Sheldon Statewide: Roger Minick
Learn more about a work from the 2022-2023 Sheldon Statewide exhibition, “On The Road Again.” This photograph is titled "Airstream at Monument Valley, Arizona" and was made by Roger Minick in 1979. Sheldon Statewide is an annual program through which artworks from the museum’s collection travel to venues throughout Nebraska. Since its inception in 1987, the program has taken exhibitions to 25 communities, reaching more than 365,000 people. “On The Road Again” will be presented in Chadron, North Platte, McCook, Grand Island, York, Beatrice, Fremont, and Falls City.
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[00:00:08.640]Roger Minick grew up in the Ozarks of Arkansas,
[00:00:11.850]a place that may have inspired his career long interest
[00:00:14.640]in landscapes and location.
[00:00:17.070]While Minick was a student
[00:00:18.240]at the University of California Berkeley,
[00:00:21.203]he worked at the ASUC Studio,
[00:00:23.250]an arts facility open to students.
[00:00:25.800]Steve Fitch, whose work also features in this exhibition,
[00:00:29.160]also spent time at the same studios and worked with Minick.
[00:00:32.760]While there, he produced multiple projects,
[00:00:35.100]including" Delta West" in the 1960s,
[00:00:37.860]a collection of black and white photographs
[00:00:39.720]of a North California river delta
[00:00:42.510]that was listed as one of the 50 best books of the year
[00:00:45.420]by the American Institute of Graphic Art.
[00:00:48.150]He returned to Arkansas in 1970 to create "Hills of Home",
[00:00:51.930]another black and white photography project.
[00:00:55.170]In the mid to late 1970s,
[00:00:56.790]Minick's focus shifted slightly from the landscapes
[00:00:59.970]to the signs of humanity in the landscapes.
[00:01:02.850]This is evident in the two works in this exhibition,
[00:01:05.947]"Airstream at Monument Valley Arizona" and "Untitled".
[00:01:10.567]"Airstream at Monument Valley Arizona"
[00:01:12.780]is from the collaborative American Roads portfolio.
[00:01:16.200]It touches on some of the common themes in this exhibition
[00:01:19.080]and Minick's own work, travel, and a sense of place.
[00:01:23.340]Here, the iconic Airstream trailer can represent
[00:01:26.280]many different ideas, the freedom of travel,
[00:01:29.340]but also the disparity between the haves and have nots.
[00:01:32.790]Between those who can afford vacation,
[00:01:34.740]bringing a home with them at will,
[00:01:36.750]and those who may live in a similar version,
[00:01:38.760]but can only remain immobile.
[00:01:41.490]Even though we do not see any people in this photograph,
[00:01:44.340]we are free to imagine them either out, in,
[00:01:47.340]or driving through the vast landscape
[00:01:49.530]of the national monument.
[00:01:51.180]Or perhaps tucked inside the close quarters of the trailer.
[00:01:56.010]Roger Minick's other work on display here, "Untitled"
[00:01:59.190]from the new California Views portfolio,
[00:02:01.860]also demonstrates Minick's interest in the relationship
[00:02:04.830]between people and the land they travel.
[00:02:07.320]However, it differs from
[00:02:08.557]"Airstream at Monument Valley Arizona" in several ways.
[00:02:12.870]While we are outside the Airstream in this photograph
[00:02:15.240]in Monument Valley,
[00:02:16.740]in the untitled photograph, we are inside the vehicle,
[00:02:20.970]Both works feature clouds,
[00:02:22.500]but while those above the Airstream are white and puffy,
[00:02:25.680]the clouds above the road in "Untitled"
[00:02:27.780]are dark and ominous.
[00:02:30.240]In "Untitled", Minick puts the viewer in the driver's seat,
[00:02:33.600]showing us what he himself saw
[00:02:35.490]as he drove down this wide stretch of highway,
[00:02:38.340]including iconic features of a road trip in the west,
[00:02:40.920]such as palm trees and a star topped roadside sign.
[00:02:45.840]Minick continued making books of photography
[00:02:47.910]through the 1980s and '90s,
[00:02:50.130]and began bringing color into his body of work.
[00:02:53.280]He has also experimented with different types of cameras,
[00:02:56.220]including inexpensive plastic cameras and his iPhone.
[00:03:00.330]In addition to his own creative work,
[00:03:02.280]Minick helped design photographic book projects
[00:03:04.830]for other artists,
[00:03:06.420]including "Diesels and Dinosaurs" by Steve Fitch,
[00:03:09.150]whose work is also in the statewide exhibition.
[00:03:12.480]Having heard more about Roger Minick's career
[00:03:14.640]in photography and his artistic interests,
[00:03:17.160]look again at these two images.
[00:03:19.140]What other similarities and differences do you see?
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