New Mexico Art Tells its History

Cochiti Lake, New Mexico

Cochiti Lake, New Mexico, 1983
Edward Ranney (American, born 1942)
selenium toned gelatin silver print, 14 x 18 1/4 in. (35.6 x 46.4 cm)
Gift of Edward Ranney from the New Mexico Photographic Survey Project funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1985
1985.117.2

Edward Ranney, a native of Chicago, received a B.A. in English and Spanish Literature from Yale University and traveled to Peru on a Fulbright Fellowship for anthropological and literary fieldwork. Captivated by Incan stonework he began an annual photographic pilgrimage to Peru, resulting in a substantial body of work devoted to pre-Columbian art and architecture. Ranney also has photographed extensively in the American Southwest, particularly in New Mexico, where he has made his home since 1970. These images follow the history of settlement in the region, from the remains of Native American sites that quietly populate the desert, to villages of Hispanic ancestry, to the water and power grid that now shapes much of the contemporary West). In 1979, Ranney began an ongoing collaboration with the artist Charles Ross, documenting the evolution of Ross’ earthwork sculpture, Star Axis, a monumental naked-eye celestial observatory being carved into a cliff face in eastern New Mexico.

Reflective Questions and Activities:

E/S Where is Chochiti Lake? What is its importance to the Cochiti Pueblo people? Why were they opposed to the building of the dam?  
E/S What is the importance of the Cochiti Dam that was built there? What are its current functions?  
E/S In addition to documenting this location, what other reasons might the photographer have in showing this view of the dam?  

 

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