H. Joe Waldrum By Kathleen Sloan HERALD Reporter 2008
H. Joe Waldrum is recognized as an avatar of the Truth or Consequences art scene. He is no longer alive, in the mundane sense, but his presence is palpable in his art, which is always displayed at Rio Bravo Fine Arts, once owned by him. Waldrum, opened his gallery July 31, 2001; provided an ‘anchor’ gallery and his own iconoclast presence, drawing other artists to the area. His gallery is located in the former Ace Hardware building which he acquired in a trade for several pieces of his artwork.
Waldrum’s life and by extension, art, is complex and contradictory. He did not eschew normalcy as much as he tried it and then rejected it as not suitable for him. In his book Ando en Cueros (I Walk Stark-naked), Waldrum describes his break with his religious indoctrination, academia, abstract expressionism, and exclusionary attitudes towards art.
He describes his post-graduate work at Fort Hays Kansas State College: “I felt as though the faculty was joking when they used "art-speak" in their lectures…later as a faculty member I could no longer feign student naiveté…They felt I should be more respectful; after all, they had allowed me into their inner circle. I felt bamboozled and I wanted out of the circle.”