Tilting the Basin:
Contemporary Art of Nevada

Nevada Museum of Art Curatorial Director and Curator of Contemporary Art JoAnne Northrup has partnered with Las Vegas-based art advisor Michele Quinn to co-curate Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada. The exhibition bridges the divide between Northern and Southern Nevada communities and provides a wide-ranging overview and understanding of the most accomplished work being created by more than thirty artists living and working in Nevada today.

The first nationally significant exhibition presenting art made in Nevada occurred in 2007 with Las Vegas Diaspora: The Emergence of Contemporary Art from the Neon Homeland, on view at the Las Vegas Art Museum, which has since closed. Organized by the well-respected art critic and curator Dave Hickey, the exhibition celebrated the work of twenty-six artists, all of whom received their degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and studied with Hickey between 1990 and 2001 when he taught art theory and criticism in the Department of Art at UNLV.

Fast forward almost ten years later. After more than fifty artist studio visits in both Northern and Southern Nevada across Nevada, spanning Las Vegas to the south, Reno and Carson City in the north. Northrup and Quinn’s research revealed that the Nevada contemporary art scene does not evidence a singular aesthetic permeating artists’ work, but rather a wide array of practices and media. Nevada artists are creating innovative work ranging from painting, sculpture, and installation, to photography, interactive, and sound art. Their work is informed by popular culture, the natural environment, and landscape, as well as cultural identity, politics, and current events.

Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada aspires to provide contemporary dialogue aimed at enlightening our broader audiences to the richness of our entire arts community and how it can be a powerful tool in the growth of the great state of Nevada. The exhibition highlights the work of six artists in depth, showing several examples from each in a variety of media. Featured artists include Galen Brown, Justin Favela, Katie Lewis, David Ryan, Brent Sommerhauser, and Rachel Stiff. The remaining artists’ work will give visitors a wide-ranging picture of the art being created across Nevada today, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, mixed media, street art, installation, sound performance, fiber arts and new media. Some work, like that of Reno photographer Megan Berner, will live exclusively on social media. Berner plans to take daily photographs of the Northern Nevada sky for the eleven-week duration of the exhibition. The images will post to the Nevada Museum of Art Instagram account, allowing the community to view the body of work as it develops over time.

Additional collaborations and offsite installations are planned as well. Las Vegas-based artist Brent Sommerhauser will collaborate with Reno-based Holland Project and Nevada Museum of Art E.L. Cord Museum School to create small ‘sketches’ in glass by layering rich color combinations of glass powder, glass strings and other glass elements over handmade glass tiles that Sommerhauser will fire on-site in his kiln. The resulting tiles will be photographed and shared on the Nevada Museum of Art Instagram account and displayed in the E.L. Cord Museum School. The combined tiles will contribute to a growing work that will serve as a participant record. Performance art elements of the show include Justin Favela’s Family Fiesta.

Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada will be reprised in Las Vegas in 2017 at a venue to be determined. Artists chosen for the exhibition have not before had work prominently displayed at the Museum:

Las Vegas

Chris Bauder

Mark Brandvik

JW Caldwell

Matthew Couper

Gig Depio

Justin Favela

Sush Machida Gaikotsu

Shawn Hummel

Wendy Kveck

JK Russ

David Ryan

David Sanchez Burr

Sean Slattery

Brent Sommerhauser

Brent Holmes

Krystal Ramirez

Rachel Stiff


Megan Berner

Rebekah Bogard

Galen Brown

Erik Burke

Nate Clark

Tim Conder

Joseph DeLappe + Pete Froslie

Russell Dudley

Jeffrey Erickson

Jen Graham

Ahren Hertel

Katty Hoover

Eunkang Koh

Nick Larsen

Katie Lewis

Sarah Lillegard

Omar Pierce

Download the Press Release

Premier Sponsor: Stacie Mathewson and Doors to Recovery

Lead Sponsor: Wayne and Miriam Prim

Major Sponsor: Jacqueline Black

Supporting Sponsors: Maureen Mullarkey and Steve Miller; Nevada Arts Council; The Private Bank by Nevada State Bank

Sponsors: Kathie Bartlett; Elaine Cardinale; Barbara and Tad Danz; Dolan Law, LLC; Tammy M. and Brian E. Riggs; Sari and Ian Rogoff

Media Sponsors: Getaway Reno-Tahoe; Juxtapoz Magazine; KUNR Reno Public Radio; Nevada Magazine; Reno-Tahoe International Airport; Tahoe Quarterly; Western Art and Architecture

Galen Brown

Justin Favela

Katie Lewis

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