Magazine - March, 1989
Heavy Metal Message -
Scraps from atomic weapons are used to make antinuclear
LIFE Magazine - March, 1989
Photography by: Peter Menzel
Article By: John Neary
Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the foothills of the Sangre de
Christo Mountains, eerie robots loom out of the pinon
and juniper scrub. They suggest icons of the world's religions
- Buddhist, Christian and American Indian - and they have
titles like Hopi Nuclear Mudhead No.1 and Pontius
Pilot Award for Washing Hands of Nuclear Situation. Grim
humor is reflected not only in the names of these sculptures
but also in the recycled materials Tony Price uses to
create his works of art: The gleaming machined parts come
from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which does defense
work and in 1945 produced the first atomic weapon.
In that year Price, the
son of a Brooklyn stockbroker, was eight, and he began
preparing for Armageddon. "The minute the bomb was
introduced, a huge cloud was cast over the world,"
he says. "We've been living as nuclear hostages ever
since." After being expelled from a prep school,
Price joined the Marines. In the service he began painting
murals and protraits. Afet discharge he wroked as an illustrator
in New York before moving west. There in 1965 a friend
showed him some pieces of test tube bottles found inthe
Los Alamos salvage heaps, where a scrap auction is held
Price went to see for himself
and found wha the calls "a perfect mountain of art,"
piles of brass, stainless steel, aluminum, plastic and
bits of electronics thrown away by scientists and technicians.
Inspired by the aesthtic quality of this atomic junk pile,
he bought some pieces and began to fuse them - his own
way to beat swrds into plowshares.
Price works slowly, sometimes
taking a year to find just the right juxtaposition of
pieces. He welds, glues, drills and bolts until he has
the effigy that seems most evocative. The pieces have
an ominous beauty that has persuaded such notables as
musician James Taylor, fashoin designer Diane von Furstenberg
and Hollywood's Dennis Hopper to pay upwards of $3000
per Price. The work has been shown in New York's Battery
park and at several galleries. Tommy Hicks of the Shidoni
Gallery in Tesuque, New Mexico, explains, "Price
is a very primitive artist using some of the most advanced
technology. He's trying to turn out something good from
something destructive." Price himself says, "It's
a reverse voodoo system. It's my own catharsis of nuclear
tension. I hope it turns other people on to an avenue
where they can defeat the nuclear program." About
100 of his works are on display at TENGAM at Project Tibet
in Santa Fe.
That the message of his
medium is depressing may have a dampening effect on sales.
Says Price "We're usually running on the brink."
His wife of 11 years, Donna, a painter, teaches karate
to help feed Zara, nine, and son Tem, three. Price supplements
there income by carving marble and alabaster Indian statues
for tourists. He also sells books, tools and other finds
in a flea market. Extra monay goes into buying more of
the discarded parts at Los Alamos.
These days when he shops
at the plant he takes along a Geiger counter. Although
the technological deritus is supposed to have tested for
radioactivity before being sold, Price claims that a few
years back one of his pieces, called "Atomic Queen,"
was literally hot stuff.
The Last Salt
A Trophy For The Winners Of The Next Nuclear War
into a nighttime fireworks display
Magazine - December, 1998
Artist Tony Price
Reserve, New Mexico
Atomic Sculpture of Tony Price
THE Magazine - December, 1998
Photos by: Guy Cross
1965 sculptor Tony Price found himself in Los Alamos where production
pieces had been made for building atomic weapons were being sold
as scrap matrerial. While standing in line to buy some of this
historical slavage, Price had a flash: to create icons of the
world's religions out of this nuclear scrap with the intention
of plugging the two energies - atomic weapons and religion - together.
These sculptural pieces would then act as valves. Each sculpture
would set up a vibrational tunnel, an energy transference, allowing
the two energy systems to become doorways to each other. For 33
years Price has immersed himself in creating a body of work titled
Atomic Art that is an alchemical statement of what we as a human
beings have had to deal with in the 2oth century.
Film by Glenn Silber
& Claudia Vianello
minutes / Color / 1983
Aired on PBS - 1983
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Ph: (718) 488-8900
Fax: (718) 488-8642
over two decades, sculptor Tony Price has lived near Los Alamos
National Laboratory, birthplace of the atom bomb, to be near the
lab's junkyard. Price calls the yard "a mad scientist's scrapheap,"
filled with huge piles of exotic materials - rare metals, hemispheric
bomb casings, even prototypes of new weapons - which provide both
the inspiration and source materials for his "atomic art."
For Tony Price these nuclear scraps are the source materials for
his sculptures, as well as a catalyst for his art, which can be
described as literally "beating swords into plowshares."
the desert winds pick up they vibrate the metal sculptures, giving
play to Prices 'nuclear chimes.' It is a sound that the film leaves
echoing in the air long after the projector has shut off."
- Nuclear Times
"An excellent documentary." - San Francisco Chronicle
"This is an excellent program that captures the artist, his
work, and the statement he is making." - Bill Howie, Library
"A well made production about a unique artist and his work.
For college and public libraries." - Choice
"Nonstridently and aesthetically reflecting one man's unique
expression of opposition to the arms race, this production can
address programs on contemporary political and humanitarian issues
as well as on art appreciation in public libraries, community
and religious groups, art museums, and schools." - Booklist
of Atomic Art Exhibition
Liquid Wedge Gallery