Petroglyphs in Motion

James Luna
Exhibition runs October 19 2005 - November 12 2005
Opening: October 21 2005: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Copresented by: A Space Gallery, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
James Luna will give a performative lecture during the opening reception on Friday, October 21 between 7-9 PM.

A Space Gallery is pleased to present internationally renowned performance and multimedia artist James Luna in conjunction with the 2005 imagineNATIVE film + media arts festival (October 19-23). A resident of the La Jolla Reservation in California, James Luna (Luiseno) draws on the daily realities of reservation life in his work, utilizing satire, pop culture and irony to address the serious social issues affecting First Nations peoples in the Americas.

In the video and photographs that make up Petroglyphs in Motion (commissioned by Site Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2000), the artist presents a spectrum of characters ranging from shaman to leather man to cell-phone-wielding deal-maker in this performance-based installation. Using the petroglyph as a starting point, Luna present a non-linear narrative of the Native American man, exposing some of the stereotypes and challenges he continues to face in the modern world. Uniting the “prehistoric” with the present, Luna rejects the Western version of history that excludes and undermines Native people and artists, and continues to deny their evolution. In bringing these static figures, seemingly frozen in time, into motion and combining them with contemporary culture, Luna brings the history of Native peoples out of the museum and off of the rocks, into the present, marking not only presence (in time and place), but also reclaiming ownership of the past, present, and future. In the documented performance that takes his audience from laughter one minute to discomfort in the next, Luna is unafraid to confront the realities of Native life, particularly reservation life, in all its complexities.

James Luna has a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of California at Irvine, and an M.Sc. in Counseling from San Diego State University. His work has been showcased at venues including the Whitney Biennial, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Gallery of Canada and the Nippon International Performance Art Festival in Japan. He was recently selected by the National Museum of the American Indian for the 2005 Venice Biennale, where he featured a new work that showed historical and cultural parallels between Italy and Indigenous America.


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