmont studio last year, sharing each others personal techniques and artistic sensibilities with found-object assemblage. We have planned this exhibition since March 2013, each creating new works expressly for our theme and The Dairy Center venue. Our exhibition is unique and outstanding, and I am grateful to Susan for suggesting this joint venture. Few other artists are as obsessive and meticulous about their artwork as we are.

Susan and I define ourselves as Jewish altar makers. Our eclectic shrines and memorials reflect our own family traditions and life experiences, and are informed by diverse cultural heritages from around the world. We both honor memory in order to evoke spirituality in our work, share a mutual love of collecting and flea marketing, and incorporate vintage materials into our found-object assemblage shrines.

Our exhibition title, "Memory: Loss and Found" plays with grammar to make a point. Both of us have created works that reflect "losses" we have experienced, and to make a statement about what is "found" by examination of and reflection upon memory. Some observers may reflect that the found objects and personal items used in our works are imbued with the energy and spirit of those who once possessed these things. My altars are constructed primarily from antique Victorian mourning paraphernalia, Mexican black clay folk art from Oaxaca, and a host of vintage collectibles.

I made these Madre Dolorosa altars and memory jugs in remembrance of my Russian-Jewish ancestors and their tragic life stories, which have colored my life with a somber gloom. This black cloud has hovered over me as long as I can remember. My altars are manifestations of these family legacies, told to me by my storytelling father, Hollywood screenwriter and novelist, George Zuckerman. My father used words meant for moving images or the printed page to tell his stories. I use historical objects in a physical manner to express my own take on these deeply personal stories. I aim for a visual shock and awe reaction from my viewers—I want people to feel my work in their gut.

My "Madre Dolorosa: The Spanish Lady" altar installation includes three individual altars, plus a rocking chair display. This suite honors the sadness my Grandmother Sarah Melnik Zuckerman, and her only daughter, my Great Aunt Elizabeth Zuckerman, who died at the age of six during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, aka "The Spanish Lady." Sarah lost her mind, fled home, and lived away for two years, abandoning her three sons, the youngest of whom was my two-year-old father. My father named me Beth, out of respect for his older sister, Elizabeth. It would have been too much for my Grandmother Sarah, if my parents had named me Elizabeth.

My "Madre Dolorosa" installation includes a suite of three memory jugs, two of which honor the massacre of nearly thirty Melnik/Zuckerman relatives during the Nazi invasion of Poland in July 1941. Their titles are "Behind the Eight Ball" and "The Bell Jar." The third memory jug, "Locked Away" honors the memories of her lost daughter that were locked in my grandmother's fragile mind, and remained secret from her four surviving sons. My teenage father did not know he had a sister until he discovered a trunk of Elizabeth's belongings in the attic.

My "Bella Donna" altar installation honors my first cousin, Donna Zuckerman and her new husband, Irving Stone, who died in a single car crash on their honeymoon to Canada. They were buried one week after their nuptials in Brooklyn, New York, 1973. I was not in attendance for either life-altering event, but my brother, Gregg Zuckerman was. I was living across the country in Eugene, Oregon. I had just graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, and arrived in Eugene just days before Donna and Irv passed away. My sense of hopefulness for life and happily ever after died the day my mother called to relay the devastating news. 

All three of my altar installations and four memory jugs in this exhibit are a part of my Memento Mori series. Memento Mori is a Latin phrase for “be mindful of death" that can also be interpreted as “remember that you are mortal.” Memento Mori refers to the historic genre of artistic creations in European funereal art, cemetery tombstones, and architecture, and include the Mexican El Día de los Muertos imagery used on ofrenda altars. Our exhibit was scheduled to coincide with El Día de los Muertos, and will close after the holiday on November 4.

To see an earlier installation of my Madre Dolorosa Altar that I exhibited in 2012 at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center in Colorado, click on this blogpost.


Laurie Beth Zuckerman (left) and Susan Wechsler (right)
congratulate each other on their exhibit at the Dairy Center for the Arts

Susan Wechsler (left) and Laurie Beth Zuckerman (right)
at the Dairy Center on opening night


For more information about Laurie Zuckerman and Susan Wechsler's exhibition, please log onto The Dairy Center for the Arts for show times and dates. Please visit artist, Susan Wechsler at her website and blog: http://www.mosaicsbysusan.com 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

LAURIE BETH ZUCKERMAN EXHIBITS ANTIQUE MEXICAN CHINA POBLANA DOLL ALTAR AT GLOBAL VILLAGE MUSEUM OF ARTS IN CULTURE, FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, OCT 3-JAN 24

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Antique Mexican China Poblana Doll Altar installation
at The Global Village Museum of Arts and Culture Mexico exhibition in Fort Collins.

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Antique Mexican China Poblana Doll Altar installation
at The Global Village Museum of Arts and Culture, Fort Collins, Colorado

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Antique Mexican China Poblana Doll Altar installation
at The Global Village Museum of Arts and Culture, Fort Collins, Colorado





The MEXICO: Objects for Living, Objects for Life exhibition will be on display from October 3, 2014–January 24, 2015 at The Global Village Museum of Arts and Culture in Fort Collins. Laurie Beth Zuckerman's installation of antique Mexican China Poblana tourist dolls at this international folk art museum is representative of handmade costume dolls from the early to mid-1900s. Typical "mestizo campesino" munecas (dolls) were made by Mexican artisans as well as foreign makers and sold to tourists during the heyday of foreign tourism. These cloth and/or composition dolls displayed the most famous indigenous dresses of the predominant regions of Mexico. In the early 20th century, daughters of hacienda owners began to embroider colorful dresses for rodeo events, known as Charreadas. They called these dresses "China Poblanas." These dolls model these real-life costumes. I have collected these soulful dolls from flea markets for twenty-some years, as my altars provide a wonderful new home for these orphaned tourist dolls.

The legend of the China Poblana began around 1621. Spain had extended its provinces to the Orient with its base in Manila. Each year Spanish ships would bring treasures to Mexico. A young exotic Hindu princess from the Mughal Kingdom named Mirra was bought at the slave market in Manila. She had been taken prisoner by Portuguese pirates on the coast of India. She was then sold to a sea captain and his wife in Puebla by a fellow Spanish ship captain, and her name was changed to Catarina de San Juan after she was baptized. She wore a colorful silk sari across her face and became know as "La Chinita" or "the little Chinese girl." Catrina died in 1688 after living her life as a nun. Her tomb of the "China Poblana" is located in the Colegio de la Compania de Jesus church in Puebla, Mexico. 

A good book for collectors to research more about China Poblana dolls is Mexican Popular Art: Clothing and Dolls, by Wendy Scalzo, available at Amazon books. Most of the dolls in my altar collection are represented in this beautiful colorful book. They range from the 1930s to the 1950s.


Monday, July 28, 2014

LAURIE BETH ZUCKERMAN EXHIBITS NEW MEMORY JUGS AT FORT COLLINS MUSEUM OF ART'S "ARTISTIC EYE ON HISTORY: FORT COLLINS 150", JULY-SEPT 2014


Fort Collins Museum of Art's website displays Laurie Beth Zuckerman's
"Up in Smoke" Memory Jug for their 2014 exhibition,
"Artistic Eye on History: Fort Collins 150"


Laurie Beth Zuckerman completed three memory jugs for the Fort Collins Museum of Art's "Artistic Eye on History: Fort Collins 150" invitational exhibition, curated by Marianne Lorenz, former Executive Director of the FCMOA. This show honors Fort Collins 150th birthday. It opened July 24 with a private reception for members, sponsors, and all seventeen artists in the exhibit, and will be on display to the public until September 28, 2014. The FCMOA's featured artists are: Amelia Caruso, Bob Coonts, Louise Cutler, Jennifer Davey, Monica Deming, Clint Eccher, Diane Edwards, Diane Findley, Wendy Franzen, Jennifer Ivanovic, Mary McCauley, Dolores Rowland, Ajean Ryan, Two Sisters Mosaic’s Jane Sullivan and Jean McBride, Eldon Ward, and myself.



Fort Collins Museum of Art displays three of Laurie Beth Zuckerman's
latest Memory Jugs in their 2014 exhibition,
"Artistic Eye on History: Fort Collins 150"
Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Up in Smoke" Memory Jug installation
at the Fort Collins Museum of Art's "Artistic Eye on History: Fort Collins 150."
Ajean Ryan's work is on the wall behind my Memory Jugs.
Fort Collins Museum of Art in Old Town is housed in this
National Register of Historic Places former US Post Office.
Fort Collins Museum of Art exhibition banners picture
Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Up in Smoke" Memory Jug

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Crossing Over the River Styx Memory Jug

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Crossing Over the River Styx Memory Jug,
with painting by Jennifer Davey and sculpture by Wendy Franzen

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Crossing Over the River Styx Memory Jug, left,
and Up in Smoke Memory Jug. Paintings by Clint Eccher.

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Home on the Grange" memory jug
was constructed in Laurie's backyard studio

Detail of Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Home on the Grange" Memory Jug 

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Home on the Grange" Memory Jug side view

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Home on the Grange" Memory Jug installation
at the Fort Collins Museum of Art's "Artistic Eye on History: Fort Collins 150"

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's "Home on the Grange" installation base displays
antique cast iron shoe lasts, rusted cowbells, and a SAD iron

Background information on Laurie Beth Zuckerman's three Memory Jugs at Fort Collins Museum of Art:

UP IN SMOKE Memory Jug

I worked my "Up in Smoke" Memory Jug into a found-object assemblage installation for this exhibition. Vintage souvenirs depicting Western-themed stereotypes of wrangling cowboys, warring Indians, and covered wagon trains, were applied to this antique stoneware whiskey jug. Lucky pennies, good luck horseshoes, charms, and keychains, tourist ashtrays, and other copper-plated memorabilia were gathered throughout Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming during years of flea marketing.

This memory jug honors my father's sixteen years in Hollywood as a dramatic screenwriter of psychological westerns, dark film noir flicks, and smoldering melodramas during the mid-40s and 50s. In the late 50s, George Zuckerman’s career in cinema went "up in smoke," due to a sea change in Hollywood toward family friendly comedies. He carried on his author's life as a Broadway playwright and novelist. George's best known novel, The Last Flapper, was based on his close friend, Zelda Fitzgerald, who died when the mental hospital where she was staying went "up in smoke" as she awaited electroshock therapy in a locked room.


CROSSING OVER THE RIVER STYX Memory Jug

Antique copper coins and brass war medals, all souvenirs of travels to faraway lands, are used to encase this enigmatic memory jug, made from an antique stoneware whiskey jug. According to ancient Greek mythology, relatives placed a coin in the mouth of the deceased to help pay their ferry toll across the River Styx. The compass I added points the way to the afterworld, and bells signal the dead's arrival.


HOME ON THE GRANGE Memory Jug

My Home on the Grange Memory Jug is a pun on Brewster Higley's 1873 poem “Home on the Range,” which served as a anthem to frontier life. My jug was constructed on an old dairy farm cream jug, and stands as a memorial to the pioneers who settled Fort Collins in the early mid-1800s. The homesteading act helped multiply the few farms and ranches already existing on the abandoned military fort in Old Town and the town was incorporated in 1873. Granges were established in Fort Collins around the same time, encouraging families to band together to promote the well-being of the community and agriculture. Fort Collins enjoyed favorable conditions for farming and livestock to flourish, and once the first railroad was completed 1877, these products were shipped out and consumer goods brought in.