One of Ted Egri’s most well-known stories about his origins as an artist concerns his time as a U.S. Navy sailor during World War II. While sailing past the distorted remains of ships blown apart during horrendous sea battles, Egri (1913-2010) told of his fascination with the strangely elegant shapes of the twisted metal. The symbolism stayed with him and upon his return stateside, the artist within sought to find a way to express his anguish at the horror of what he witnessed.
So, he experimented. He said he would take pieces of metal into secluded arroyos near Taos and, using dynamite, blow them up. The pieces would then become art. His sculpture, “Flight of Wind,” wasn’t created this way, but there are slight hints in the graceful shapes that mimic Pueblo Peak above Taos. Egri is gone now, but certainly not forgotten.
His monumental metal sculpture, “Flight of Wind,” now located in front of the Taos County Administrative-Judicial Complex, 105 Albright St., is being dedicated with a special two-day community event celebrating his life’s work. Activities are planned to take place in front of the complex on Albright Street and in the Historic Taos County Courthouse on Taos Plaza, Friday and Saturday (May 19-20).
During this two-day event, there will be new opportunities for children and adults to experience personal creativity by participating in activities and learn about the historical impact of Egri within our community.
Activities begin Friday (May 19), 2 p.m., in the Arthur Bell Auditorium at the Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St. That’s when an early interview with Ted Egri will be screened. The museum’s collection of works by Egri will also be exhibited.
Opening ceremonies follow at 4:30 p.m. at the Taos County Courthouse Complex with a joint proclamation by Taos County Commission Chairman Jim Fambro and town of Taos Mayor Dan Barrone.
There will be a brief acknowledgment by other institutions in Taos County that have received donations of Egri’s work. These include the University of New Mexico-Taos, Taos Public Library and Sierra Vista Cemetery. Brochures with maps of the location of these works will be available. Select historical paintings and sculpture by Egri will be on view, in addition to a running display of images documenting the installation of “Flight of Wind” by Elise Waters Olonia of Fine Art Services, which is handling the Egri estate.
Saturday (May 20) at 10 a.m. at the same site, children’s activities and artist demonstrations will take place near “Flight of Wind.” The Harwood Museum and Twirl will sponsor activities for children, followed by a parade of "El Viborón," the colorful people-powered dragon created by Egri, which has for many years been an integral part of the Fiestas de Taos.
Artist demonstrations will take place in the same location, featuring John Suazo, of Taos Pueblo, carving near his recently installed sculpture; ARTAOS will present a printmaking demonstration, as well as a special T-shirt created for this event; Richard Sanchez, who installed “Flight of Wind,” will share his welding technique. Sanchez was tasked with disassembling “Flight of Wind” from Egri’s former property in Las Colonias, transporting it and then reassembling it at the courthouse complex.
Afternoon lectures are planned at the Historic Taos County Courthouse on the north side of Taos Plaza from 2-4 p.m. This program will provide a history of the life and work of Egri through images and stories. Paul Figueroa, president of the Taos Arts Council, will be the symposium host. Speakers include Kathy Córdova, co-founder of the Taos Living Treasures Program (which Egri originated in 1987); event organizer Waters Olonia; Harwood Museum Director Dr. Richard Tobin; David Witt, curator at the Academy for the Love of Learning; and Philip Bareiss, owner of Bareiss Gallery. Select works by Ted Egri will be on display and available for sale.
The celebration concludes Saturday (May 20), 3-7 p.m., with a reception for a miniature retrospective, “Legends of Taos Series - The Art of Ted Egri (1913-2010),” at 203 Fine Art, 1335 Gusdorf Road, Suite I. The show is sponsored by Taos County, Centinel Bank, UNM-Taos, Hotel St. Bernard, Taos Arts Council, Fine Art Services, KTAO, The Taos News, ARTAOS and private donors.
One of the original founders of Taos Art Association and a member of the Taos Moderns, Egri might be best known in Taos for his depiction of El Viborón, a snake-like dragon of ancient times that delights children during the Fiestas de Taos Children’s Parade.
It was Egri himself who coined the term “Taos Moderns” in 1956 when he set up the first exhibit with Raymond Jonson and the Jonson Gallery at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. After that, the Taos Moderns show traveled to the Museum of New Mexico and Los Alamos.
"Flight of Wind" had been on Egri’s property north of Taos prior to his death in 2010 at the age of 97. “This special event was created to bring awareness to the many accomplishments of Egri, his artwork and teaching throughout Taos County and to enlighten the public regarding the significance of art in public places. The goal is to bring attention to the importance of education and creativity, as it preserves our culture and history,” Waters Olonia said.
“Egri worked integrally within our tri-culture community, inviting artists of all means and capabilities to experience an artful life. Sponsored by the NEA in the 1970s, Ted created art programs for approximately 2,000 students throughout Taos County, Questa and Peñasco. He also invited artists to live and develop their talent on his personal property,” she said.
For more information, call (575) 751-0647 or visit fineartservices.info.
Schedule of events
All free of charge
Friday (May 19)
2 p.m. Screening of Ted Egri interview, Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St.
4:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies, Taos County Administrative-Judicial Complex at Albright Street and Paseo del Pueblo Sur (105 Albright St.)
Joint proclamation by Taos County Commission Chairman Jim Fambro and town of Taos Mayor Dan Barrone
Saturday (May 20)
10 a.m. Children’s activities and artist demonstrations, Taos County Administrative-Judicial Complex near “Flight of Wind.” The Harwood Museum and Twirl will sponsor activities for children, followed by a parade of "El Viborón."
2-4 p.m. Lectures at Historic Taos County Courthouse on Taos Plaza by Kathy Córdova, Elise Waters Olonia, Dr. Richard Tobin, David Witt and Philip Bareiss
3-7 p.m. Opening reception for an exhibit, “Legends of Taos Series - The Art of Ted Egri (1913 - 2010),” at 203 Fine Art, 1335 Gusdorf Road, Suite I. The show will remain open through June 30 by appointment.
Special show of works by Egon Schiele
A showing of prints of works by Austrian artist Egon Schiele, the controversial protégé of Gustav Klimt, is going to be on view in Taos.
ARTAOS and its mobile art gallery will be parked at Taos County Administrative-Judicial Complex, 105 Albright St., Saturday (May 20), 10 a.m. until noon, for the Ted Egri dedication celebration. The show will be up, plus there will be artist demonstrations on printmaking by Nick Beason and FORGE. The show is a series of 24 lithographs published by the State Printing Office of Vienna, Austria, of works created by Schiele, circa 1911. It is part of the 2017 ARTAOS season in its new mobile art gallery, which will be used “to bring art, culture and arts activities to Northern New Mexico residents,” according to founder Jason Rodríguez.
ARTAOS is in the process of renovating a newly purchased 1979 Grumman step van, formerly used as a movie prop truck in Albuquerque. Visit ARTAOS.com for more information.