Richard Alden Peterson

Curtis Center for the Arts

April 3 - 28, 2017

  • Opening Reception: Saturday, April 8, 6-8pm
  • Artist Talk: Saturday, April 15, 1pm
bruce connerArtist Bruce Conner as photographed by Richard Peterson

Richard Alden Peterson, a 65 year old California native, is an experimental Colorado photographer since 1987, an arts community organizer, a photography teacher, and creator of an ongoing creative artist portrait series originally instigated in conjunction with MCA Denver. His imaginative art photos have been exhibited widely, and are in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Richard became entranced by photography on his 12th birthday when his Uncle gifted him with a toy darkroom set. For more than 53 passionate years his obsessions with creative photography and writing led him to unexpected and exciting? adventures. Peterson sold his first prints in 8th grade when he created the class portrait, made the prints in a darkroom, and sold them to students for 50¢. Also, in 8th grade he taught darkroom techniques to 7th graders.

When 15, a rock radio station hired Richard to photograph 1960s celebrities backstage at concerts. Some of the bands included Turtles, Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Supremes, Mothers of Invention, Stone Poneys, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Cream and Ricky Nelson.

By the end of high school, Peterson was writing and photographing for the underground press in San Diego for the Door in the company of writers like Cameron Crowe, Lester Bangs and Mick Garris. In the mid-1970s, he became Aerial Photography for an early Punk 'zine, Search & Destroy, published by a City Lights Bookstore employee using funds from Allen Ginsberg. During this immersion into the eclectic San Francisco Punk scene, he photographed emerging legends passing through such as Iggy Pop, Blondie, Talking Heads, Ramones, and the imaginative characters of the local scene.

During the Punk era, Peterson met legendary artist Bruce Conner becoming a friend and work associate for 30 years. During the Conner years, Richard collaboratively created darkroom and digital prints for Bruce, and worked with him on several other projects. Bruce's retrospective "It's All True", including many collaborative works, and portraits of Bruce by Richard, premiered at MoMA in 2016, moved to SFMoMA, and is now in a museum in Madrid. In the 1980s Peterson moved from San Francisco to San Diego and opened a gallery named after an intersection of San Francisco alleyways, Pink and Pearl, where he exhibited the unique and powerful artists he met during the early Punk scene, and continued to create evocative and moody fine-art photographs, and a well-received body of collaborative works with his wife Sydney. Many gallery shows and reviews appeared during this period.

In 1987, he moved to Denver to work as an advertising photographer for an upscale fashion store, Printemps, which closed in 1989. He stayed in Colorado with a Denver studio, continuing to create atmospheric portraits, and manipulated images. In 2012, the far-sighted MCA Denver museum director Adam Lerner gave Richard his first museum show where he appeared alongside prints created for Bruce Conner with Punk photos and artist portraits. Richard's work also appeared in the traveling Mark Mothersbaugh Myopia show.

Richard currently works as a museum specialist photographing art events, artist portraits, and art installations. And, still a passionate and driven artist, he continually creates new and unique art at his mountaintop studio outside of Denver.

Curtis Center for the Arts
2349 East Orchard Road
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Mon-Fri: 8:30-4:30; Sat: 10-4


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