Sunday, March 12, 2006

DRAWN & QUARTERED

Gov. Bill Richardson, as reported by my colleague Dave Miles, is calling on New Mexicans to suggest design ideas for the state quarter, to be minted in 2007.



"From pueblo potters to Santa Fe painters, we know how to create amazing images," Richardson said. ... his preferred design would be something similar to the state's float in the Rose Bowl parade this past January, which featured an adobe-style church, chile ristras, Indians and Buffalo Soldiers,"

Don't forget the flamenco dancers ...

I liked this line in Dave's article:

Although the governor appeared on the float, he said he would not want to have his mug grace New Mexico's quarter.

Of course, Richardson originally said he wouldn't ride on the Rose Bowl float.

This state quarter business reminded me of an article in Slate back in 2002, one headlined "The State Quarters: Why are they so ugly?"

Most of the designs, usually chosen by a state commission appointed by the governor, are boring, timid, and cluttered—evidence of all that can go wrong when art is created by committee. They are also surprisingly revealing about the peculiar, parochial ways that states view themselves. ...

The quarters fall into three main categories: the single icon, the kitschy collage, and the tableau (or the good, the bad, and the ugly). The five collage quarters resemble '50s souvenir plates.


My money is on a collage-style quarter for New Mexico.

Though Richardson cautioned against trying to cram too many icons on a tiny quarter, I'm betting on unabashed clutter.

Many will want to include representations of the three largest cultures in New Mexico -- which most likely means a conquistador, an Eagle Dancer and a cowboy. Albuquerque probably will lobby hard for a hot-air balloon -- which might have to share the sky with a Virgin Galactic spaceship. The Zia symbol's got to be in there somewhere, and to symbolize Los Alamos, an atom symbol (that's so much more tasteful than a mushroom cloud). And don't forget the roadrunner, the yucca, maybe a Georgia O'Keeffe datura flower, and how about some bats flying out of Carlsbad Caverns?

If it was up to me, I'd keep it simple -- and a little surreal. Maybe a fat koshare eating a watermelon with a jackalope at his feet.

If you've got your own ideas, CLICK HERE for the official for information on how to submit it.

Remember, the deadline is May 12.

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