We Were Lost in Our Country
This exhibition takes its inspiration from the video, We Were Lost in Our Country (2019) by Tuan Andrew Nguyen, now in the Nevada Museum of Art’s collection. Nguyen’s powerful, moving-image work tells the remarkable story of the Ngurrara Canvas II (1997), which was made by a group of forty men and four women from the Walmajarri, Wangkajunga, Mangala and Juwaliny communities and language groups. They all convened at the Pirnini outstation in the Great Sandy Desert in the Kimberley region of Australia to discuss making a Native Title Claim to the Australian government. In order to do this, the community members and elders made a consequential decision: they would create a painting together that proved that they were the actual owners and original inhabitants of the land. To the Ngurrara people the monumental painting is a map, made from memory, of a place where their ancestors lived for over 40,000 years. It represents the direct connection to their land and the knowledge passed down for countless generations about what they refer to as Country. Fortunately, their claim was successful and thus, their achievement and legacy provides a remarkable model for the understanding and creation of political autonomy, culture, and identity. In the words of Nguyen, “We Were Lost in Our Country explores questions of personal agency, inherited trauma, and intergenerational transmission, through a conversation among ancestors and descendants.” Importantly, Nguyen conveys the story through his interviews with Indigenous Australians, so that they chronicle their own history and relationship with the land.
In the exhibition, the video is paired with a selection of Aboriginal paintings by artists from the Great Sandy Desert (also known as the Western Desert), some of whom were involved in painting the Ngurarra Canvas II, such as Jimmy Pike, Ngirlpirr Spider Snell, Mawukura Jimmy Nerrimah, and Tommy May Ngarralja. Most of the works are recent gifts from Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, and Dennis and Debra Scholl, and now are part of the Museum’s Robert S. And Dorothy J. Keyser Art of the Greater West Collection. In 2012, the Museum defined the Greater West as a “super region,” which broadens conventional definitions of the West by expanding the scope of the collection’s geographic emphasis to encompass a region generally bounded from Alaska to Patagonia and from Australia to the United States intermountain West. This is a geography of frontiers characterized by large expanses of open land, enormous natural resources, diverse Indigenous peoples, colonization, and the conflicts that inevitably arise when all four of those factors exist in the same place at the same time.
Cannupa Hanska Luger: Speechless
This exhibition features the multi-disciplinary work of Cannupa Hanska Luger (b. 1979), an artist who is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold and is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, and European descent. Working with a wide array of media—video, performance, ceramic, textiles, found materials, and most recently paper—Luger activates cultural and social awareness relating to contemporary experience through his combinatory large-scale installations. He creates vivid aesthetic environments where Indigenous voices are amplified and rediscovered through the formulation of his inventive artistic vocabulary that counters a colonialist or anthropological gaze.
As part of a recent residency at Dieu Donné in New York, Luger produced dozens of hand-crafted feathers made from paper, which will be displayed throughout the Newton and Louise Tarble Gallery, along with Native American bustles made with the feathers. A large-scale radio tower made of pine trees, feathers, and found objects will anchor the installation, with a surrounding array of speakers made from ceramic components. The concept of cargo cults underpins the installation—a phenomenon that developed as a result of military campaigns sending cargo to foreign lands inhabited by Indigenous people. This happened in the South Pacific, for instance, when the US military was based there during World War II. Cults formed around the supplies that arrived from the sky, when in fact it was colonizing forces occupying Indigenous lands. In Speechless, Luger provocatively interprets and creatively amplifies the problematic colonial history and the contested concept of cargo cults from an Indigenous perspective. The title further underscores the fact that, in the words of Luger, “communication is at the root of all ritual and technological development.” The exhibition asks important questions relating to human agency, language, and implements of control. Who gets to speak? Who has to bite their tongue? Whose messages are muted? What meanings remain to be discovered? Luger asserts that the concept of the exhibition “flips the Western gaze back on itself to reflect that in present day North American culture, we are all in a cargo cult.”
The exhibition is part of Luger’s ongoing project, Future Ancestral Technologies (FAT) that explores Indigenous futures presented through a lens of speculative fiction. In the project, he probes how to share technology with his ancestors as we move into a time where the environment becomes an increasingly important, even desperate concern. Luger describes FAT as “a methodology, a practice, and a way of future dreaming that harnesses the power of science fiction to shape collective thinking and reimagine the future on a global scale.” The natural world is a critical element of this work as realized through the direct relationship he and his ancestors had with the land, the nomadic technologies Indigenous people developed, and the sacred places to which they formed connections. Cumulatively, Luger’s work encourages us to think about the earth, not as a possession that humans dominate, but rather as something omnipresent with which humans must restore their bonds. “Sustaining ourselves means belonging to the environment,” he has stated.
For the duration of the exhibition, tribal communities will be offered free admission.
Roswitha Kima Smale, PhD
Maureen Mullarkey and Steve Miller
Garth Greenan Gallery, New York
Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity
The first retrospective exhibition of one of midcentury America’s most innovative artists to occur in nearly sixty years, Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity features approximately 120 works that span Adaline Kent’s (1900-1957) entire career and chart major thematic developments in the artist’s work as it progressed from figuration to abstraction. Encompassing a diverse range of media, the exhibition includes drawings, original pictures incised on Hydrocal (a type of plaster), sculptures both large and small, and a collection of terracottas—many of which have not been seen by the public in over half a century.
The exhibition title comes from the artist herself; Kent often wrote down many of her ideas on art, filling notebooks with her thoughts. In one poetic note entitled Classic Romantic Mystic, dated April 17, 1956, Kent mused, “I want to hear the click of authenticity.” The exhibition title underscores the drive that propelled her forward in her work and life: to create art that expressed a unique approach to timeless subjects.
Kent grew up in the shadow of Mt. Tampalais, and therefore with a love of the natural world that she shared with her husband Robert B. Howard. They often spent their summers exploring the High Sierra. Kent and Howard also spent winters skiing in the Tahoe region, often staying with close friend and fellow artist Jeanne Reynal, who had a house at nearby Soda Springs. They were among the first investors of Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, and Kent’s brother-in-law, Henry Temple Howard, would design the first chairlift in California. Kent was a self-admitted “addict of the High Sierra,” and the landscape infused her work as she translated her experience of time and space in the mountains into aesthetic form.
Although Kent’s work is not widely known today, she was featured in key 1940s and 1950s exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Bienal de São Paulo, and she exhibited with the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York. She was a peer of artists such as Ruth Asawa, Isamu Noguchi, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still. Kent was also a member of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most productive mid-century artistic clan, which included Charles H. Howard, Madge Knight, John Langley Howard, Robert Boardman Howard, Henry Temple Howard, and Jane Berlandina.
Jenny and Garrett Zook Sutton | Corporate Direct
Charles and Margaret Burback Foundation
Barbara and Tad Danz
Maureen Mullarkey and Steve Miller
Linda and Alvaro Pascotto
Six Talents Foundation
Roswitha Kima Smale, PhD
Kaya and Kevin Stanley
Betsy Burgess and Tim Bailey
Chica Charitable Trust
Evercore Wealth Management
Galen Howard Hilgard
Pamela Joyner and Fred Giuffrida
This exhibition—primarily drawn from the Nevada Museum of Art’s permanent collection—presents work that taps into and explores various kinds of ancestral frequencies. Ranging from Indigenous artists of the Great Basin to Australia, as well as artists examining their African and Latin American roots, the artists in the exhibition explore different modes of artistic expression that inspire connections to diverse cultural histories. The double entendre of the title further underscores how considerations of cultural belonging, in particular with respect to the human relationship to its natural environs, have become irregular and displaced with the advent of modernization and the industrial revolution. Together the works in the exhibition inspire us to listen to and tune in to the frequencies and ancestral wisdoms of the past.
Nevada Arts Council
Shifting Horizons is an exhibition featuring artworks and archival objects that have been gifted to or purchased by the Nevada Museum of Art in the past three years, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to integrating a range of artistic voices. It includes a diverse range of objects—from painting and sculpture to photography and video—that capture our focus on creative interactions with natural, built, and virtual environments. Artists in the exhibition include both familiar friends and those that are newly associated with the Museum, from Laura Aguilar and Nicholas Galanin to Allison Janae Hamilton and Tony Feher.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by the Nevada Museum of Art Collections Committee: Kathie Bartlett, Barbara Danz, Linda Frye, Marcia Growdon, Martha Hesse, Maureen Mullarkey, Kristi Overgaard, and Peter Stremmel.
In the Flow
This exhibition presents work by a group of artists who use a variety of media–from oil on canvas to computer code—to manifest the concept of flow in different ways. Whether channeling the rhythms of the natural world such as waves or wind into their work, or engaging in meticulous repeated gestures, these artists produce work that manifests finely honed skills and great effort—but that effort is invisible. Featured artists include Rowena Meeks Abdy; Lita Albuquerque; Karl Benjamin; Emilie Clark; Fawn Douglas; Joseph Feddersen; Rachel Hayes; Michael Heizer; Lordy Rodriguez; Hiroshi Sugimoto; Camille Utterback; and Takako Yamaguchi.
Judy Chicago: Dry Ice, Smoke, and Fireworks Archive
One of the most noteworthy responses to the monumental Land Art interventions came at the same time as their production. Beginning in 1968, the artist Judy Chicago embarked on a series of ephemeral Atmospheres performances using colored smokes and fireworks in the deserts of the American West that were intended to “soften that macho Land Art scene,” as she puts it. Long overlooked by art historians and scholars, Chicago’s Atmospheres series provides a critical counterpoint and essential context to the predominantly male Land Artists working in the desert during the 1960s and 70s. It is for this very reason that the Nevada Museum of Art began working with Chicago in 2018 to secure the acquisition of her entire fireworks archive for the Center for Art + Environment archive collection. This exhibition debuts the archive publicly for the first time, and features never-before-seen vintage photographs and 16 mm films, ephemera such as correspondence and permits, press coverage, related clothing, as well as large-scale photographs documenting the history of Chicago’s Atmospheres performances from 1968 to the present.
Barbara and Tad Danz
Where Art and Tech Collide
Drawn from the permanent collections of the Nevada Museum of Art with several key loans from contemporary artists, Where Art and Tech Collide highlights the various ways that artists use technology to inspire wonder and curiosity. Featuring artworks by Andy Diaz-Hope, Trevor Paglen, Kal Spelletich, Leo Villareal, and Gail Wight, among others, the exhibition ignites an exploration of the human relationship to the increasingly digital and artificial world of the future. Camille Utterback’s interactive digital work, Precarious, provides the centerpiece, where the motion of visitors results in colorful, constantly changing forms projected onto the gallery wall.
Every year, the Museum, in partnership with the Desert Research Institute’s Science Alive program, hosts a statewide conference to explore best practices in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Education. The 2020 NV STEAM Conference focuses on the T in STEAM, highlighting and celebrating the ways artists and interdisciplinary practitioners leverage new and emerging technologies to change the way we see the world. Art about technology, art made with technology, and art made by technology serve as springboards for thought, learning, and discussion.
Organized in conjunction with the 2020 NV STEAM Conference, a statewide education initiative.
City National Bank | An RBC Company
Galen Brown: Sine Cere
“Sincere,” first recorded in English in the 1530s, is from the Latin word sincerus, meaning “clean, pure, sound, etc.,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Born 1959 in Reno, artist Galen Brown creates work in drawing, printmaking, mixed media sculpture, and photography that embodies the adjective and resonates with intelligence and formal beauty. This exhibition takes a retrospective view of the Carson City-based artist’s work from the 1990s to the present, highlighting process-based bodies of work—including his massive drawings on scrap museum board, like Sine Cere—which he assembles over the course of many years. Educated at the San Francisco Art Institute, Brown’s painstaking and often obsessive practice results in works that demonstrate his commitment to erasing the boundaries between art and everyday life.
Maureen Mullarkey and Steve Miller
The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles from the Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection
The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles from the Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection presents 94 works by contemporary Aboriginal artists from Arnhem Land. Traditionally, these poles—named lorrkkon in the west and larrakitj in the east —marked the final point in Aboriginal mortuary rites. They signified the moment when the spirit of the deceased had finally returned home—when they had left all vestiges of the mundane “outside” world, and become one with the “inside” world of the ancestral realm. Today, these poles are made as works of art.
The artists included in the exhibition are some of the most respected contemporary artists working in Australia today. These include John Mawurndjul, who was recently honored with a retrospective at the Museum Tinguely in Basel, and Djambawa Marawili, whose work has been included in the Moscow, Istanbul and Sydney Biennales. Yet, it is not art world acclaim that these artists seek. The power of their work comes from its desire to communicate the persistence and beauty of Aboriginal culture to the world, to scratch beneath the surface and show what hides there.
The Inside World is drawn from the collections of Miami-based collectors and philanthropists Debra and Dennis Scholl. The exhibition is the third touring exhibition of their Aboriginal art collections, following the successful exhibitions Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artist from Aboriginal Australia, and No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting, which toured to 12 museums in North America. All three exhibitions are organized by the Nevada Museum of Art.
Edited by Henry F. Skerritt with contributions by Murray Garde, Louise Hamby, Howard Morphy, Kimberley Moulton, Diana Nawi, Wukun Wanambi, and David Wickens, this book explores the complex histories of memorial poles in Australia.