Over a 40-year career, Patrick Nagatani (1945-2017) created a diverse body of work that pushed the contours of photography. Constant themes of his work include truth in photography, the looping of time back on itself, magic realism, visual joy, apocalyptic moments, atomic bombs, photographic puns, color for healing, and Japanese internment.
In Nuclear Enchantment Nagatani continued to fabricate reality as he explored the true aftereffects of uranium mining, radioactive mine tailings, missiles, and nuclear waste. In his artist statement, Nagatani wrote, “My intentions are to raise public consciousness about the effects of New Mexico's nuclear industry that continues to grow despite the damage it has already caused and will continue to bring to the state.
The series, Nuclear Enchantment, attempts to awaken the many New Mexicans who still believe nuclear power poses no threat and that defense spending promotes the economy. Culturally and geographically connected to New Mexico, it is perceived by the elite powers as a place that can be abused and even reduced to rubble."
See Patrick Nagatani’s Nuclear Enchantment exhibition at Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art now through January 30.
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