See, too, Arlo's recent Spider Woman sculpture, Cultural Images #12, upstairs in the mezzanine. Interchangeable parts represent Spider Woman's twin creations and the hard work they continue to do, one at each pole, rotating our world. His nearby bronze Chanter #1 is at once playful and somber. Look through the chanter's mouth and see the show on the main floor below. More careful placement would have allowed us to see Dan's Kachina Symbolism #4 instead of the show's signage. Talk about symbolism.

We want to get our hands on all of Arlo's work, especially the bronze triptych Passing Clouds #2, hanging on the main floor and begging us to explore its nooks, crannies, and crags like a rock climber looking for a perfect hold. Don't touch. But do turn around and look at the wall behind you.

Little brother Michael Namingha, who attended Parsons School of Design and divides his time between Santa Fe and New York, is a conceptual artist. His works in this show are ink on paper and inkjet on canvas and seem, on their two-dimensional surfaces, very different from the other work here. Gummy is perhaps a psychedelic take on something cultural — fetishes? kachinas? — or maybe a playful homage to the Grateful Dead and their dancing rainbow bears. Arranged in single-color columns, Michael's gummy bears have a strange translucency and dimensionality. The "clear" bears, especially, are eerie in their cuddly expressionlessness.

Arlo Namingha. FIFTH WORLD.
Arlo Namingha. FIFTH WORLD.

Location Info


Heard Museum

2301 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Category: Museums

Region: Central Phoenix

In another installation, American Dream, Michael comments on a different haunting landscape — the country's bleak economic picture. This suite of 10 square images represents the top bankruptcies in American history. The colors are electric on stark white canvas. The font is cold. Michael uses text as a medium. Though visitors don't have to exit through the gift shop, they can, if they choose to, see some of his edgier, more intimate work in the museum's Berlin Gallery. All three Naminghas are represented in the Berlin; in fact, many of the works in the exhibit are for sale through the gallery.

We might think it's the evolution of the work in this show that's so interesting. But we'd be forgetting that the Naminghas are three individuals who share a common cultural heritage but respond to order, balance, direction, form, light, landscape, and the Fifth World on their own terms. We all bring a different spiritual consciousness to the table, but we're all trying to figure out how to negotiate this liminal space Hopi prophecy (most prophecies!) warns us of. Each of us stands in the place where we are; the Naminghas' creative wisdom helps us decide where to turn next.

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