"Oh, yeah," Candace Tangorra Matelic says when asked if the the Center for Contemporary Arts' latest venture, Atomic Surplus, is more than just an art exhibit.

Examining the idiosyncrasies that come along with living near the birthplace of the atomic bomb,
Surplus addresses our state's role in its creation through art, science, a satellite lecture and film series, a sub-exhibition of historic artworks, an essay-driven catalogue and a field-based children's education program. 

"It's an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary program," Tangorra Matelic, the CCA's executive director, tells SFR. "We are having an exhibit, a film series, a big education program both here and Los Alamos…it's really complex," she continues, assuring "it's the biggest thing we've ever done."

As well as encasing never-before-seen works by Tony Price, Atomic Surplus features a stable of international artists from countries affected in one way or another by nuclear legacy—from Japan to Switzerland—and also serves as the official unveiling of the CCA's newly reconfigured gallery.

"When curating group exhibitions, I strive not to create a precise narrative, but rather offer many points of entry for deeper consideration," Erin Elder, CCA's visual arts director says of her approach. "I think of each project as stakes on the edge of a tent; how the tent is erected or what shape it takes is really up to the individual doing that lifting."

"I expect audiences to find interesting connections and tensions between the projects and artworks, but what meaning they assign to them or to the whole exhibition is up to individual interpretation," Elder says. She hopes Atomic Surplus and all its periphery events "create a space for dialog about a regionally significant subject that has various global and contemporary impacts."

Coinciding with the kick-off to the center's 35th anniversary, the herculean exhibit comes as a result of a partnership between the CCA, the Los Alamos Historical Society, The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, and others. 

"We've worked with many different people to create a scattershot of perspectives that are really only a sampling and an invitation for audiences to coauthor the narratives around nuclear legacy," says Elder.

Along with the main exhibit which features the work of 12 artists, Surplus' programming includes special events through the end of the year that highlight artistic and intellectual creation in the post-atomic world.

"This is an important subject that, because it is so potent, is perfect for an art-driven discourse," Elder concludes.

Atomic Surplus
6-8 pm Friday, Oct.11
CCA, 1050 Old Pecos Trail,