Carlsbad Caverns is one of New Mexico’s most renowned geological locations. Following its designation as a National Monument in 1923, painter Will Shuster, true to his adventurous spirit, was one of the first artists to capture the magnificence of the caves. The next year, he and fellow artist Walter Mruk made the trip to Carlsbad Caverns, where they were lowered into the cavern by bucket and painted by the light of lamps. Shuster was intent on capturing the geology of the caverns in a vibrant, Technicolor fashion.
When the New Mexico Museum of Art (MOA) displayed the Carlsbad paintings in 1925, a reviewer called them the “most extraordinary paintings shown here in a decade.” Shuster and Mruk’s were among the earliest artistic renderings of Carlsbad Caverns, the beauty and majesty of which has continued to enchant generations.
A Fiery Light: Will Shuster’s New Mexico, which is on view through July 25, 2021, includes work from Shuster’s time in Carlsbad Caverns. The exhibition also explores the legacy he developed in Santa Fe and elsewhere throughout New Mexico and emphasizes the significant artistic relationships he forged in the state.
To give visitors a deeper look at the exhibition, MOA will host a live-stream talk via Zoom, featuring curator, artist, and caver Lois Manno at 6 p.m. MDT on April 1, 2021. The author of Visions Underground: Carlsbad Caverns through the Artist’s Eye, Manno will explore the long history of artists working at Carlsbad Caverns, including Will Shuster.Christian Waguespack, curator of A Fiery Light, will also be in attendance to add his expertise to the discussion.
Viewers will also be treated to some of the current artistic and conservation work going on at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. A long-time volunteer with Carlsbad Caverns, Manno is a Fellow of the Cave Research Foundation, a Fellow of the National Speleological Society, and a founding member of the Society’s Fine Arts Salon. She has also served as the Director for the Cavern Arts Project with Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Link to register: https://nmculture-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_N7m8d5xYTY6ouVdWnAOE_A
The talk will also be available to stream live on MOA’s YouTube.