Visual Vitriol: The New Mexico Exhibit

The Visual Vitriol exhibition at Plan B Evolving Arts, located in Santa Fe on the sinuous Old Pecos Trail, was curated by David Ensminger and Kirsten Gerdes, former interim director of the space who now works at the Denver Art Museum. It ran from April 20th thru May 16th 2001 and featured hundreds of posters. There was extensive press coverage, including the New Mexican, the Albuquerque Journal North, and the city weekly alternative paper.

The show did have some interesting moments, such as when the roof leaked the night before the show, causing posters hanging in the middle of the long wall to crumple and stain each other with watery ink. Staying true to the nature of instant/disposable handmade punk art, the curators simply went to Kinkos, where they made quality copies of the nearly ruined posters, albeit without some of the more distinct colors!

The show brought some keen punk art enthusiasts and veterans of the “scene” out, including a man who helped found the Resin record label in Albuquerque, known for its support of bands like Scared of Chaka, the Drags, and Elephant, among others. Also, a British expatriate showed up who recognized some of our British fliers from the hippie/punk peace movement that convened around Stonehenge in the mid-1980s. He was thrilled to see that we had preserved such event posters, since those gigs are rarely discussed in the history of UK punk.

Lastly, the event provided an opportunity to show extremely rare posters, like the full-sized Plimsouls/Blasters, Nuns, and Crime posters donated by Peter Case of the Plimsouls and the Nerves. The posters are part of the permanent collection, but since few venues can offer or afford the protection needed to house such items, the collection is rarely able to exhibit them. We hope that in the future these posters will again be open to the public on a regular basis.

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