November 21, 2018 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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An Evening with Chipper Thompson Larry Bell and Guitars
Saturday, September 8, 2018 - 7:00 pm

An Evening with Chipper Thompson Larry Bell and Guitars

Arthur Bell Auditorium


Larry Bell, whose Hocus, Focus and 12 exhibition fills four of the museum’s galleries, has collected guitars for as long as he’s been an artist. That’s going on 60 years. His collection, mostly twelve-strings, has inspired his imagery and provided hours of relaxation and camaraderie with musician friends. This evening, musician Chipper Thompson will make music with a few of Bell's guitars in an event the musician calls "12-on-12: an evening of songs, stories and 12-string guitars."

Chipper Thompson had already been playing music for years when he moved from Athens, Alabama to Talpa, New Mexico, where he discovered as one of his new neighbors the artist Larry Bell - and Bell’s large and growing collection of 12-string (and other) guitars.

Thompson himself had a fairly large collection of musical instruments, and there the seeds of a friendship were sown.

Now, with the show Larry Bell: Hocus, Focus and 12 in which Bell has displayed some of his 12-string guitars, Larry suggested Chipper as one of the musicians to play an accompanying concert at the Harwood.

Chipper’s concept for the show was immediate: 12 songs played on 12-string guitars, leaving plenty of time to talk about both the songs and the instruments, and the better to display the variety of sounds that these remarkable guitars can produce. “The 12-string guitar is an amazing thing,” says Thompson. “They’re kind of benign monsters in a way - sometimes insanely hard to handle but producing this huge, yet warm sound that is irresistible. I’ve always owned and loved them.”

Chipper will be using a few of his own 12-string guitars in the performance, but the bulk of them will be from Larry Bell’s collection, thus augmenting what’s on display already at the Harwood. Included will be songs played on guitars by familiar American manufacturers Martin and Gibson, but also by local luthier (guitar-maker) Patch Rubin and some other oddities like a Tex-Mex “Bajo-Quinto” and a cross between a guitar and a middle-eastern oud. Special microphones will be set up so that each guitar will be heard exactly as it is, with no added “sonic color” from the electronics.

Chipper is bringing some friends along for a few surprises, but will be principally accompanied by his wife, noted Taos musician Kim Treiber-Thompson, on bass guitar and harmony vocals.

The conversation and music begins at 7:00pm but the museum doors will open at 6:30. Come early to visit the Scott Gallery upstairs where 12 twelve string guitars and 12 of Bell’s Church Study mirage works hang side by side. See the influence!

$15 general, $12 members