In 2001, The New York Times sent me to Arizona to meet Fritz Scholder at his Scottsdale compound. My assignment was to write a profile of the artist. Over a period of days — and some late nights — I filled my notebooks with quotes, anecdotes, and even some unsolicited advice. And I shot roll after roll of film.
The result was a compelling feature for Arts & Leisure about Scholder and his life’s work, complete with my photographs. The story was published just one month prior to 9/11.
Over the next four years, the relationship deepened as Scholder and I corresponded regularly via mail and telephone. During numerous visits with Scholder at his Scottsdale home and studio and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I gained unfettered access to the artist’s stories, art, and the vast collections that inspired or figured prominently in some of his most iconic series of paintings, sculpture, and mixed media.
In February 2005, I was in Scottsdale on a magazine assignment when Scholder passed away. The Times called on me to write Scholder’s obituary.
The photographs in Assignment: Fritz Scholder have never been exhibited before. Ten years after Scholder’s death, this select group of images sheds light on the artist’s commitment to painting during his last years, his passion for living with his own art, books, and ephemera, including the occult objects he kept in his cabinet of curiosities. The portraits of the artist, his home, and studio reveal Scholder’s thirst for reinvention — even when faced with his own mortality.
Please join me for the opening reception on March 3, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Gebert Contemporary, 7160 Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251.
Read Joshua Brockman’s artist bio.
Read more about Joshua Brockman’s career as a writer and multimedia journalist.