The Sky, Once Choked With Stars, Will Slowly Darken (Nelson) and more art by Dario Robleto

The Sky, Once Choked With Stars, Will Slowly Darken (Nelson), 2011
20 x 20 cm (h x w)
Archival Digital Print
not for sale
[Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of the Des Moines Art Center Print Club, 2011.11]

(Commissioned Print & Gift Print, 2011)

San Antonio-native Dario Robleto is known for using rare and archaic materials, including vinyl records, dinosaur fossils, impact glass formed by meteorites, human tears, and heartbeats to create poetic statements that celebrate our faith in the materials and objects that shape our lives. The artist wrote about his Commissioned Print, “The image is taken from the live album, Rick Nelson: In Concert at the Troubadour 1969. The original image was Rick Nelson in the act of performing on stage, with a lighted backdrop illuminating the artist. The musician and all other imagery, including album text, have been digitally removed, leaving only the light sources that once lit him and his band.

Although the piece is very much about loss—of the virile body of the artist “live in concert,” of personal memories attached to these albums, of digital consumption of music no longer needing such outdated imagery of the artist, and of the slow death of the album itself—by using the simple act of digital erasure of an analog image and bringing the lights to center stage, I have tried to tease out this alternate narrative in the history of live albums that suggests even as the artists leave the stage, a moment—this moment—remains.

The visuals they create are meant to parallel NASA astronomical photography of the ’70s and ’80s. I was as captivated by the peripheral images of light and stage set-up on the album covers as I was by what might lie beneath the haziness of the planetary and stellar images coming from NASA. I have always understood the musical stage and outer space as similar cycles of evolution: birth, youth, death, re-birth.”

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