Tony PRICE US, 1937-2000
"We have got to demonstrate that we can clean up the legacy of the past. That way we can show we can deal with the waste of the future."
- Tony Price
Tony Price was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937. In 1967 he landed in El Rancho, New Mexico, having spent the 1960s traveling the US and Europe amongst concentric circles of artists, beatniks and emergent hippies. Near El Rancho in Los Alamos, he discovered Ed Grothus’ Black Hole, the famed laboratory salvage yard, and he began to create utilitarian objects such as chairs and tables and musical instruments, as well as wind chimes and gongs, out of the lab’s military-industrial “junk”.
Price was horrified by the bomb’s potential to thoroughly alter lives by its mere existence, and to end all life by its actual use. He began to create sculptures, and his most famous works are a group of deity-inspired masks created out of scrap metal, representing the faces of Spirit as seen by traditional cultures from around the world.
In 1983 filmmakers Glen Silber and Claudia Vianello completed a documentary on price titled “Atomic Artist” that aired nationally on PBS in 1986. In September 1986, Price was given a solo exhibition in the New Mexico Governor’s Gallery at the state capitol. The New Mexico Museum of Art organized a major retrospective in 2004 that traveled to the United Nations in 2005.
Price’s works of transformed nuclear detritus are celebrated and collected worldwide.