A Look Back at the Barrick in 2018



How do we summarize 2018?” we asked ourselves, watching, mesmerized, as another cricket tried to crawl in out of the cold garden. What if we listed the exhibitions?

We had known that the Plural group show was going to be an important milestone, especially since our Bus to the Barrick drive had — thanks to community generosity — enabled us to bring more schoolchildren to the museum. We wanted to show them Las Vegas artists, artists who had practiced in Las Vegas, and artists who had thought about the region. We wanted to remind the students — and everyone else, not only them — how fertile this place could be. How multifarious. Some of those artists came and spoke; some of them held workshops.


Arriving in June, Andrew Schoultz: In Process: Every Movement Counts represented a different kind of community synthesis, bringing street murals indoors, incorporating them in installations, and, also, bringing the walls of the museum outside, in a sense, when the artist took the motifs from his paintings and transformed the appearance of the Clark County Winchester Community Skate Park. Boundaries are porous. Tamar Ettun, whose Jubilation Inflation opened in October with a large,  celebratory Art Walk, created a different kind of many-sidedness, responding to her study of trauma by making work that asked participants to consider the potential depth of play, an exhibition that clued you in with pieces like Screwed Pink Helmet that were both welcoming and dangerous.


That was in the East Gallery. In the Braunstein Room there was Vessel: Ceramics from Ancient West Mexico. Curated by Paige Bockman, Vessel will continue into 2019. Over in the West Gallery, Chelsea Adams opened out her study of literary anthropophony to include the visual arts with Soundscapes. Before her, in the same space, Mary Corey March’s Identity Tapestry installation invited you to think through a series of self-identifying proposals. Talking to an audience here in May, she said that one of her challenges as an artist had been designing an interactive process that everybody could understand immediately, without “jumping through hoops.”

Smaller exhibitions quietly appeared in our library windows, showcasing a mid-century Mexican mask or a monochrome pot by Jaime Quezada.



A portion of the Las Vegas Zine Library settled in our lobby, read by visitors and discussed by UNLV classes and guided tours. Thousands of other zines were in a back room, being catalogued. The Zine Library custodians, Jeff Grindley and Stephanie Seiler, led workshops. The UK artist Gemma Marmalade arrived from the University of Derby and delivered a performance-speech-manifesto in the Barrick auditorium after a “Subversive Saturday” zine-making session in March.  The Visiting Artist Lecture series took place. When? On Thursdays. “When should you use titanium white,” one member of the audience asked Whitney Bedford, “and when should you use something else?” Visitors to the Community Art Day in June watched clay-making demonstrated by Clay Arts Vegas. They lined up for Virtual Reality. They listened to violins. They considered Schoultz’s murals. They looked up. 

Wendy Kveck from Settlers + Nomads worked with us to bring in representatives of Common Field, a national network of non-profit arts organizations. Join! they said to the audience of artists and art-oriented Las Vegans. If you want to!  Dr. Erika Abad studied Identity Tapestry in February and gave a lecture about it in the first week of October. “Who are we,” she asked, “and how do we heal?” Visitors, invited to write hopeful messages for the For Freedoms placard piece in November, filled two walls. “Freedom from anxiety, tuition, depression, current political climate,” wrote one.

The generosity of others was necessary, and gratefully received throughout the year. It is our supporters who encourage us to put on ambitious exhibitions; who bring the children here in their school buses, who donate artwork so that we can carry out our tours, building an articulate community, aware of the arts.

Catching the cricket in a cup, we put it out.


Photographs, from top to bottom: Andrew Schoultz painting the Clark County Winchester Cultural Center Skate Park, by Mikayla Whitmore| Lance Smith leads a drawing workshop surrounded by artworks by (l-r) Gig Depio, Amy Yoes, Eri King, and Krystal Ramirez; the photo is also by Krystal Ramirez | A rehearsal for the Tamar Ettun choreography, Part Blue, performed at the UNLV Art Walk on October 12th, by Nick Endo/UNLV Creative Services | Mary Corey March’s Identity Tapestry, 2018, by Mikayla Whitmore | Vessels in Vessel: Ceramics from Ancient West Mexico, by Justin Locust | Stephanie Seiler and Jeff Grindley lead a zine-making workshop, by Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services | Community Art Day visitors walking to a reading by Huston Green in front of artwork by Andrew Schoultz, by Amanda Keating/UNLV Creative Services


Short notes from the Common Field meeting at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art on Saturday, Nov 10, 2018.


Several times during the Common Field meet-up last Saturday we heard people say that they wished Las Vegas’ art history was more publicly accessible, so we’re posting our notes from the event on this blog for the benefit of anyone who wants a record of the night.

(Essentially, we wrote down what people were saying and we’ve arranged it in categories.)


What makes Las Vegas unique?

“That pioneer aspect of being here.” There’s no “soul-crushing establishment.” We can shape the future “without a lot of legacy in the way.” This is a “gorgeous, tiny” community where people know one another and they treat one another with respect and kindness. Settlers + Nomads brings people together. The Barrick is “a rock.” Las Vegas is a “vibrant, crazy, diverse, easy-to-live-in city.” It’s possible to find your own space. (That’s more difficult in the Bay Area, hinted someone from the Bay Area.) A UNLV art student declared that the art students all “feed off” one another in a “really amazing” way.


K-12 students should be introduced to the arts.

Someone said we should “start early;” bring children to the arts before high school. A second person felt “frustrated” that there was “no arts education program any more at UNLV.” But, said a third person who was an art teacher, you could study arts and education separately and then put them together. It should be easier, this third person added, but at least it’s possible. Arts education is “still intact” in Las Vegas and that’s not the same everywhere. Did we know that Nevada’s arts education guidelines were updated recently? “Some of the newest standards in the nation.”

Someone brought up the PAYBAC program, recommending that we use it to visit schools and tell students what it means to work as a professional artist. Someone else suggested a more direct route, saying that artists should phone teachers and ask if a classroom visit was possible.


Many of us miss the Contemporary Arts Center.

Somebody called First Friday “a good incubator” for arts careers, but where do you go next? The Contemporary Arts Center used to fill that gap, said someone else. It was run on a shoestring budget. It had amazing shows. A third person told us he was only convinced he could live in Las Vegas when he discovered the CAC.

As the CAC was shutting down it felt “small and isolated.” If the CAC starts up again then “everybody needs to be involved.” People burned out on the CAC. It didn’t have enough support. If you want an organization like that to progress then everybody has to engage with it. There was not enough funding for the CAC. It needed money. We have government agencies who might help to fund something like the CAC but they don’t talk to one another.

Another voice warned us not to give away our agency to civic organizations. They don’t necessarily know what to fund, the way artists do. We need financial support from artists as well as civic support.

People agreed that the city needs an alternative art space. “Where’s our fifth column?”


Frustration with arts funding. Thoughts about arts advocacy.

MGM is partnering with Art Basel Miami and Elaine Wynn is giving money to LACMA. How do we get them to support people here? What can we do to educate Las Vegans about the history of Las Vegas art? Why are there only international artists at the Palms?

Paco Alvarez says he is preparing to donate his collection of Las Vegas art scene ephemera to Special Collections at the Lied Library. Someone else says funding opportunities are out there but artists have to go after them. “You have to be inventive here.” She mentions Nevada Arts Council grants. Artists can apply to hang work in the mayor’s office. Henderson and North Las Vegas are starting to pay attention to public art. Maybe artists should look for opportunities there? You need to network.

We see “money dripping everywhere in this city.”

Someone mentions Pacific Standard Time in Los Angeles. It has a theme, it is publicized, highly organized: she thinks we should have that here, a focal point, so that artists will be noticed. How about an art hub, a large building with lots of studio space and free rent for artists? What if we create an archive of every Las Vegas artist, even the ones who don’t have careers yet? Put the archive on a website. Maybe that will “spark something.” Someone remembers an Americans for the Arts convention where people were giving five-minute presentations about their projects. She thinks it would be great if Las Vegas’ artists could organize something like that. Someone else remembers a Texan slam poetry group that met every week for critique sessions.

Communication and advertising are the key to success for any non-profit. Las Vegas has great communities but there is no communication between the communities. We should create active networks.

Wendy Kveck asks a representative of Cultural Alliance Nevada to tell us about the organization.

The aim of Cultural Alliance Nevada is to bridge the gap between northern and southern Nevada, and rural and urban Nevada. They want to bring the arts to the attention of people who are making legislative policies. Before the election they sent surveys to the candidates, asking them how much they had already contributed to the arts in Nevada and how much they would contribute after they had been elected. They are looking into things like healthcare for artists.

What else?

If you call yourself an artist “you make a commitment to show up” to other artists’ shows.

We need practical classes, says someone, to tell artists how to do their taxes and other things like that.

Also we should have classes that teach us how to make neon art.

Let’s bend glass.



A Visitor’s View: Andrew Schoultz’s “In Process: Every Movement Counts”


Catie Swift has been volunteering with us at the Barrick for almost two months. Did she want to write about Andrew Schoultz? She did. Here she is —

When I walked into the museum to witness the perplexing art of Andrew Schoultz’s In Process: Every Movement Counts, I was both enthralled and in a state of complex amazement. It was as though I was about to begin a journey. Where would it take me? The size, color, and content of the line murals overwhelmed me. There was an immense presence and irresistible draw to the space. With the sudden influx of movement and hue present on the walls, I was brought into a distant reality- a feeling not uncommon to others who visit this show. What was a farce and what was real? The museum came alive before me. The large, hypnotic, acrylic wall paintings titled Spinning Eyes and Moiré Experiment, tricked me into thinking there was fluidity in the two-dimensional pieces. I was spellbound, possibly even brainwashed by the intricacy. The once white walls were brimming with life and vibrancy. I was drawn in by the art organism, perplexed by its ability to live and breathe. As I continued to slowly wander, I was excited to see the innermost thoughts of the being. I questioned, “What does it represent?” and “How does it function?“ as it pulled me deeper into the space.

More images and ideas were resonating throughout the East Gallery. The artist brought forth an array of diverse thoughts and notions on a variety of subjects- some more hardening than others. I was presented with opinions on the state of the government, integrity of the justice system, life, death, and destruction. This revealed the outside forces facing the creative being before me. I then wandered into the heart of the museum. I was overwhelmed with images that were symbolic to me of personal struggles and sentiments. The smaller acrylic paintings such as Swimming Beast (Vessel) and Hand of Life, Bursting Beast reminded me of illustrations one would see in an ominous tarot card reading. It is like a foreshadowing or warning of future happenings or validations of past occurrences. The depictions are busy, and multiple meanings can be taken from both the content and the titles. This is a show that will cause you to reflect and reevaluate important issues and how they personally affect you. Some problems in society are larger than life, but recognizing their existence is the first step to creating a solution and a more desirable society.

The most impactful piece that pulled me into Schoultz’s enigma was within the Infinity Plaza installation. Limits do not exist when one takes a step within the space. Taking the appearance of an open window possibly created by some sort of explosion, the viewer can look out into a familiar scene- a starry night sky. I felt as though I could take step straight through the mural. Where would the empty, quiet space take us? The possibilities ran endlessly through my mind. Another world or a different time? Or maybe just a place to escape into an infinite void where I do not have to think about the world around me. Complete with a large infinity symbol-shaped sculpture painted in the same starry night design and three benches surrounding it, the mural is not strictly confined to the boundaries of the two-dimensional painting. I could be seated in the space and not feel as though I am being overpowered with information from the enigmatic organism. It similar to being in a daydream, a comfortable place you do not want to leave. As a viewer, this served as a place to escape- a corner where the troubles of the world, depicted throughout the rest of the show, are far behind you.

I felt as though the exhibition as a whole took me to a far away land, but this may simply be the personification of the world through the eyes of Schoultz. Maybe it was that it transferred me to another frame of mind regarding our country’s issues. Through my eyes, this reflects daily life- depicts of the struggle, destruction, life, and death of issues currently facing us. We are each fighting our personal battles in addition to what is being thrown at us on a larger scale. There is a struggle to balance it all, as depicted by the Scales of Justice. We are struggling to determine right from wrong and to justify our beliefs in an already corrupted society. The state of politics is in shambles as shown in Blown to Bits. Fragments of the American flag are shown on torn paper amidst a large vortex. This place was in vibrant color, contrasting to the somber, severe topics mentioned. It does not seem as though this world we live in is a reality.

I extensively enjoyed that Schoultz created a sense of mystery, as the pieces and murals could draw multiple meanings from different people. After further investigation of this show through an interview article on the Las Vegas Review-Journal site titled “Artist brings his creative world to UNLV at museum”, I found that Schoultz did not give specifics on what he wanted his pieces to mean aside from the more obvious sentiments available to the viewer. As onlookers, this gives us the opportunity to speculate, create our own beliefs, and start a dialogue about the entirety of the show and how these dynamic topics could be tackled. I felt that this show not only made me inquire – which is important in art- but it also challenged my mindset and has considerably altered my values regarding society and my personal effect on issues. Ultimately, it could be that this show changes yours.

Writings Mentioned:
Cling, Carol. “Artist brings his creative world to UNLV art museum.” Las Vegas Review-Journal. 1 June 2018. Article.

Image at top of post: Andrew Schoultz, Spinning Eyes and Moiré Experiment (detail), both 2018, Acrylic on wall.
Photo: UNLV Creative Services/ Lonnie Timmons III

Some research on Juan Quezada Celado


This summer we decided to draw attention to the similarities between two of our black ware pots by curating a small exhibition in the window of the Braunstein Library. We wanted to point out that both of the potters — Jaime Quezada and Maria Martinez — had rooted their practices in discoveries that came from a close observation of potsherds left behind by ancient American cultures. When our volunteer Michael Freborg began to look into the life of Quezada he quickly learnt about the pioneering work carried out by the artist’s uncle, Juan Quezada Celado, and chose to research him further. This is what he wrote.

Juan Quezada Celado is known as the founding father of Mata Ortiz pottery. He was born to Jose and Paulita Quezada on May 6, 1940 in Santa Bárbara de Tutuaca, a town in the Belisario Domínguez Municipality. His father was a rancher in Tutuaca who herded cattle and raised horses. His mother moved from San Lorenzo to Tutuaca to work in a kitchen. After a brief courtship, his parents married and had ten children. Quezada’s family moved to Mata Ortiz, a poor town in Chihuahua, when he was just an infant. Quezada learned to be a cowboy like his father. In 1964, he married Guillermina Olivas Reyes, who came from a farming community called Namiquipa, a municipality that gained its fame from the chronicles of Pancho Villa. He and “Guille” have eight children, all of whom make Mata Ortiz-style pottery. Quezada has been featured in numerous books, magazines, and scholarly essays. He has frequent exhibits in New Mexico, Arizona, and California. His works are also displayed in museums throughout Europe and Japan. 

Quezada began painting and sculpting at age seven. He ground rocks, plants, egg yolks, and even grasshoppers into natural paints. He drew and painted on paper, wood, and on the walls in his home. He went to school for only three years. At age 12, he dropped out to work because his family needed the income. He was a boxer as a teenager, managed by his family friend, Pino “Pinito” Molina. He claims to have never lost a fight. But he retired after a short career because his mother was so worried. He was a farmer and railroad worker from age 12 to 14. During that time, he searched for firewood, agave shoots, wild honey, and rattlesnakes (for meat) near the ancient ruins of Paquime, nestled in the mountains surrounding his village. Among the ruins, he discovered ancient pottery shards made by people from the Casas Grandes culture, a civilization that flourished from the twelfth century to the fifteenth century. Their pottery usually has a reddish surface, decorated by red, blue, black, or brown colors.

After studying the shards that he had found in the mountains, and experimenting with his own pottery-making, Quezada finally learned how to replicate them. He had no instructions for making the pots, but his determination finally paid off. He made his first successful piece of pottery in 1971, the same year in which his second son, Juan Jr., was born. “It took him years of trial and error, but finally Juan Quezada taught himself to make a good copy of the ancient Indian designs,” says Macarena Hernández of Frontline/World PBS. In 2005, Hernández traveled deep into the arid Chihuahuan desert to film a documentary on the man who used his unique pottery-making talent to bring prosperity to the struggling village of Mata Ortiz. She was able to spend much time with Quezada and the other potters. She describes Quezada as “like a character out of a Mexican fable and someone who is deeply connected to the land.” Quezada has considerable knowledge about the natural resources surrounding his community, particularly about where to locate the clay and minerals needed for making and designing the pottery.

The Mata Ortiz potters dig up red, gray, and very rare white clay in the hills near their village. The clay is purified over several days using filters and basins. Sand is used to keep the clay from cracking. After the pots are made, they are fired outdoors using dried cow chips. Quezada uses his own special technique called the “single-coil method.” He starts by pressing a large clay doughnut on top of a clay tortilla. Then he pinches the fat coil of clay to form the pot and uses a saw blade to smooth its surface. To produce the colorful reds and deep blacks on his work, he uses iron oxide and manganese deposits found in the countryside. After he paints intricate designs using a tiny paintbrush made of human hair, he buffs the pot with bone fragments. “Every pot speaks to me differently,” Quezada says. He makes a variety of different containers. Some are low, open bowls called cazuelas. Other bowls, called cajetes, are taller. He also makes tall, narrow percussion instruments called cantaros. Today, his pots sell as high as $10,000, with the average piece selling for $3,500.

Quezada has always focused on quality rather than quantity, a principle he has instilled in all Mata Ortiz potters. From early on, he wanted his whole village to share in his success, so he taught the craft to his family, friends, and neighbors. “I remembered a proverb my mother used to say: ‘You don’t give a fish to the needy; you teach them how to fish,’” he says. His youngest sister, Lydia Quezada, was his first and most talented student. She and her husband, Rito Talavera, and their two children, Moroni and Pabla Talavera Quezada, are all experts in the Mata Ortiz style. His other siblings, Reynalda, Consolación, Genoveva, Jesús, Nicholas, Reynaldo, and Rosa are all talented artists who make pots similar to those found in Paquime. His brother Nicholas Quezada is considered one of the top four potters of Mata Ortiz. His polychrome ollas, or ceramic jars, with their geometric designs, sell for as much as $2,500 each. His nephew, Damian Quezada, another top artist in the family, also makes highly artistic polychrome jars. And his other nephew, Jaime Quezada, makes some of the most exquisitely detailed black-on-black pots in Mata Ortiz. Today, over 300 families in Mata Ortiz earn their income from making pottery.

Marketing the pots was extremely challenging for Quezada at first. In the beginning, he and other potters in his village made works that they traded at the border for used clothing and other goods. But Quezada’s luck changed when he met Spencer Heath MacCallum, an anthropologist and art collector who discovered three of his ceramic pots in a New Mexico junk store called Bob’s Swap Shop in 1976. MacCallum was impressed by their perfect symmetry and intricate red- and black-painted geometric designs. “Those pots seemed to have a life of their own, MacCallum recalls. “It’s as if they stood up and shouted, ‘Look at us, we were made by someone who knows who he is.’” Unable to get the pottery out of his mind, MacCallum went searching for the mysterious artist who made the works. He followed his leads to Chihuahua, where he literally went from door to door, from settlement to settlement, showing photographs of the pots to any random stranger he could find. He eventually found Quezada at his village of Mata Ortiz. Quezada was suspicious at first, hardly believing that anyone would show interest in his artwork. But MacCallum convinced him to make more pots and he travelled back to Mata Ortiz on several more occasions. He encouraged Quezada to continue honing his craft and gave him a stipend. With the extra income, Quezada was able to take the time he needed to perfect his form and designs. Over an eight-year period, MacCallum helped him to develop business contacts and to show his wares to gallery owners and museum curators. In 1979 and 1980, Quezada was able to showcase his works in prominent galleries in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. His pottery was exhibited under the name of Juan Quezada and the New Tradition. This established Quezada’s pottery as part of a legitimate art movement.

Another influential figure in the marketing of Mata Ortiz art is consultant and pottery collector Walt Parks. Since 1984, Parks has been Quezada’s most dedicated promoter. In the last 30 years, he has made over 50 trips to Quezada’s village, helping to bring his work to the American market. Parks was instrumental in organizing sales and exhibitions during the 1990s and early 2000s. Today, he continues to write and teach about Mata Ortiz pottery. Quezada also

enlisted the help of his close friend and former boxing manager, Molina, who read over complex legal contracts with Mata Ortiz potters to ensure that they were not being taken advantage of.

Mata Ortiz pottery has been exhibited throughout North and South America. From 1999 to 2001, there were 16 major museum exhibitions in Mexico and the United States featuring the works of Quezada and other Mata Ortiz potters. Quezada’s pottery was exhibited at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City in 1999. In 2001, his art was showcased at the San Diego Museum of Man and the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe. His work was featured at the American Ceramic Museum of Art in 2007. Quezada’s pottery, along with the works of other Mata Ortiz potters, and some ancient pots from Casas Grande, can be seen at the Amerind Foundation Museum in Dragoon, located about 60 miles east of Tucson in Arizona. In 2016, the work of Lydia Quezada, her son Moroni, and her daughter Pabla, was displayed at Quail Creek’s Kino Conference Center. Galleria de Ollas in Puerto Vallarta exclusively features Mata Ortiz pottery. The gallery now displays works from the second and third generations of the Quezada family, who incorporate their own styles of pottery-making while retaining the methods used by Juan Quezada.

Mata Ortiz pottery is owned by collectors from around the world, including the Pope, First Lady Laura Bush, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Walt and Betty Parks, and numerous Mexican dignitaries. The pottery can be bought for as little as $5, but some of the more expensive pieces sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Quezada and the Mata Ortiz potters have been featured in several books, including Juan Quezada and the New Tradition (1979), The Story of Casas Grandes Pottery (1991), The Many Faces of Mata Ortiz (1999), Juan Quezada (2003), The Pot that Juan Built (2011), The Miracle of Mata Ortiz: Juan Quezada and the Potters of Northern Chihuahua ( 2012), and Mata Ortiz Pottery Buyer’s Guide (2016). Quezada has also won prestigious awards. In 1998, he received a plaque from the state of Chihuahua. In 1999, he received the Premio de Nacional de los Artez, the highest honor that Mexico gives to living artists.

Quezada and his wife, Guille, live at Rancho Barro Blanco, named in honor of the pottery, on a rocky bank of the Palanganas River. The ranch overlooks his old village of Mata Ortiz only a few miles away. Quezada is usually seen wearing a cowboy hat and boots and has a pet javelina named Javier. He prefers the solitude of the wilderness to interacting with family and friends, but he is a gracious host to all who visit. Every household in Mata Ortiz now practices pottery-making. Each potter has their own style, but they all keep true to Quezada’s vision.  The people in the area still sing songs to honor the man who saved their village from economic ruin. Mata Ortiz is now a thriving community of more than 500 artists making high quality pottery.


Image: untitled black ware vessel by Jaime Quezada, photographed by the Barrick staff. This work was donated to the Barrick Collection in honor of Randy Plumley.