The Way We Live
American Indian Art of the Great Basin and the Sierra Nevada

This exhibition surveys contemporary art made by American Indians in the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada region. In January 2011, the Nevada Museum of Art, in association with the Pyramid Lake Museum/Visitors Center in Nixon, Nevada, issued a call for artists to submit works addressing issues relating to concepts of the changing environment. The purpose of the project is to encourage the creation of new artworks in a range of media.

The 400,000-square mile-region known as the Great Basin is the largest watershed in North America which does not drain to an ocean.

Featuring contemporary artworks by Dugan Aguilar, Ben Aleck, Melvin J. Brown, Farrell Cunningham, Black Eagle, Billy Hawk Enos, Donna Featherstone, Micqaela Jones-Crouch, Jean LaMarr, Frank LaPena, Judith Lowry, Jack Malotte, Melissa Melero, Ramon Murillo, Clayton B. Sampson, Paul Stone, Ray Valdez and Alan Wallace.

Artists were encouraged to consider the following themes: a) ecology, ecosystems, and natural environments, b) animals, animal life and the environment, c) land use, the built environment, conflict, and politics; d) spiritual worldviews and the environment; e) changing relationships to the environment.

Exhibition sponsorship provided by Barrick Gold of North America and the National Endowment for the Arts. Premiere and Program sponsorship provided by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies with additional funding provided by The Nevada Arts Council, a state agency. Additional program support provided by the Eldorado Hotel Casino.


Related Programs and Events

  • Educators' Evening: The Light Circus: Art of Nevada Neon and American Indian Art of the Great Basin and the Sierra Nevada

    Thursday November 1, 2012 / 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

    Local educators are invited to a special reception featuring The Light Circus: Art of Nevada Neon and American Indian Art of the Great Basin and the Sierra Nevada. Join Charles N. Mathewson Curator of Education Colin M. Robertson for an introduction to each of these exciting exhibitions and join us in conversations about the intersections of Art and Environment in both traditional and contemporary art.

    Light refreshments will be served and registered participants will receive materials for use in the classroom based on themes found in the exhibitions. Please note, classroom resources will be designed for K-6th grade, though may be adapted for other grades.

    Reserve a space for this event by emailing Jacque Dawson. Please include your name, school and grade level.

    Space is limited and preference is given to Northern Nevada public school teachers. Private and home school educators will be registered as space permits.

    Attendance to the reception is FREE for educators, thanks to the generosity of The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc.

  • The Way We Live Exhibition Premiere and Program

    Thursday November 8, 2012 / 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

    Celebrate the opening of The Way We Live with the artists represented in the exhibition. A dialogue among the artists and Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, will be followed by cultural performances and a reception.

    Advance ticket purchase includes entry to all Museum and TMCC events November 8 and 9, and includes admission to TMCC Distinguished Speaker lecture given by Lucy Lippard.

    Event sponsored by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and funded, in part, by the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

  • Mixed Blessings Symposium

    Friday November 9, 2012 / 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

    Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) and the Nevada Museum of Art have joined together to host the Mixed Blessings Symposium. The symposium, inspired by Lucy R. Lippard’s book, “Mixed Blessings, New Art in Multicultural America,” will feature presentations and creative projects inspired by American artists of mixed ethnic identities. Ticket includes admission to The Way We Live Exhibition Program and Party on Thursday, November 8 and the Mixed Blessings Symposium on Friday, November 9, 2012. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for Museum members/students and include free admission to the exhibition program and party as well as TMCC’s Distinguished Speakers Series.


    10 to 2pm | Ceramics RAKU Workshop Melanie Yazzie, artist TMCC Red Mountain Building, Room 215

    10 to 11:30am | Still Playing Indian: Contemporary Manifestations of Non-Indian Americans Acting Out the Noble Savage Fantasy Myrton Running Wolf, producer, writer and director TMCC Student Center, Red Mountain Building

    12 noon | Galleries tour Candace Nicol, TMCC Galleries Curator

    2 to 4:30pm | Panel Discussion: A Symbolic Geography of Cross Cultural Art and Language Dr. Barbara Wright-Sanders, Melanie Yazzie, Rafael Lopez De San Ramon, and Tia Flores TMCC Student Center, Red Mountain Building

    5 to 7pm | Artists’ Reception TMCC Main Gallery

    7pm | Lucy Lippard, Keynote Speaker, TMCC Distinguished Speaker Series Undermining: A Look at The Environment,Native Sacred Spaces and Art

    The Mixed Blessings Symposium and TMCC Distinguished Speaker Series is funded, in part, by a grant from the Nevada Humanities, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts,a federal agency.

    TMCC is an EEO/AA institution and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, race, color, religion, disability, national origin or sexual orientation in the programs or activities which it operates.

  • Meet the Artist: Melissa Melero on The Way We Live

    Friday December 14, 2012 / 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm

    Contemporary artist Melissa Melero’s paintings are vivid expressions and explorations of her Pyramid Lake Paiute and Shoshone heritage, exploring the nature of the materials native to the Great Basin region. Learn about the state of contemporary American Indian art in the Great Basin from Melero.

Micqaela Jones, Granddaughters Ride of Futility, 2012. Mixed media, 36” x 48”. Courtesy of the artist.

Melissa Melero, Tommo (Winter), 2012. Mixed media with willow on canvas, 50” x 50”. Courtesy of the artist.

American Indian Art of the Great Basin and the Sierra Nevada