‘Stop the Car, Dad!’ photos expose Nevada’s quirks, character
Capturing the roadside attraction of Nevada’s everyday sights and scenes, “Stop the Car, Dad!” takes viewers on a digital trip along the state’s sometimes overlooked highways and back roads.
Erik Lauritzen’s exhibit of 30 photographs is being featured at the Nevada Arts Council’s OXS Gallery through Sept. 14.
“I think a lot of people have driven through some of these places and have seen things like this along the road,” said Nevada Arts Council’s Fran Morrow. “From abandoned military installations to roadside architecture that reflects local flair, the sites Lauritzen photographed reveal a certain irony often underlying everyday encounters in the Nevada desert.”
Lauritzen, who died in 2007, traveled the state with his mother, Martha, to capture the humorous, odd or otherwise striking objects scattered throughout the desert.
“The ‘Stop the Car’ series was the result of his and my love of the emptiness of the Nevada landscape and the odd attempts of people to change and affect the enormity of it,” Martha wrote of the exhibit. “The subjects were just strange encounters on the road – ephemeral things which caused one to stop and wonder why.”
Morrow said Lauritzen had a keen eye for the unusual, capturing with his lens what others might not even notice: A gate in Battle Mountain, a Volkswagen bug in Winnemucca, a solitary chair next to three crosses in Nixon.
“He really did a wonderful job,” she said. “Who else would look at that? It takes a great artist.”
The display has traveled the state, being showcased in some of the towns featured in the photographs.
“It gets out to places that don’t necessarily have an art experience,” said Felicia Archer, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. “So that’s really cool.”
The exhibit is one of a rotating series on display as part of the Nevada Arts Council’s Office eXhibition Series; each stays about three months.
It features artists who have been recognized by the council through its Artist Fellowships or the Governor’s Arts Awards. It is free and open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.