Symbols in Media: Cochiti artist Diego Romero spoke at a special event sponsored by the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe right before Indian Market. His works sold out within the first three hours Indian Market opened. His language is cross-cultural. His work is profound, using traditional language and forms, and is considered to be innovative and ground breaking. He understands dual culture, being born of an Anglo mother and raised in Berkley, CA. His father is a Cochiti Pueblo Indian.
His pottery references greek mythological forms, comic book style, Pueblo Indian pottery symbolism, signs and forms. Signs and symbols are his tools of artistic language and he talks of his art in terms of what the elements signify. His language comes from the orality and signs of his dual culture. His master's is from UCLA and he started doing traditional pottery at the Institute of American Indian Arts school in Santa Fe.
He rattled through influences as he stood at the podium, explaining his work as he zipped through slides: the use of gold to elevate the status of the enframed art in our western art world traditions; mimbres pottery; greek mythological figures; cartoon art; monumental art; consumer products; heroes; comic books; history; signs and symbols of his culture. Robert Nichols Gallery carries his work.
I had to ask him if Keith Haring was an influence. Yes. Look at the t-shirt, right, offered today through the IAIA site called "Night Frolic". You'll see the influence there.
Yesterday morning I was in the basement of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture looking at preview items for the upcoming exhibit (opening October 19) River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos. One of Romero's gold-painted pots will be included, along with work of contemporary artists Lisa Holt and Harlan Reano of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos.
Most of the works collected by museums dates through the 1960s. I just wanted to show you what's really happening. Now. Romero shows us how to read our world with the signs and within one of the media forms of his culture.
photo above left