Western History & Genealogy Blog
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Across the Great Divide: A Photo Chronicle of the Counterculture
On view at Denver Public Library Oct 7- Dec 31, 2011
Opening Reception | Sunday, October 16, 2- 4:30 p.m.
Denver, Co – October 7, 2011 -- In 1969, Roberta Price received an academic grant from the State University of New York to travel west and explore and photograph the communes in New Mexico and Colorado. During her eight year journey, she took more than 3,500 images of commune life. One hundred and twenty one of these photos were published in the visual memoir titled: Across the Great Divide: A Photo Chronicle of the Counterculture. The exhibition of the same name, displaying 45 of these images, will be on view at the Denver Public Library, from October 7 – December 31, 2011. The opening reception with the artist is on Sunday, October 16, 2-4:30 p.m. Both the exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public.
Across the Great Divide: A Photo Chronicle of the Counterculture refers to the nearby Continental Divide, to the cultural divide between generations in the late 60s and the 70s, and to the temporal divide across which we now view these images. A number of images in the collection feature the famed Drop City, one of the first rural “hippie commune” formed in 1965, and Libre, a community in the Huerfano Valley of Southern Colorado, where Roberta lived and kept photographing for seven years. The Huerfano Valley was unique even in the hayday of the counterculture. It was the poorest county in Colorado, and land was cheap. It was a petrie dish for countercultural experiments, but it had been part of the battlefield of The Great Coalfield Wars, and perhaps for these and other reasons the locals were more tolerant than those in other places. After Allen Ginsburg visited, he once told a reporter it was “Heaven on Earth,” but Roberta’s memories and photographs show a life rooted in the physical world, in the dirt, the mundane, and sometimes in pain, but also in the frivolity and vitality of youth, with perhaps occasional glimpses of the sublime.