The Love Armor 10th Anniversary Exhibition & Community Outreach Program
The Center for Contemporary Arts, September 28 through October 7, with an opening reception on Friday from 5 to 7.
Don't miss our interviews on Friday, September 28th at 4:00 on Facebook LIVE!
The following was written in 2008 as a catalog essay for CCA's exhibition of artist Shirley Klinghoffer's Love Armor Project.
Although my work changes constantly, vulnerability and strength weave in and out, creating a unifying link--Shirley Klinghoffer
Shirley Klinghoffer's Love Armor Project is a present-day true-to-life ghost story. It is also, as are most ghost stories, a story of love and loss.
Working with the New Mexico National Guard, Klinghoffer took detailed measurements of the Humvee model M1026 - not your slick gangster-style ride, but the actual model currently employed at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, in order that a team of knitters and seamstresses ... could create a life-sized (15' x 7' x 6') fitted cozy for the military vehicle. Over the course of several months, more than 70 participants knit and stitched individually and at numerous "Love-Ins." The result is The Love Armor cozy. Klinghoffer's cozy serves as armor, a kind of loving protection for our military men and women in service to their country. Like a shroud turned into a bridal veil, the artwork offers defiant beauty where soldiers and civilians alike have found grief and horror.
The Humvee is to be driven into the 6,000-square-foot Munoz Waxman Gallery at the Santa Fe's Center for Contemporary Arts. Ironically, the gallery once was a tank repair station for the Guard, which sent 1, 800 New Mexico soldiers to the Philippines during World War II. The men, who were shipped overseas from the tank garage itself, ... were overwhelmed by the Japanese and forced to endure the notorious Bataan Death March and subsequent internment as prisoners of war. Only one-half of these young men returned home three and a half years later in 1945.
After the Humvee enters the gallery, the cozy will be fitted onto it. On the seventh anniversary of September 11th, the vehicle will be driven out of the gallery, leaving behind its ghost: the cozy floating eerily, poignant with the meaning and empty of substance. Absent the actual Humvee, can its ghost of sewn and knotted cords, a version of "women's work," heal the wounds of war, past and present?
Fast forward 10 years, and the bad news is that we are still engaged in a war in Afghanistan. The good news, however, highlights the progress that has since been made for our vets, with workshops on advances in neuroscience and art therapy. A performance by artist Acushla Bastible and a coterie of New Mexico veterans working with the Academy for the Love of Learning, and a color guard presentation at the opening reception this Friday indicates how far the military has come in terms of community acceptance.
For a full schedule of programming at CCA, please click here.
And for a wonderful article on how far we've come to date, please read Peter BG Shoemaker's article, More Than Words, in El Palacio magazine.