Bruce Jackson (b. 1936), Stone House, December 2012; photograph; Courtesy of the artist

Bruce Jackson (b. 1936), Stone House, December 2012; photograph; Courtesy of the artist

Bruce Jackson Being There: Stone Bridge and Purple Bikini

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Throughout the run of Being There: Bruce Jackson Photographs 1962-2010, the artist is sharing some of the stories behind his photographs.Being There is on view until June 16, 2013. The catalog accompanying the exhibition is available at The Museum Store at the Burchfield Penney.


My son, Michael, one of his friends, Geno McManus, and I were driving last December from Guadaloupe Mountain in west Texas to El Paso, where would get our planes home—Michael to Los Angeles and Geno and I to Buffalo. That area is part of the northern Chihuahuan desert and it is, for the most part, devoid of habitation. There are a few houses, but not many, and most of the ones we saw were derelict.We came upon this one a few miles north of a place called Salt Flat. I like this photograph not only for the symmetry the complex textures, and the subtle colors of the stones, but because it feels like a Magritte. You look through those windows and it's like you're looking into a world different from the world on either side of the house, but of course you're not, it's exactly the same. Frames do things to how you see. Just before we left, Geno looked inside and said, "There's somebody's purple bikini panties in here." So there was, along with a hypodermic strings and several empty green and yellow syringe capsules. We left there with more questions that we had when we arrived: why would anyone build a stone house in a desolate area like that and how long had it been vacant? When did it go derelict? Why is there no detritus of a roof? Why would anyone go there to shoot up? Why didn't the owner of the purple bikini panties take them along when she left that roofless stone house in the Chihuahuan desert? (Both of these were shot with a Leica M9, 28mm lens.)

-Bruce Jackson