Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

50/50: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years

August 17 - December 31, 2012

“No matter what comes, we, the dreamers – the artists – will be needed more than ever . . . for it is we who will help give shape and form to the ever-changing image of Native American culture as it moves forward – just as our counter-part ancestors did a long time ago.” – Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee), co-founder of IAIA


Shortly after the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) began operations in October of 1962, administrators started collecting student art coming out of the studios, which eventually formed the basis for the school’s art collection. This collecting practice has continued through the five decades of the Institute’s history, allowing the collection to reflect not only the school’s initial era but also its many transitions as it evolved from a high school into an accredited baccalaureate college.

50/50: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years reflects upon the 50-year legacy of the Institute of American Indian Arts through the works of the National Collection of Contemporary Native Art. Artwork from 50 exemplary artists was selected from each decade since 1962 and illustrates the diversity and talent that has come to represent the Institute. Many of the artists, such as T.C. Cannon, Tony Abeyta, Marie Watt, Gerald McMaster and Hulleah  Tsinhnahjinnie, to name a few, are well-known in the contemporary art world for their contributions. IAIA produced not only visual artists, but also spawned a new generation of Native American writers.  In celebration of the Institute’s rich literary history, audio recordings are incorporated into the exhibition, including those of Elizabeth Woody, Sara Ortiz and Bruce King.

"New Mexico Red" T.C. Cannon 1967; MoCNA Collection: CD-14

“New Mexico Red” T.C. Cannon 1967; MoCNA Collection: CD-14

The creative legacy of IAIA was long understood by Lloyd Kiva New, IAIA’s first Art Director and long-time administrator, who believed that cultural tradition could be used as a springboard towards new means of artistic expression. Laced throughout the exhibition are quotes taken from writings by New in an attempt to link the past, present and future of this vital institution.

Artists featured:

Tony Abeyta, Pilar Agoyo, Norman Akers, Marcus Amerman, Anong Beam, Earl Biss, David Bradley, Keith Braveheart, T.C. Cannon, Eugene Cody, David Dalasohya, Peggy Deam, Anthony Gauthier, Raymond Hamilton Benjamin Harjo Jr., Doug Hyde, Nathan Jackson, Edward Joe, Jeff Kahm, Denton Lafferty, Tony Lee, Courtney Leonard, Linda Lomahaftewa, Erica Lord, Manuelita Lovato, Joe Maktima, Terra Manasco, Michael McCabe, Jon McConville, Daniel McCoy, Michelle McGeough, Gerald McMaster, Da Ka Xeen Mehner, Kathleen Nez, Wayne Pushetonequa, Bill Soza, Kevin Red Star, Luke Simon, Charlene Teters, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie,  Marty Two Bulls, Jr., Delia Velasco, Judith Vicenti, Marie Watt, Richard Ray Whitman, Ray Winters, Jolene Yazzie, Peterson Yazzie, and Mike Medicine Horse Zillioux

Curator: Tatiana Lomahaftewa-Singer

This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts

Read a news release about the exhibition.

Attend an Artist Lecture.

Hear alumni poetry by various IAIA alumni by clicking on each line:

Calvin O’John – Afternoon, His Unfinished Poem, as read by actor Vincent Price

James Thomas Stevens – Tokinish

Edge – Layli Long Soldier

Joy Harjo – Equinox