Desire for Magic: Patrick Nagatani 1978-2008

The exhibition:
University of New Mexico Art Museum
September 10 to December 19, 2010
Opening Reception: September 10, UNM Art Museum, 5-7pm

The University of New Mexico Art Museum is honored to present the retrospective Desire for Magic: Patrick Nagatani 1978-2008. This project is the first comprehensive exhibition of the many and varied projects of New Mexico-based photographer Patrick Ryoichi Nagatani who has worked as a photographer and artist since the 1970s. It will include examples from his Nagatani/Tracey Polaroid Collaborations, the Japanese American Concentration Camp portfolio, Nuclear Enchantment, Novellas, Nagatani/Ryoichi Excavations, Chromatherapy series; and the large-scale masking tape works, Tape-estries. This exhibition is the first to bring together these tour-de-force seminal projects.

The book:
Desire for Magic: Patrick Nagatani 1978-2008, edited by Michele M. Penhall, foreword by E. Luanne McKinnon, with essays by Jasmine Alinder, Kirsten Pai Buick, Barbara Hitchcock, Kathleen Stewart Howe, Ruthie Macha, Maria Antonella Pelizzari, and Michele M. Penhall.

designed by Christopher Kaltenbach

The distinctive monograph is the first publication to survey the major photographic campaigns Patrick Nagatani (b. 1945) has completed during his long and still unfolding career. It includes seven critical essays by distinguished scholars each addressing a specific project from a unique perspective, a comprehensive bibliography and exhibition history, and previously unpublished texts significant to particular projects. With 122 color plates and five gatefolds, the book provides for the reader, an opportunity to see the breadth and range of Nagatani’s color photography, and to see into the elaborately constructed worlds of his imagination.

Desire For Magic: Patrick Nagatani 1978-2008
Michele Penhall
University of New Mexico Press
12 x 12 inches, 260 pages, 12 color plates, 5 gate folds, 2 maps, 1 die cut
$75 hardcover

available at:

University of New Mexico Art Museum - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Photo-Eye Gallery & Bookstore - Santa Fe, New Mexico

Amazon -

Colin Edgington

The Panopoly of Adroitness: on Patrick Nagatani and his Desire for Magic

Exposure Magazine, The Journal of the Society for Photographic Education, Fall 2011

Space and time peculiar to the image is none other than the world of magic, a world in which everything is repeated and in which everything participates in a
significant context.  - Vilem Flusseri

Each moment is all being, is the entire world. Reflect now whether any being or any world is left out of the present moment  - Dōgen Zenjiii  

The image arose as an intermediary of understanding, a node of interconnection, between the human mind and the absolute presence of the physical world. A desire for images to last, as seen through the phenomena of perception, became essential in human expression; evidence marking the faces of rock in places such as the caves of Lascaux. It allowed us to make sense of the physical world while imposing our mark upon it. The photograph, upon its invention, became a tool used, like text, to reinforce linearity, to keep progression in line. It allowed us to collect, in bits, what was ‘out there’, bringing us closer, emblematically, to that which was not immediately accessible. Used as records, the photograph provides the illusion of concreteness, of actuality. In this way, images and photographs become history and life, informing our every action, our every gesture, reducing us to its producing and consuming somnambulate.... read more