(Chicago, Illinois, 1945 - October 27, 2017)
From the series "Nuclear Enchantment"
19 9/16 x 23 7/8 in. (49.8 x 60.7 cm)
Collection of the Akron Art Museum
Gift of George Stephanopoulos
When Patrick Nagatani moved to Albuquerque from Los Angeles in 1987 to teach at the University of New Mexico, he became fascinated by the state’s role as the birthplace and booster of the nuclear age and by the fact that the oldest continuous culture in North America, the Pueblo Indians, are there. He began the Nuclear Enchantment series to explore the impact of the nuclear age on humans and the land. “An underlying theme in Nagatani’s art has always been the conflict and comedy in collective ideologies,” writes art historian Eugenia Parry. Now, in the Nuclear Enchantment series, “he is looking at the boundless faith we have in scientific expertise, and our trust in a peculiar technological ministry, to which we as a national have been given unparalleled freedom.” The Nuclear Enchantment images are dreams – nightmares, usually – and symbolic statements rather than documents. Nagatani constructs his photographs. His process resembles Hollywood’s pre-Star Wars special effects techniques, incorporating sometimes a backdrop and sometimes an actual place, props, posed models, collage, hand coloring on images incorporated into the shot and other in-front-of-the-camera manipulations. The planes shown are mostly model planes from the artist’s own collection, which he built from kits. Nagatani did not use PhotoShop but did work with the printer to get these acid colors.