Wednesday, October 6, 2010

DENNIS HOPPER, Two Graces, Ranchos de Taos, Dia de los Muertos

                     {Catharsis: Purification or purgation of the emotions primarily through art.}

DAY OF THE DEAD, the BOX, the nicho, the altar, the shrine...

...holds memories of what seems like so long ago:

...a time that was dreamy and as fresh as this young man on a horse wearing a western hat and riding freely through the sage on the pueblo land between the mountain and his new mud palace (the big house/ mabel's) that he'd just bought and escaped to...or so it seemed. But no escape for Dennis.

...that notion of "escape", a theme of the time, was one feeling that i shared with Dennis and many others who'd come to Taos, and across our country.

...a year working for Dennis and living at Mabel's was exciting, chaotic, unpredictable, cathartic. he was kind to me, and brilliant and vulnerable. he was overwhelmed and troubled too. the Mabel Dodge Luhan house was a busy scene of restoration, 'famous' visitors, editing of the Last Movie, and artworks arriving to join the Warhols, Lichtensteins, Price, Bruce Conners, Wallace Berman....a long list could continue.

A few years ago, i told Dennis that although i was just two years out of college in 1970, he was the one who'd given me a degree's worth of art, art in the real world. i learned daily about film, artists, movements, framing, poets, light, cropping, and passion for the work: and, of course, about people.
Reciprocity: I was intent on helping Dennis, and he certainly helped me. Perhaps, a "cathartic time"...

and so it seems that creating the BOX for Dennis and the Day of the Dead show at Two Graces gallery October 22 was definitely a cathartic experience for me...which began when visiting Dennis' grave this summer with his dear brother David.

In the spirit of Dia de los Muertos, the altar's elements include:
nourishment, water, food, B12, candles, incense, matches, crystals, a motorcycle, and other pieces that bring forth sweet memories.
poems and pictures are hidden.
kris kristofferson's lyrics from The Pilgrim, Chapter 33 are on the top.
personal photographs of mine have been scanned and included from the time at Mabel's and some more recents photos with David and Henry...and that little "snapshot" on the horse.
in the background are articles that were mailed to me by friends when Dennis died this year:
the LA Times, the NY Times, and the Taos News.


                                             "I heard the news today, oh boy..."

please check out 
link on my sideboard under
Sparks for Me. Robert is 
a wonderful writer, and the
gallery shop is an artist's


  1. wow... just stunned
    this is simply amazing Neva, so beautiful, intimate, perfect...
    are those wings on the side of the box or is it my imagination? your photo and signature are perfect as well
    and your header is spectacular!

  2. oh, thank you!! just shipped it off today, cat. yes, wooden wings, on hinges. it all feels good to me!

  3. what a beautiful and sensitive shrine to this man you knew and admired, I can sense his energy and passion here. And the beauty you saw and see because of him. take care...roxanne

  4. what a very personal tribute you have created ...

  5. Beautiful and poignant, Neva - a wonderful remembrance and tribute. The spirit of your time together shines through...xoxox

  6. Dennis was a complex spirit trapped inside a have done him proud. Thank you for sharing this glorious shrine. Imagine and Live in Pece, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  7. Love the wooden wings ....of course. The shrine is amazing, Neva! What a wonderful tribute.

  8. I love how you sound your voice and hold precious poignant moments and magnanimous relationships with the ephemeral. Breathing beauty. thank you sister. k

  9. Here is a time I wish I could write poetry which seems fitting for your beautiful personal shrine full of memories and tribute- but I can't--so my simple words will have to do-- your art work is a tribute to his memory.

  10. yes, it is beautiful! Congratulations! I will try to see it at Two Graces, Thanks And your are right, it should be a verb.

  11. I am thinking I need some little bottles. Maybe like the ones in your piece. Did you buy them?

  12. to all of you, you are always so encouraging! and poetic! and supportive! thank you!
    annell, i ordered those through amazon, a co. called astrodeals.

    and 'complex spirit trapped inside' a fitting descriptor...

  13. Amazing shrine - a beautiful homage.........

  14. generous, intimate, raw, real, poured your essence into this one Neva...beautifully done.

  15. In a flash we went from the 70's to now. How poignant to honor who you were then, and pay homage to a major influence in you life. The weaving of place, time and person in your shrine is so beautiful Neva.

  16. you shared a wonderful gift, entwined, carried into the future. lovely

  17. A wonderful post. (Glad I saw it, thanks to Cat's current post.)Your homage of words, photos, and art reveal an insightful and intriguing view of an iconic figure. Thanks so much for sharing.

  18. What a moving piece. I can see you put a lot of energy into creating this and it is a powerful tribute to a fascinating man. It is really very, very special.

  19. Thanks for sharing your shrine Neva. I knew you would do something wonderful to honor your friend.