Art Scene

Current shows, exhibits, and installations

 "HOME: Native People in the Southwest": The Heard ends a yearlong celebration of its 75th anniversary by opening a huge new gallery that houses a larger and improved exhibition of Southwestern Native American art. The new exhibition organizes 2,000 objects by tribe instead of type, includes maps of each tribe's ancestral and modern lands, information about their history, and excerpts of interviews with living members of the tribe. The result is that "HOME" feels less like a showcase of treasures amassed on the cheap by rich white people and more like an explanation of the still-living cultures that produced them. Through 2020. Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-8848. -- L.P.

"Virgil Ortiz: La Renaissance Indigène": Native American tradition meets downtown hip as Virgil Ortiz puts designs inspired by the pottery of his native Cochiti Pueblo on contemporary objects. Black and white lines, swirls and geometric shapes that owe much to op-art show up on purses, corsets and skirts; in a jerky video; on an S&M-themed fiberglass horse; and on freaky-deaky storyteller figures. The visual mash-up works best on his clothing designs, which are pure Cochiti-meets-club brilliance. Ortiz's storytellers, though, are slick and empty with no stories to tell. Through June 2. Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-8848. -- L.P.

"Remembering to Forget: Joe Willie Smith": Art meets archaeology in Joe Willie Smith's "Urban Field" series, mixed-media creations of junk he finds in vacant lots around metro Phoenix. In Main Street/Hobson in Mesa, Northeast Corner, Smith eloquently captures the collision of cultures in a 21st-century exurb by hanging a Mexican lotto ticket, a crushed malt liquor can, a golf club, a page from a Mormon newspaper and a Spanish-language Bible from a knot of wire. His smartly edited assemblages work as portraits of the city, rendered in its trash. Through Saturday, May 28. eye lounge, 419 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 602-430-1490. -- L.P.

A purse by Virgil Ortiz
A purse by Virgil Ortiz

Dale Chihuly: Before Dale Chihuly became the godfather of art glass, he worked as a commercial fisherman to earn money for grad school. He brings this memory of the world beneath the waves to the glass works on exhibit at Phoenix's premier contemporary art gallery. Eight undulating pieces that look like they were plucked from a brilliantly colored coral reef seem to be lighted from within; the Confetti Seaform Set, a shell-shaped vessel full of biomorphic red, green and blue glass pieces, creates a gorgeous undersea world on a tabletop. On display indefinitely. Bentley Projects, 215 E. Grant St., Phoenix, 602-340-9200. -- L.P.

"Will Wilson: Auto Immune Response": How do you survive in a postapocalyptic world? According to Will Wilson, the key to survival lies in an understanding of the past. The Navajo photographer explores this, as well as the concepts of Native American identity and connection to the land, through a series of powerful, in-your-face, mixed-media and photo-based installations. Wilson draws from his own past (the alienation felt as a child in exile at Phoenix Indian School) and that of his people to produce moving images that challenge established stereotypes of Native American art and the people who create it. Most poignant is a life-size steel hogan -- a refashioning of the traditional dwelling and its contents as a result of exposure to Anglo society and technology. Through September. Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-8848. -- C.C.

 
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