Museum of Contemporary Native Arts Opens New Exhibits this August

In August, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts celebrates the reopening of its main galleries by mounting six extraordinary exhibitions: Dry Ice: Alaska Native Artists and the Landscape; Oblique Drift: Nicolas Galanin, Round-UP, Matterings, It Wasn’t the Dream of Golden Cities and Apaches and Angels. While the exhibits go on display August 2, 2010 and remain up until January 2, 2011, a free, public opening reception for each will take place during the week of Indian Market on Thursday, August 19, 2010, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (108 Cathedral Place).

Museum members will be treated to an earlier opening reception and tour with the curator on Saturday, August 7, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. There is no cost for members to attend, however reservations are needed. Interested parties may call 505.428.5909.

A timely and engaging exhibition, Dry Ice: Alaska Native Artists and the Landscape explores the shifting significance of the Alaskan landscape in the face of environmental change and the oil crisis. “Dry ice”—a term that denotes frozen carbon dioxide, which when taken out of a frigid environment rapidly dissolves from a solid form into a gaseous state—is meant to evoke the shifting significance of the Alaskan polar landscape as expressed via contemporary Native art.

Dry Ice includes work by Alaskan Native artists Brian Adams (Inupiaq), Susie Bevins-Ericsen (Inupiaq), Perry Eaton (Koniagmuit/Alutiiq), Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Aleut), Anna Hoover (Aleut), Sonya Kelliher-Combs, (Inupiaq/Athabascan), Erica Lord (Inupiaq), Da-ka-xeen Mehner (Tlingit/N’ishga) and Larry McNeil (Tlingit/N’ishga). Each explores their relationship to the landscape through a variety of interpretations and media, combining traditional and innovative forms, from mask-making and skin sewing to photography and installation. Dry Ice was curated by Julie Decker of the International Gallery of Contemporary Art of Anchorage.

Oblique Drift is a solo exhibition featuring the work of Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Aleut). A skilled carver and mixed media artist, Galanin explores the dichotomy between the authentic and inauthentic by utilizing elements of photography, sculpture and installation as a means to negotiate concepts of interpretation, appropriation and the “cultural drift” that informs an appreciation between traditional and contemporary Northwest Coast art.

In this exhibit Galanin will showcase the “Curtis Legacy” where he strips masks, bodies and meaning down to reveal that, “The real strength in survival of Indigenous knowledge and culture lies within the ability to freely and creatively represent ourselves.” Shifting the colonial gaze from ethnography to pin-up, the Curtis Legacy series includes nude models wearing Indonesian made Tlingit masks. Referencing Edward Curtis photographs of the noble savage, these works lay bare the objectification of both the body and the sacred. Oblique Drift reveals Galanin’s desire for cultural continuity. This exhibit travels from grunt gallery in Vancouver, B.C., where it was curated byTania Willard (Secwepemc).

Round UP focuses on the video creations of Torry Mendoza (Mescalero Apache). Mendoza re-appropriates, deconstructs and challenges clichéd depictions of Native identity in popular media. Through digital editing, remixes and mash-ups, he calls attention to, and reverses, the socially accepted perceptions of “Indigeneity” and representation.

Taking a cue from the exhibition’s title, Round-UP re-examines a collection of subjects drawn from mass media. Mendoza’s artwork places personas such as the “Crying Indian” (portrayed by Iron Eyes Cody in the famous Keep America Beautiful campaign) within a conceptually centered sociopolitical context. Round-UP was originally organized by Urban Shaman, Inc. of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Rose Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo) inaugurates the museum’s newly formed Vision Project Gallery in Matterings, an exhibit featuring site-specific installation work. The Vision Project Gallery is an exhibition space developed in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts’ Vision Project – New Vocabulary in Native Art Criticism, a Ford Foundation funded initiative. The Vision Project Gallery will enhance the current state of the field of contemporary Native arts by presenting solo exhibitions by artists who reflect the vibrancy and potency of the field at its most current level of activity. Matterings is guest curated by Institute of American Indian Arts’ faculty member Michelle McGeough.

It Wasn’t the Dream of Golden Cities is a commissioned response to Santa Fe’s 400th anniversary celebration as created by Postcommodity, an interdisciplinary Native arts collective working to advance Indigenous cultural self-determination and to decolonize American geographies and narratives. The multi-faceted exhibition utilizes elements of sound, video, performance, installation and sculpture to recount histories stimulated from the commodification of political, social and cultural values. Postcommodity members include Raven Chacon (Navajo), Kade L. Twist (Cherokee), Steven Yazzie (Laguna/Navajo) and Nathan Young (Delaware/Kiowa/Pawnee).

Apaches and Angels features the work of Douglas Miles with Razelle Benally, Lynnette Haozous and Rebekah Miles. A site-specific work measuring 35 feet in length, Apaches and Angels incorporates hand drawn, hand cut stencil works from the Apache Skateboards team. The installation includes photographs by Brendan Moore.

For more information about any of these exhibits, call 505.428.5900 or visit To see programming related to the exhibits, please visit

The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts’ Mission

A leader in the acquisition and presentation of contemporary Native arts, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts advances scholarship, discourse and understanding through its innovative exhibitions, programs and dialog.

About the Museum

A center of the Institute of American Indian Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts is home to the largest collection of contemporary Native art in the world. A premier shopping destination, the Museum’s store offers the finest selection of contemporary Native arts and gifts from both emerging and established artists.

Museum hours are Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday: noon to 5 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays from November through May as well as major holidays. Adult admission is $5; senior citizens (62 and over), students with valid IDs and residents of NM: $2.50. Admission is free for Native people, Museum members, youth under the age of 16, and NM residents visiting on Sunday.

Museum admission has been waived Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 20 through 22, 2010.

IAIA’s Mission

To empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning and outreach

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