James Luna Gerald Clarke OMA Interior

Contemporary Native American Art from San Diego County


July 11 – December 12, 2010

Breaking stereotypes of Native American Art Defying Expectations Contemporary Native American Art from San Diego County examines the work of four contemporary Native American artists. Featured artists include James Luna, Gerald Clarke, Catherine Nelson-Rodriguez, and Raymond Lafferty. Works within the exhibit respond to issues of Native American identity and authenticity, but also to problems affecting the entire region, such as the housing crisis and water shortages. Defying Expectations is curated by Leah Cluff, a doctoral candidate at the University of California San Diego, in the Visual Arts department.

James Luna is perhaps best known for his 1987 installation and performance Artifact Piece at the San Diego Museum of Man; more recently he has represented the United States at the 2005 Venice Biennale and is a 2007 Eiteljorg Fellow. Luna's recent works have involved sculptural installation pieces and performances, many of which present his perspectives on modern Native American identity. Gerald Clarke is also an Eiteljorg Fellow from 2007, his works are often large scale installations that respond to events and crises affecting much of the United States. Catherine Nelson-Rodriguez is a self-taught painter; her paintings reflect the realities of contemporary Native American lives. Several of her paintings have recently been purchased by the National Museum of the American Indian. Raymond Lafferty is a painter, filmmaker, and performance artist. Lafferty's paintings are a contemporary extension of Abstract Expressionism; they juxtapose the appearance of a machined finish with a hand-applied painting process.