August 13, 2020

Imagine yourself walking into a gallery with clean white walls adorned with subjects on bare wood panels. A large video is projected on the back wall featuring a group of crowded people moving in a chaotic but controlled curricular motion. The subjects on the wood panels are realistically rendered and showcasing ever tender mark with care. You take a step back and notice the subjects in these paintings, drawings, and videos are ones you don’t see frequently in museums. The subjects are from often-overlooked communities of color: punks, queers, activists, and artists. For you they may just be portraits in a museum, but to the artist, Shizu Saldamando, their importance is influential. This small, but mighty, catalog for southwestNET: Shizu Saldamando documents the solo exhibition by Shizu Saldamando at SMoCA in the summer of 2019.  

Galley installation view of southwestNET: Shizu Saldamando on view May 18 – Oct. 13, 2019 at SMoCA. Photo David Blakeman.

As the assistant retail manager for Scottsdale Arts, I handpicked this catalog for its importance of visibility of these communities in a cultural institution. Saldamando’s work uplifts the presence of these underground communities and affirms their identities in contemporary culture. Exhibiting Saldamando’s work in our Museum allows the artist and her acquaintances to be viewed by new audiences who may not be familiar with their communities. I have had a handful of conversations about Saldamando’s artwork while working at the admissions desk during this exhibition, ranging from encouraging and delighted words from Latinx members of our community to confused but intrigued groups of Scottsdale women. 

Shizu Saldamando, Grace and Ira, Golden Hour At and Despite Steele Indian School Park, 2019. Installation photo by David Blakeman.

This catalog allows one to have access to and reflect on the stunning works of art that they may have seen in person in the museum last summer or viewed for the first time on the pages. It also enables one to transcend the boundaries of viewing the artist’s work in a more private setting compared to a museum, to get to know the subjects and communities, and to break down the cultural barriers by making them visible.   

Get your copy of southwestNET: Shizu Saldamando online at Shop@SMoCA.

Take in an in-depth look at Shizu Saldamando’s work on Museum Musings.

Raechel Miller, assistant retail manager at Shop@SMoCA & The Store @ the Center

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